The only black-and-white mural in town, visible from the corner of Brīvības iela and Lāčplēša iela, points the way to Riga's most innovative theatre. The mural is an outsized photographic portrait of a prominent personality in Latvian dramatic art - the legendary director Eduards Smiļģis.
The theatre building is worth seeing even if you don't attend a performance. The main auditorium is one of the few public spaces preserving an Art Deco interior, which admittedly is somewhat threadbare. The stage and audience space were designed specifically in accordance with Smiļģis' sketches.
Many who come here are surprised that it hasn't been renovated for decades, but the wear and tear that you see is suffused with the memories of decades of great theatre, down to the many coats of paint. Everything here whispers of tears from bygone premieres, never-to-be-forgotten rehearsals, and the transformation of evening routines into astonishing stagecraft.
Alvis Hermanis, the current director, has a reputation that stretches from the festivals of Western Europe to the avant-garde stages of Moscow. His magic lies in his ability to communicate simple things in a way that makes them timeless. The troupe under his direction is an essential staple of the city's cultural life.
Lāčplēša ielā 25
Keywords: Riga, theatre