Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre is located in the heart of the city, near one of its main communication nodes. The seat of the theatre, commissioned in September 2014, was inspired by the old Elizabethan theatre, the so-called Fencing School, which operated in Gdańsk from 1635 until 1741 and bore a striking resemblance to London's Fortune Theatre.
The theatre building has unique, bold architectural features, inspired by its historical predecessor. Many elements refer to ecclesiastical architecture – it is oriented along an east-west axis and was built on the plan of two crosses, with characteristic buttresses and unadorned bright stone and wooden interior. The elevation is covered by more than 800 thousand anthracite bricks, kilned traditionally and then dyed charcoal. The theatre is surrounded by a seven-metre wall, creating alleys and internal courtyards, where visitors can take a leisurely stroll. There is also a path at the top of the wall leading around the theatre.
Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre is the only theatre in the world with a retractable roof, which allows to transform the interior from a typical proscenium layout into an Elizabethan theatre. The state-of-the-art system of 56 trap doors of the stage and the audience provides unparalleled staging possibilities and allows to adapt the Main Auditorium to various events – not only theatrical plays but also concerts, conferences or company events.
The heart of the building is the Main Auditorium with the capacity depending on the arrangement of the stage and the audience. In the proscenium stage arrangement, the audience accommodates up to 500 viewers, while in the Elizabethan arrangement (standing places on the ground floor, in front of the stage, and seats in the galleries) – up to 700. The concert arrangement has the capacity of 1200. When all the trap doors are level with the floor, the auditorium has the area of about 500 m2.