Cyprus Theatre Museum

The history of the Theatre Museum

In 1987, Nikos S. Nikolaides (1909-1989), an optician by profession and an amateur actor, donated his rare theatre archive to the Municipality of Lemesos. By doing so, he laid the foundation stone for the establishment of the Cyprus Theatre Museum.

From a very young age and until his death, Nikos S. Nikolaides systematically collected material relating to theatre and its activities in Cyprus. His decision to bequeath this important collection to the Municipality of Lemesos was the beginning of joint efforts carried out by the Municipality of Lemesos and the Cyprus Theatre Organisation for the establishment of a Theatre Museum, which would preserve the history of theatre in Cyprus.

In 1989, two years after Nicolaides’ donation, the process of finding a suitable site which would house the Cyprus Theatre Museum began. After Panos Solomonides’ generous donation to the Municipality of Lemesos, the Kouvas printing factory was purchased, which was gradually transformed into the the Panos Solomonides Cultural Centre that opened its doors in 2010. Today, this venue houses the Cyprus Theatre Museum, which, apart from the collection of Nikos S. Nikolaides, also includes Giorgos Filis’ archive with material of the Organisation for the Development of Theatre (OTHAK), Giorgos Vatyliotis’ photographic archive, material belonging to the Cyprus Theatre Organisation, as well as exhibits from many theatre professionals and companies that donated or lent various objects from their unique collections.

Printed material, costumes, scale models, props, set and costume designs, as well as photographs and posters constitute the exhibits of the permanent collection of the Cyprus Theatre Museum, giving visitors the opportunity to take a virtual tour in the island’s history of theatre.

The Cyprus Theatre Museum presents the history of theatre activity in Cyprus from antiquity to date, and more specifically from the ancient theatres of the Hellenistic and Roman periods until today. Through this historical recollection, the different aspects of the splendid world of theatre and the people who work for it unfolds before the eyes of the visitor.

The thematic sections of the museum

The history

This is a journey through the major stages of theatre activity in Cyprus, with an emphasis on the periods that mark the changes in the development of the island’s theatre scene. A leaflet from the visit of a Greek company in Cyprus in 1912, as well as a costume belonging to Nikos S. Nikolaides himself are some of the oldest exhibits of the museum’s collection presented in this section.

The contributors

Photographs, scale models, sketches, costumes, posters and audiovisual material are the exhibits of this particular section, which concentrates on the basic stages of a theatre production. Through these exhibits one can see all arts comprising theatre. The collaboration and joint efforts of a number of professionals and artists – playwrights, directors, actors, set and costume designers, composers, lighting designers, choreographers, technicians – contributing to the production of a theatre performance. Sketches by Telemachos Kanthos from the 1940s and one of the chorus costumes from the production of Aias (Ajax) (THOC 1973) and a scale model from the play To Neron tou Dropi (THOC 1974) are some of the oldest exhibits on display in this particular section.

The Performance

In this central section of the museum, costumes from significant and emblematic performances of the island’s theatre history are exhibited. The costume of Mother Courage from the production Mother Courage and her Children (THOC 1977) and the costumes from the Iketides (The Suppliants) (THOC 1978) are some of the exhibits of this section of the museum.

Cyprus Theatre Museum
2-8, Panos Solomonides St.
3032 Lemesos
Tel: 25343464, Fax: 25343464

Opening hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00-13:00
Tuesday, Friday 9:00-13:00 and 16:00-19:00
Sunday 10:00-14:00 (for pre-booked visits only)