Park Theatre Murska Sobota
History of the building
The ground-floor building in a modernist style, designed in 1951 and built in 1955, was conceived by the architect Franc Novak (1906-1959), one of the most important representatives of functionalist, modernist architecture and urbanism, who before the Second World War also worked in the studio of the renowned French architect Le Corbusier. Today, the building is protected as an architectural heritage, while with this exceptional Slovene modern architecture the city of Murska Sobota also strengthened its position as the regional centre.
The building was originally designed as a cinema, but at the beginning of the 21st century it lost its meaning with the construction of a new cinematographic multiplex in Murska Sobota. In 2012, in the framework of the Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012, the building was redesigned by the Kalamar Studio, according to the concept of the architect Andrej Kalamar. The renovation turned the cinema into the multipurpose hall, but above all into the theatre and concert hall, where various cultural events are taking place. The renovation itself tried to preserve the widest range of original architectural substance and is easily integrated into the natural environment of the city park. The hall has been technically accomplished: the spatial conditions are comparable to other national theatres: the stage is the fifth largest and most modern equipped in Slovenia.
The building is located along Štefan Kovač Street, the main road in Murska Sobota. Therefore, in front of the building there is a statue of Štefan Kovač – Marko (1910 – 1941), a Slovene publicist, communist, lawyer, and a national hero.
Today, Park Theatre, which belongs under the auspices of the public institution Murska Sobota Institute for Culture, Tourism and Sports, is mostly a venue for performing arts, including the programme of the Front@ Contemporary Dance Festival, conducted by the choreographer Matjaž Farič, taking place at the end of summer. The Park Theatre hosts also various Slovene theatres and local productions. In the beautiful and technically accomplished hall many concerts of contemporary music, from the songwriters', ethno and electronic to pop music has taken place.
Due to the exceptional vitality of its contemporary dance programme and excellent infrastructural conditions, the building is mentioned in the book Endless Performance: Buildings for Performing Arts, published in 2012.