The former home of the Bóbita Puppet Theatre does not need to be shown to the people of Pécs. The characteristic domed building in Mária Street was designed by Andor Pilch. Its construction was financed by public donations from local residents, all for a charitable and noble cause. What used to be in the former Bóbita building and what state is it in today? Pécs Aktuál investigated.
Built in the 20th century for the Pécs Benevolent Women's
AssociationBefore the distinctive building on Mária utca, there were two baroque-style bourgeois houses on the site. After the turn of the century, a new headquarters building was erected based on the plans of the renowned Pécs architect Andor Pilch. The single-storey, multi-domed building, with a huge ballroom (which was also a theatre), was built for the Pécs Benevolent Women's Association.
The people of Pécs supported the construction
The distinctive building was born thanks to the people of the city. Most of the construction costs were covered by the famous Pécs champagne producer, József Littke.
The eclectic style house also housed a kitchen. Every winter, free lunches were distributed to nearly 500 poor people. The Pécs Benevolent Women's Association also set up a kindergarten and distributed aid.
The state lent a hand
After nationalisation, the property was used several times. First it was an officers' house, then the Dr. Doktor Sándor Cultural Centre moved in in 1952.
In the 1960s, the building's theatre space flourished - stage performances and dance parties were held in the evenings. The basement was used as a puppet workshop and the upstairs as a club room.
The Puppet Theatre is being transformed
In 1961, Lajos Kós became the head of the Pécs Puppet Theatre Company and founded the Bóbita Puppet Theatre. In the Bóbita, in the hope of future performances, a chamber theatre with a seating capacity of 100 was built, complete with a huge stage.
The stage was 5 metres wide, 2.5 metres high and 3 metres deep. In front of the stage was a platform one metre deep and one metre high. The auditorium and the stage were on the same level. The horizon-firewall was painted black, the sound and light apparatus was initially controlled from the blackout. The mechanisation of the workshop was represented by a sewing machine and a stitching machine, and for a long time Kós himself was both the puppet designer and the builder. The basement storerooms and workshops were constantly damp, and the electrical equipment regularly rusted, according to the theatre-architecture website.
New acoustic and staging elements were added, and the former ballroom was replaced by an auditorium built on an iron frame. The puppet theatre has moved to the large hall on the other side. It could seat 206 people at a time and its chamber could accommodate 100 spectators at a time.
Slowly it deteriorated
Over the years, however, this distinctive facility began to decline. There were plans to decorate the outside of the building with colourful figures and various elements, based on the ideas of Sándor Dévényi, to promote fairy tales and puppetry. However, permission was not granted, so the uniform white colour was retained.
The 116-year-old building under lock and key
The Bóbita Puppet Theatre has moved to the Zsolnay Quarter within the framework of the EKF, while Andor Pilch's building has been left alone.
The plaster is crumbling and pieces are falling off the building. Some of the windows have bars, but many are broken. Who knows what's inside?
Currently, the former Bóbita building is owned by the Pécs Vagyonhasznosító Zrt., which the city seems keen to get rid of. The domed building is protected as a historical monument.
The full gallery can be seen in the article of Pécs Aktuál!