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Theodor Costescu Palace, Drobeta Turnu SeverinCod 1433

Selected president of the „Turnu Severin theatre” society, Theodor Costescu, principal of the prestigious Traian highschool in town, managed in only a few days to cover the entire list of actions, necesary to finance the theatre construction. The works began in 1912.

The events in 1916 found the building  partly finished, but covered. After the foundation of României Mare, Theodor Costescu retook the activities interrupted during the war years. Continuing the works was nearly impossible because the society no longer had any capital. In less than two months, at Costescu’s trial, an amount of a few million is lent to the society, money given by the rich town folk and by administrators or needy of the town. To this amount there was also an aid from the Government and a loan from the National Bank. The ground stone of the “Teodor Costescu” Cultural Palace was set in 1912 but instead of conference and show room as initially projected, the grand building of the Cultural Palace was founded, who could start its activity in 1924.

On November 30th 1924 this important building for Severin and Mehedinti county  was inagurated. The great building, work of architect Grigore Cerchez,, has a very special plain and was designed to have seven large rooms: three rooms overlapping the library (I. G. Bibicescu library) , cinema and restaurant, north wing; another three rooms placed the same forming the west wing where the “Dr. C.I. Istrati ” Museum was, the festivities room and the adjacent room; the seventh in between the two wings is the grand theatre room that was completed later.

“I. G. Bibicescu” library was installed in 1925, the large library being given in 1920 by the great son of Mehedinti county Ion I.G. Bibicescu, former governor of the National Bank. The collection has 40000 volumes contained in 19 catalogs, organized by specialties. The cinema room was founded with the purpose of ensuring an income source for the society, incomes tha could cover the administration and maintenance expenses of this great building. The room inaguration hapenned with the movie “Țigăncuța de la Iatac”. The room has a 450 seats capacity.

The first representation took place on November 30th 1924, when the National Theatre group from Bucharest, with Victor Antonescu and Ion Sârbu having leading roles in “Năpasta” by I.L. Caragiale and “Legea Iertării”. The restaurant, inagurated in July 1925, is in the southern wing of the building, in the basement.

The building inagurated in 1924 didn’t have its grand show room completed. Since he was not receiving any support, Costescu resorted to the last saving solution: he auctioned out his own fortune for the national interest.

Theodor Costescu sold his house at a reduced price and lived in the theatre building, himiliated and forgotten by his coevals. Then he ended up in a sanatorium in Bucharest where he died, March 25th 1939. The only appreciation that moved him deeply was undoubtedly his selection in 1934 as an honorary member of the Romanian Academy.

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