Living in Prato :
Centers of culture


A nationwide avant-garde theatre

The Metastasio Theatre was designed by the Florentine architect Luigi De Cambray Digny in 1829 and commissioned by the local notary Benedetto Cecconi, who interpreted the needs of the new middle and lower classes of the Tuscan town: a new theatre was needed to replace the Teatro dei Semplici.
The inaugural performance of the theatre in 1830 was Rossini's Aureliano in Palmira.
The painter Antonio Marini, from Prato, painted the curtain and the fresco on the vault of the theatre hall. The frescoes were later removed during restoration work.
In 1867 the curved structure of the theatre was modified into a semicircular one, to a design by architect Telemaco Bonaiuti, and a new entrance was built. In 1939 the theatre was purchased by the Municipality of Prato, which transferred its management to the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (National Recreational Club) organization.

The theatre was closed for renovations in 1956 and reopened in 1964. In the following decades the theatre established its reputation with productions of a high cultural level, especially plays. Nowadays it is an avant garde theatre of national importance. It was here that prominent show business personalities, such as Roberto Benigni, Francesco Nuti and Pamela Villoresi, were trained and launched their careers. In 1998 the Metastasio Theatre became a public theatre known as "Teatro Stabile della Toscana." Following the 2015 Theatre Reform it was recognized as a "Theatre of Outstanding Cultural Interest."

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