The History of CNT Split

The new building of the Municipal Theatre was opened on 6th May 1893 in the part of town called Dobri. It represented a continuation of the rich theatrical history of Split, whose origins reach back into Antiquity. New theatre stages, besides the unparalled Italian troops and artists, more and more domestic and Slavic artists.

First attempt to launch a permanent and professional drama ensemble was in 1898 by establishing Croatian Drama Society Ensemble in Split comprised of former members of Zagreb and Varaždin Theatre and graduates of Miletić Drama School. The Society operated only two years. After that theatre life was enriched by theatre amateurs and enthusiasts and the so-called Croatian Theatre Society for Dalmatia.

The building was first restored in 1920 when the first professional drama ensemble was established under the official name of the National Theatre for Dalmatia.

In 1928 former professional Theatre was extinguished, and in line with the decision of the then Ministry of Education, Split Theatre was merged with the Sarajevo National Theatre for Western Provinces.

In early 1928, when the cessation of work of the National Theatre for Dalmatia was in sight, a group of theatre enthusiasts from Split launches the theatre called City Opera and Operetta, which soon changed its name to Split Theatre Society. Until 1936, the company whose moving spirit was Ivo Tijardović, staged dramas and the whole series of operettas and operas. Many famous theatre artists from other cities participate as guest performers. In 1937 Split Theatre Volunteers (1937-1940) left Split Theatre Society.

In 1940 the Theatre building was restored again and Croatian National Theatre Split was founded with Opera, Drama and Ballet. First General Manager was Ivo Tijardović, Drama Director was Marko Fotez, Opera Director was Oskar Jozefović and Ballet Director was Ana Roje.

In 1941 successfully commenced work of the Theatre was interrupted by Italian occupation.

After liberation and restoration of peaceful conditions on 1st July 1945 National Theatre Split was established whose core represented the People’s Liberation Theatre of Dalmatia, founded on the island of Vis in 1944. The first season’s opening was on 27th September 1945 staging Matija Gubec – King of the Peasants, a tragedy by Mirko Bogović. Professional Theatre has been operating in Split ever since.

In February 1970, the Theatre building was almost completely destroyed by fire. After a short break performances were staged in the Army Community Centre Annex, and then in the Split Cinema forming part of the Shipyard Community Centre. It took almost a decade for the Theatre building to be reconstructed in the part of town called Dobri.

In March 1978, overseen by the project architect Božidar Rašica, extensive restoration of the building was initiated including the expansion of the building. The official opening of the new building was on 19th May 1980.