Jókai Theatre


Category: Cultural institutions

Architect: Rudolf Blaško
Interior design: Dušan Dorotjak, Ladislav Kaffka, Jaroslav Kapusta, Kamil Martinkovič, Ján Valachovič
Location: Petőfiho 1, Komárno
Design the cultural and community centre: 1973–1975
Design the theatre: 1977–1984
Built in years: 1975–1987

Interiér horného foyera dotvárajú dodnes zachované svetelné prvky; pôvodný gobelín od Petra Mestera nahradila čiernobiela koláž záberov z divadelných predstavení

The Jókai Theatre in Komárno is one of two theatres in Slovakia performing in the Hungarian language. The building was originally designed as the Municipal Culture Centre; however, there was no theatre performing in Hungarian language and therefore, the purpose of the building was later re-evaluated and changed to theatre. In 1990, the theatre was named the Jókai Theatre. The adaptation of the building under construction for theatre purposes was accompanied by several layout changes, an increase in volume capacity, as well as an increase in the standards of theatre technology and artistic decoration. [1]

The building as a whole is characterised by a rational layout and simple composition, artistically enlivened by protruding, curved masses. The spaces for the public include a theatre hall immersed in the inner part and spacious lobbies located in the front part of the building. The dominant operational parts of the ground floor are the information desk section and a relaxation area with seating furniture, while the upper floor houses a bar and space for socialising also used for exhibitions. “The theatre hall with a capacity of 400 seats has excellent acoustic properties, it is equipped with a suspended acoustic ceiling; the side walls are lined from floor to ceiling with wooden panelling. The interior of the auditorium is relatively simple designed; there are no distinctive elements which can be seen in the entrance or lobby areas. During the day, both lobbies are full of daylight thanks to large glazing in the perimeter walls and skylights of various shapes. The most impressive is the skylight on the upper floor, measuring almost 30m x 5m, the shape of which matches the shape of the lobby space. At the semi-circular end of the main skylight there are located small circular skylights. The interiors of the lobbies are complemented by uniquely shaped ceiling lights, which are also the most dominant interior elements preserved to this day.” [2]


Original furniture – the bar counter, all-upholstered seating furniture and marble tables, is still in use and it was designed in line with the then applied geometric morphology. Similar formative pattern was used for designing the staircase spaces which are artistically accentuated by decorative railings and spatial sculptures based on metal and glass. Efforts to achieve a monumental, sumptuous style are reflected in the materiality – the white and black marble which was abundantly used for floors and walls. The entrance space of the theatre hall gives a warmer impression thanks to a fitted carpet which continuously covers the corridors situated around the perimeter of the theatre hall and the stairways.

The atmosphere of the interior is complemented by several works of art by prominent artists. “The author of the sculpture of Thalia in the lobby on the ground floor is sculptor Tibor Bártfay; the stone reliefs on the back wall of the café were created by Tibor Kavecký. The actors’ clubhouse was artistically decorated by painter Pavol Bley; the information signs were designed by architects Peter Gandl and Ladislav Kaffka.” [1] The tapestry by sculptor Peter Mester, which for many years decorated the interior of the upper lobby, has been removed and replaced by a canvas with a black and white collage of photographs from theatre performances. And perhaps, it is the still existing period interior elements and artworks that help generate impressions, which Rebecca Szuriová summed up in the following words: “The huge mass bearing the features of post-war architecture hides vast representational spaces that will enchant every visitor with their simplicity, interesting shapes and works of art. Despite many years of regular use, the interior of the building is still impressive and has undergone only minor changes, such as the reupholstering of the seating furniture or the replacement of the fitted carpet. The atmosphere of the interiors has not changed and continues to make a spectacular impression on theatre-goers.” [2]

Used sources
  1. Dlhánová Viera: Jókaiho divadlo v Komárne. [The Jókai Theatre in Komárno.] Web portal of the European Theatre Architecture. Available at: https://www.theatre-architecture.eu/sk/db/?theatreId=226
  2. Szuriová, Rebeka: Jókaiho divadlo v Komárne. [The Jókai Theatre in Komárno.] Seminar paper for the Selected Chapters course. Interior, Winter Term 2022–2023

Photo documentation

Rebeka Szuriová