The Sá da Bandeira Theater, in Porto, was classified as a monument of public interest, according to an ordinance published today in Diário da República, which considers it “one of the most important landmarks of the city’s cultural heritage”.
“The Sá da Bandeira Theater is classified as a monument of public interest, at Rua Sá da Bandeira, 94 to 108, Porto, Union of Parishes of Cedofeita, Miragaia, Santo Ildefonso, São Nicolau, Sé and Vitória, municipality and district of Porto”, indicates the document dated January 15 and signed by the Assistant Secretary of State and Cultural Heritage, Ângela Carvalho Ferreira.
Located in the historic center of Porto, the Teatro Sá da Bandeira “constitutes the oldest theater in the city”, reads in the ordinance of the classification of the property, based on “its interest as a remarkable testimony of experiences or historical facts”, as well as in “its aesthetic, technical and intrinsic value”, architectural and urban design, extension and what “is reflected in it from the point of view of collective memory”.
“In addition to the formal quality of the property, it is worth noting its cultural role in the Porto area, as a stage for great national and international names in theater and opera, among others”, points out the Government Ordinance.
The theater classification process was initiated by the Porto Chamber in 2017, when, in view of the communication of the transaction of that structure, the municipality decided to exercise the preemptive right and acquire the property, since it was not classified ” and its alienation threatened its characteristics and function “which the municipality intended to safeguard.
At the same time, the municipality launched a classification process with the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC), also giving it, at the time, the distinction as an Entity of Historical and Cultural or Social Interest.
In March 2019, the Porto Chamber approved, with the abstention of the PS and CDU, the sale by public auction of Teatro Sá de Bandeira for 2.1 million euros, as it considers the heritage and use of the building to be safeguarded. On May 30, Livraria Lello bought the theater for 3.5 million euros.
Inaugurated in March 1874 as Teatro-Circo Príncipe Real, Sá da Bandeira replaced the building of the old Teatro Circo, which had started out as a wooden shack for circus arts. With a capacity of 1,700 seats, it officially became known as Teatro Sá da Bandeira in 1910.
“Despite its relatively modest size and typology, with a sober neoclassical Almadine façade, harmonized with the facades of the surrounding housing, this recreational space was designed following the models of the great theaters and opera houses of the 19th century”, points out the ordinance,
The property had, during the 20th century, “several small extension works, although in 1880 a new facade was built and in 1956 the interior space was remodeled, with a probable reconstruction of the atriums, stairs, and corridors”.
The main room has a circular plan with an iron cover, the most prominent element being the wooden web, which preserves all the original structure of stairs, walkways and platforms, and the complex manual system of ropes and pulleys that move the scenarios.