I find this house has some sort of charisma which points to something quite interesting. As I see it quite often, I decided to dig a bit deeper into its story. Thanks to an article in Falter, I found out much more about the history of the theatre. The story starts in 1910, when the royal architect Ferdinand Böhm wanted to fulfil a childhood dream. He erected this building as a 5 story building with a fantastic theatre in the basement, which he hoped would impress his aristocrat friends. It ended in ruin however when Böhm was forced to sell the building in to cover debts at the end of the 1920s, to the newly established Republic, which ran the theatre as a cinema from then on.
During the war, it was used as a brothel for the allied, but after the end of the war it was again returned to its previous use as a cinema, albeit a very poorly visited one. In the 1970s the current theatre manager, Mr. Robert Jungbluht was tired of the poor yield that the cinema brought, and decided to make the place into the ‘Athletic Center’ where the then renowned boxer Hans Orsolic could train and have matches against opponents. It was a successful gym, which ran well under the lead of Otto Fodrek. After 19 years here, Fodrek was so successful that he was offered to move his fitness centre to the Ernst-Happel Stadium. And so, he moved, leaving the Mala Strana behind.
And this was then just about the end of its success story. In 1993 the building was again made into a theatre by the young theatre manager Markus Kupferblum, who got a loan and attempted to renovate and revive the theatre. It ran really well, until the Austrian Bureaucracy caught up with him, and made sure that the success story ended there and then. And, since then, the building has been empty. In 2012 there were rumours of a supermarket opening, however this was not a popular idea.
It seems almost a shame that it’s not being put into use for some worthy cause. A few pictures from the inside can be found in this article from the BerzirksZeitung.