Greece’s Ministry of Culture and Sports has announced plans for the restoration and reopening of the National Theater of Rhodes, with major funding from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.
The announcement came following a meeting between Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, the South Aegean Governor George Hatzimarkos and Rhodes Mayor Antonis Kabourakis. The total budget for the project comes to 17,235,000 euros, with plans for the theater’s reopening by the end of 2025.
The imposing theater on Town Hall Square was designed and built in 1937 by Italian architect Armando Bernabiti. Known at the time as the “Teatro Giacomo Puccini,” it is a classic example of the International Style of architecture, incorporating the use of glass bricks masonry. Upon opening, it was regarded as one of the best, state-of-the-art theaters in Greece, suitable for staging large opera performances.
The theater underwent restoration works in 1981, altering the inner gallery. In 1986, it was declared a protected building by the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Public Works, classified as a monument of special significance to the cultural and architectural history of Rhodes. It has since been used as a theater and cinema, suffering severe structural over the last decades. The building passed to the responsibility of the Directorate of Medieval City and Monuments of the Municipality of Rhodes in 2005.
During a visit to the National Theater of Rhodes last week, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “This is a unique monument, which we aspire to turn into a cultural center. Once completed, it will upgrade the island of Rhodes and become a site of attraction all year round.”
According to plans, the theater will be fully restored, using authentic construction materials and the original architectural designs. It will be transformed into a cultural center, with theater, dance and music halls, permanent and periodic exhibition halls, multipurpose spaces, a shop and a recreation area. The project also envisages the landscaping of the surrounding area.
“Our vision is to create a state-of-the-art multi-venue that will operate with the latest technology. I believe that it will help produce culture, in a place that is connected with culture” Mitsotakis added.
Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni said: “Our goal is not only the restoration of the monument, but to reopen it with all the modern specifications and facilities.”
This article first appeared in Greece-Is.com, an English-language publishing initiative by Kathimerini.