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Verdensteatret ( The Theatre of the World)
Address: Storgata 93 b, Troms°
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Architect: Municipal planning commissioner (Stadskondukt°r) Peter Arnet Amundsen
Client: Troms° Municipality
Construction System /
Brickwork; brick; plaster, concrete
Building Type: Village hall; cinema
Keywords: cinema, cafe masonry, brick, plaster, concrete, art nouveau, classicism, mansard roof, projection,
Year of Construction: 1915-1916
This old cinema is located between the town's main streets Storgata and Havnegata. The entrance and main fašade face Storgata, while the secondary fašade, where the exits are located, face Havnegata. This building was erected in order to house "Troms°'s municipal cinematographer" and was given the name Verdensteatret. This name reflects the fact that the cinema was hoped to be a means of enlightenment and expose the citizens of Troms° to the rest of the world.

The building is divided into two. Firstly, a 2 and a half-storied structure faces the street Storgata. Secondly, the cinema hall, like an underlying volume, is easily visible from the street Havnegata. The main fašade, where the entrance is located, is designed with elements from Classicistic architecture. It is also characterised by Louis XVI style decorations and Jugendstil windows. The fašade is plastered and painted in two different colours. It is crowned with a mansard roof that is covered in slate. The building's midsection projects outwards into a three-storied porch that is crowned with a pyramidal slate covered roof. Due to the nice design solution of the fašade, the midsection has a prominent and almost tower-like quality.

From the street Storgata, one enters a vestibule that has been reconstructed on a number of different occasions. Beyond this area, one enters a transversely situated foyer that is still preserved in its original state. The rectangular cinema hall originally had a seating capacity of 349 and a standing room with space for 50 people. The Classical stage wall and arch dominate this room. It is a traditional proscenium theatre with an arch that is decorated with a gilded row of plants. Yet what perhaps immediately strikes the viewer's attention are the murals decorating the sidewalls, in between the pilasters. These murals are characterised by motifs from Norwegian folk songs and fairytales. They were painted in 1921 by the Troms° artist Sverre Mack. In the days of silent film, this cinema was also a place for music. The orchestra pit is still preserved, but is now concealed under a cover.

Verdensteatret is Norway's oldest cinema building that is still in operation. On the whole, the interior and exterior are still preserved. In 1994 it was declared a listed building, thus making it the first listed cinema in Norway.
Literature: Fremmerlid, Astri: "Verdensteatret i folkeopplysningens tjeneste", Troms°boka den tredje. Troms° 2002.
Hegstad, Sveinulf (ed.): Fotefar mot nord. Byvandringer, Troms°. Troms° (year unknown) p. 46.
Stensby, Petter: "Verdensteatret i Troms°", Fortidsvern 3/1997, pp. 18-20.
Publisher: The University of Troms°, 30.12.2004
Author: I.H; P.A.B
Photographer: J.M.B 2003

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