Teatro Capitólio

Parque Mayer,
Lisbon 1250-117 Lisbon

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Additional Info

Architects: Luis Cristino da Silva

Functions: Live Theatre

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Cinema Capitolio

Nearby Theaters

Teatro Capitólio

Teatro Capitolio is located at Parque Mayer, an entertainment precinct in Lisbon which opened in 1922. Portuguese architect Luis Cristino da Silva (1896-1976) designed the Capitolio in 1925-1929. The engineer Jose Belard da Fonseca (1899-1969) was responsible for the building’s adventurous reinforced concrete structure. When it opened to the public in 1931, it was an unprecedented statement in Portugal of the spirit of the modern world. The innovative entertainment venue combined a cinema / theatre hall with a roof-terrace for performances in the open. With its acclaimed pioneering functionalist architecture, Teatro Capitolio is an outstanding example from the early days of the Modern Movement in Europe.

The Capitolio is listed by the Portuguese State (1983) and registered in the Docomomo Iberico (1996).

The Capitolio closed in the 1980’s and was left to ruin for over 30 years. Its restoration - long overdue - was called for by the pressure group “Citizens for the Capitolio” together with the National Museum of Cinema, the National Museum of Theatre and Docomomo International.

The owner - the City Council of Lisbon - proposed its demolition and replacement with a new theatre designed by architect Frank O. Gehry.

The Teatro Capitolio was selected by World Monuments Fund for the “World Monuments Watch - 100 Most Endangered Sites” list of 2006 (www.wmf.org). The forgotten but precious Capitolio - considered the first great Modern Movement building in Portugal - was in urgent need of rescue and attention. By 2017 it had been restored and it reopened in January 2020.

Contributed by Fernando Jorge

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 16, 2005 at 4:59 am

Pictures of Teatro Capitolio here and here.

(And in Portuguese, as in English, “capital” with and “a” and “capitol” with and “o” are different things. The name of the theater is spelled with an “o” in the middle: Capitolio.)

Also, if Frank Gehry has anything to do with any project that replaces this theater, he will lose the last scrap of respect I still have for him.

Pauliano on September 7, 2005 at 3:20 am

More photos avaliable on View link
(click on “Imagens”)

Robertgiles on January 23, 2006 at 9:19 am

I have visited Lisbon for both work and play. It is a city remarkable for many things, architecture being one of them. Cities across Europe are recognizing the importance of their Modern buildings, and Lisbon should be no exception. The Teatro Capitolio may no longer strike the visitor the way it did in its heyday, but it remains a valuable part of the city’s architectural story. It is sad to know that the renowned architect Frank O. Gehry has proposed the site’s redevelopment with insensitivity and such disregard for the building. I truly hope the Captitolio’s listing by World Monuments Fund will wake him up!

Robert Giles,

woody on July 22, 2008 at 8:47 am

Parque Mayer is tucked away just off the main street in Lisbon and is like going back into some wierd time warp, there are four theatres grouped around a car park, the Capitolio, teatro maria vitoria, teatro ABC and the teatro Variedades.
All in use except the Capitolio which is a magnificent but crumbling wreak, lots of water has got into the reinforced concrete giving the building a leporous exterior
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front doors with equally rough looking kitty
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ghostly lobby doors
teatro variedades opposite front doors of the capitolio
teatro ABC next door
teatro marai vitoria opposite
entry to parque mayer with amazing huge deco lights
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mattleys on July 15, 2009 at 7:49 am

Parque Mayer is just extraordinary. See it before they flatten it all!

My pictures of the theatres here:
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AndreasP on August 23, 2017 at 1:13 pm

In the meantime the theatre has been restored to its original glory: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Teatro_Capit%C3%B3lio

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