Istanbul City Theater celebrates its centennial at a gala event

Istanbul City Theater celebrates its centennial at a gala event

Istanbul City Theater celebrates its centennial at a gala event

Leading actors of Turkish cinema and theater came together during the gala event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Istanbul City Theater. AA photo

The 100th anniversary of the Istanbul City Theater, formerly known as “Darülbedayi,” was celebrated at an event at the Cemal Reşit Rey (CRR) Concert Hall on Nov. 17. Among the guests of the event were Ieading actors including Kadir İnanır, Erdal Özyağcılar, Perihan Savaş, Zihni Göktay, Cihan Ünal, Sezai Yılmaz, and Çiğdem Tunç, top City Theater performers, and Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş.

Before the gala event, the City Theater General Art Director Erhan Yazıcıoğlu and other actors hung the “Darülbedayi Avenue” signboard on the wall of the nearby Muhsin Ertuğrul Theater and walked to the CRR Concert Hall from there.

“I wish for more 100 years,” said Topbaş in a speech at the event. “We have appointed Yazıcıoğlu to the City Theaters as the art director since he knows the institute well. I believe that he and his team will carry the theater into the future.”

The Istanbul mayor later presented a plaque to Yazıcıoğlu, while the guests performed a song to celebrate the anniversary.

‘Ottoman House of Beauty’

Cemil Topuzlu Paşa, one of the leading administrators of Istanbul at the time, established the “Darülbedayi-i Osmani,” which means the “Ottoman House of Beauty” in 1914, as the precursor of today’s City Theater.

Popular French actor at the time, Andre Antoine, was appointed as the first artistic director of the institution, which was initially established for educational purposes. During Antoine’s management, students entered the school by taking an examination.

A number of enthusiasts who passed those exams became important figures of in the Turkish theater and cinema world in the following years, including Muhsin Ertuğrul, Halit Fahri Ozansoy, Behzat Butak, Ali Naci Karacan, Peyami Safa, Emin Beliğ Belli, Celal Sahir, Eliza Binemeciyan, Ahmet Muvahhit, İ. Galip Arcan, Raşit Rıza, and Fikret Şadi.

The theater became formally affiliated with the Istanbul Municipality in 1931 and re-named the Istanbul City Theater in 1936.

The first works of many playwrights were staged at Istanbul City Theater and many new playwrights were introduced to Turkish audiences through the institute.

Today, the Istanbul City Theater, which has stages in multiple buildings across the city, welcomes around 2,000 spectators every day. The theaters linked to the City Theater are the Harbiye Muhsin Ertuğrul Theater, the Kadıköy Haldun Taner Theater, the Fatih Reşat Nuri Theater, the Üsküdar Musahipzade Celal Theater, the Üsküdar Kerem Yılmazer Theater, the Kağıthane Sadabad Theater, the Ümraniye Theater and the Gaziosmanpaşa Theater.