A monumental building of the evolution of the commercial and historical centre of Athens in the second half of the 19th and early 20th century, the residence of Alexandros Soutsos at 47 Stadiou Street, is being restored in order to house part of the valuable collections of the Theatre Museum.

The Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni, said: “The building at 47 Stadiou Street is part of a wider set of remarkable buildings, which reflect the old image of Stadiou Street, which since the mid-19th century has been one of the central commercial axes of Athens. It has remarkable architectural and morphological characteristics and is situated in a particularly important urban location, maintaining its original typology without significant alterations. It is a typical example of a building of urban classicism, with a rich morphological decoration on the main façade on Stadiou Street. It was the residence of Alexandros Soutsos, a benefactor of the visual arts. In 1896, in his will, he donated his house to the Greek state, together with its collections and furnishings, in order to create the National Gallery. In 1900, with the opening of the National Gallery, the collection passed to the Foundation. The neoclassical building at 47 Stadiou Street, due to its conversion into a commercial building, had been experiencing serious structural problems for decades, and was gradually abandoned in 2012. The earthquake of 2018 and the fire of May 2020 further aggravated the building. After the completion of the study, we are taking all necessary steps to include the project in a financing program.Thus, we are consistent in our commitment to restore the building and give it a new use, which respects and enhances the original form of the building. The Soutsos Residence, after its restoration, will house part of the rich heritage of the Theatre Museum, its valuable archives and its protected Theatrical Library, so that they can once again become accessible to all”.

Theatre Museum Collection

Within the restored building, in a permanent and secured space, the Archive and the Theatrical Library of the Theatre Museum, a designated monument as a whole, are intended to be integrated, so that they can become objects of exhibition and research for special scholars and the general public. The collection, owned by the Ministry of Culture, is the richest collection of theatrical material in Greece and perhaps the only source for the study and research of all archives relating to Greek theatre. It includes the Theatrical Library, with thousands of volumes of studies and theatrical works and the most complete collection of press cuttings. It consists of publications related to Greek and foreign theatre, dating back to 1736, as well as a rich collection of manuscripts from 1860 onwards. Indicatively, it includes theatrical publications and unpublished plays or manuscripts, Greek and foreign theatrical publications and studies, an archive of press cuttings, theatrical and artistic magazines, scrapbooks, various publications of general artistic interest, etc. There are also digitised collections of all primary material from the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as audiovisual documents from more recent years. The digital database contains 26,915 items and 1,000 hours of audiovisual material. The Theatrical Library is currently stored in the ERT premises on Mesogeion Avenue, but is not accessible.

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