Three Muses of Lithuanian National Drama Theater in Vilnius

Monika Grinevičiūtė | Live the World

November 23, 2022

History of the Lithuanian National Drama Theater in Vilnius starts with a woman and her children waiting ashore, a boat following the Greenland catch, and a deep lament of fisherman's wife. The story behind this institution starts with Herman Heijermans’ play "The Good Hope" (1901). In October 1940, the red theater curtains opened up, and the very first performance of theater’s history started. The first play of the National Drama Theater was about the exploitation of fishermen, and the fisherman’s shallop from that day become its emblem. Nowadays, the Lithuanian National Drama Theater attracts people because of its worldwide famous guests and various performances but also its stunning facade architecture. Three Muses on its facade become not only the symbol of this theater but also worldwide recognized sculptures.

Picture © Credits to iStock/RomanBabakin

Theatrical traditions

Lithuanian National Drama Theater is located in its current building (Gediminas Avenue 4, Vilnius) since 1951. Before that, the theatricals were held, and Herman Heijermans’ play "The Good Hope" was performed, in the premises situated in Basanavičius Street. During the Second World War, the theatre operated as the Vilnius City Theatre. After being called the Vilnius State Drama Theatre and Lithuanian State Academic Drama Theatre, since 1998, it has been known as the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre. Before the National Drama Theater moved to the new location in Gediminas Avenue 4, in these premises the events of the theatrical Polish Cultural Society "Liutnia" were hosted. When the theater was finally* installed in the new building, the property was renovated, and a Lithuanian** sculptor Stanislovas Kuzma* was invited to decorate the main entrance facade (1981).

Picture © Credits to iStock/HildaWeges

The Drama, the Comedy and the Tragedy

Three Muses on the facade of Lithuanian National Drama Theater represent the main forms of theatrical Greek culture: Drama (Calliope), Comedy (Thalia) and Tragedy (Melpomene). In the final three principal dramatic forms of ancient Greek culture, instead of Drama (Calliope) is Satyr play. However, the author of the muses of National Theater, Stanislovas Kuzma, decided to stay with Drama, Comedy, and Tragedy. These Three Muses represent a broad and diverse repertoire of the theater.

Picture © Credits to Wikimedia Commons/Lietuvos nacionalinis dramos teatras
Picture © Credits to Wikimedia Commons/Lietuvos nacionalinis dramos teatras

The Theater and Muses nowadays

Three Muses are still standing and being one of the most visited spots in whole capital city Vilnius. In the National Theater, famous worldwide directors such as Kirsten Dehlholm, Yana Ross, as well as Lithuanian geniuses Oskaras Koršunovas, Eimuntas Nekrošius and many more others have presented their performances. The theater has the Big Hall, which can accommodate up to 660 people and the Small Hall for 171 spectators. The shows run almost every day, and the tickets prices are comparatively low. Thus, make sure not only to take photos of Three Muses but also to visit one of the theater’s performances for a better experience.  

Picture © Credits to iStock/flavijus

The theatrical atmosphere, legendary Three Muses and the famous world-class directors with their performances make Lithuanian National Drama Theater an exclusive cultural place. Through the years, thousands of performances were held, many famous artists and directors made this place a legend. While exploring Gediminas Avenue, seek for Three Muses, and you will find the Lithuanian National Drama Theater.

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