Slovenian theatre in focus of National Hall arson anniversary

Trieste, 11 July - The Slovenian minority in Italy has dedicated this year's commemoration of the fascist attack on National Hall in Trieste, which happened on 13 July 1920, to Slovenian theatre in this Italian coastal city. Slovenian theatre creativity will be presented by ethnic Slovenian Bogomila Kravos, who has penned several monographs on the topic.

Trieste, Italy
National Hall in Trieste, a Slovenian cultural centre, was rebuilt between 1988 and 1990 after being torched by fascists in 1920.
Photo: An┼że Malovrh/STA
File photo

Kravos, a native of Trieste, will speak tonight at National Hall about the first professional theatre in Trieste and Slovenians' artistic endeavours in the city.

First theatre shows were staged at National Hall when this new cultural centre of the Slovenian ethnic community was inaugurated 120 years ago, in 1904.

However, it was two years earlier that a Dramatic Society was founded in Trieste, which also staged its own theatre productions.

When the fascists burnt down National Hall, Slovenian theatre was driven out of Trieste for a quarter of a century, until the end of WWII.

It was only in 1945 that a full-fledged Slovenian theatre was established, the Slovenian Permanent Theatre, which continues to this day.

Its first production - Yerney's Rights, based on acclaimed Slovenian playwright Ivan Cankar's The Bailiff Yerney and His Rights - premiered the same year on 2 December.

Kravos has published several books on Slovenian theatre in Italy. The last one from 2019 traces Slovenian theatre in Trieste from its beginnings in 1848 to present day.

Slovenian Theatre in Trieste, from First Shows to Present day 1848-2018 also features a number of photos and documents about the beginnings of the national and theatrical awakening of Slovenians in Trieste.

National Hall, designed by architect Maks Fabiani, was the most important symbol of the Slovenia minority's activity in the city.

Before being set on fire and consequently taken from the ethnic minority, it was its vibrant cultural, business and political centre.

It featured not only a hall for concerts and other events but also a savings bank, a hotel and a coffee shop, while also hosting a number of Slovenian organisations.

The 1920 fascist attack on it was a symbolic milestone of the start of fascist violence against the Slovenians of Trieste.

On the centenary of the arson, National Hall was returned to the minority in a high-profile event when a contract on ownership transfer was signed on 13 July 2020.

© STA, 2024