21 April 1915
The Theatro Circo was conceived for the first time in 1906 by a group of people from Braga, led by Artur José Soares, José António Veloso and Cândido Martins. To that date, the city had only the small Teatro São Geraldo, thus the Theatro Circo would satisfy the needs of the city which, like the rest of the country, was witnessing a great theatrical development. In 1911, the project began to take shape at the hand of the architect João de Moura Coutinho and on April 21, 1915, the Theatro Circo was opened, coinciding with a period of great economic and social development in Braga.
Over the decades, the space was readapted to new requirements imposed by the evolution of the times and acquired new qualities, most notably the installation of sound cinema. Great artists of international renown at the time graced its stage such as cellist Guilhermina Suggia, violinist Isaac Stern and pianist Arthur Rubenstein, the National Orchestra of Florence, Prague, Madrid or Vienna, the Opera House of London, among many others.
However, it was not able to withstand competition from new cinemas and television, and, together with the revolutionary euphoria that was felt until the early 80s, the decline of the establishment and its functions were accentuated, thereby initiating a discussion in the city on the future of Theatro Circo.
The 80s and 90s
In 1986, the Braga Theatre Company became the resident company in Theatro Circo, ensuring its own theatrical production as well as assuming responsibility for the artistic programming. A year later, and taking into account the great socio-cultural value and heritage of the entity, the Municipality of Braga acquired almost all of its shareholder capital, assuming this way the strategic importance of this entity in the cultural policy of the Municipality. In the late 80s and for most of the 90s, the Theatro Circo continued to provide a diversified program of theater, cinema, opera, ballet, music, exhibitions and training sessions
The refurbishment process began in 1999 with the Theatro Circo undergoing profound works of restoration and rehabilitation, decided by the Municipal Executive office, thereby celebrating a protocol established between the city of Braga and the Ministry of Culture, with FEDER as co/funder.
The requalification, consisting of the restoration of the entire property with respect for its architecture and the strengthening and consolidation of its structure and security, aimed at the conversion of the Theatro Circo into a large cultural complex, equipped with the most current and complete scenic and sound technology, able to meet the needs of contemporary art in its many dimensions.
In addition to the Main Hall, with a capacity of 897 seats, the building was complemented with two new rooms: one small auditorium with 236 seats and a rehearsal room. Its capacity was further increased in the areas of support with the allocation of new dressing rooms and warehouses. The refurbishment also included the replacement of the original tracing of the Great Hall, now freed of the changes that it had undergone over the years.
This whole process culminated on 27 October 2006 with the reopening of Theatro Circo, at a time of celebration marked by performances of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, which gave the city an unusual and magnificent room with beautiful architecture hard to be overcome by any other room, be it Portuguese or European.
Two years after its completion in 2008, the Municipality acquired the remaining shares and became the sole holder of 100% of the capital of the enterprise.