Olympia Theatre

The original Olympia Theatre
The original Olympia Theatre was designed (in 1910) by architect Stavros Christidis, a Greek of Constantinople, in the spirit of Parisian eclecticism. The great hall was designed in the French style with a horseshoe-shaped auditorium, an amphitheatre, a broad balcony and 24 boxes. The luxurious and modern design of the first Olympia Theatre was broadly praised in the local press at the time. The specialised magazine “Ikonografimeni,” described it as Athens’s best and most elegant theatre: “The floor is laid with parquet, the seats are luxurious in velvet… The stage is very artistic, and the sets, specially designed in Europe, are perfection. The indoor Olympia Theatre is unique among its kind and has the added advantage of being able to transform its auditorium within just a short space of time into a wonderful dance hall.”
The original Olympia Theatre’s greatest weakness was its narrow stage, which was 14.50 metres wide and 9 metres deep, while its hidden trussing was just 11 metres high. In 1942-43, the theatre was renovated by architect Kimon Laskaris in order to house the Greek National Opera, which took the premises on lease.

The second Olympia Theatre

In 1950, the building in which the original Olympia Theatre was housed came under the ownership of the National Bank of Greece Employees’ Fund, which later proclaimed an architectural competition for its remodelling. The first prize, and the contract, went to Panos Tsolakis, a graduate of the Paris School of Fine Arts and an architect with a profound knowledge of music, which he had inherited from his mother Anetta, founder of the pioneering Tsolaki Conservatory in the city of Volos. The study for the new Olympia Theatre was conducted within the framework of the prevalent views regarding the arts and the science of architecture at the time. The height of the stage was increased by some 6.50 metres and an underground space beneath it was added as well. Significant improvements were also made to the public areas – entrance, staircases and foyer. These were doubled in size and further improvements were also made in regard to the comfort of the seats and their view to the stage. The Olympia Theatre remains to this day the flagship of the Greek National Opera and is where the company stages most of its productions.