Theatre 199 ‘Valentin Stoychev’
Theatre 199 ‘Valentin Stoychev’ (Teatar sto-devetdeset-i-devet ‘Valentin Stoychev’) is a stage space located on G. S. Rakovski Str. in Sofia (“a prestigious and cozy theatre basement in the centre”), dedicated to chamber plays by contemporary authors.
It was founded on 12 June 1965. It was called like this because of the 199 seats it had in those days. It is located in a cozy basement in the centre of Sofia. There is a chamber hall which, after a couple of renovations, was equipped with 169 seats for the sake of viewers’ comfort. The theatre doesn’t have its own troupe – all creative teams, including directors and actors, who stage or play at ‘199’ are guests.
Its monthly program is quite rich. There are evening shows for adults, starting at 19.30. Traditionally, during the winter months there are daytime Sunday shows, starting at 15.00. Apart from that, every Saturday and Sunday there are shows for children, starting at 11.30.
Some of the top directors have staged their works on that stage which has seen tens of emblematic roles being played by the most talented actors of their time. The repertoire policy is focused on presenting the Bulgarian audience with works by contemporary authors and making performances of high artistic value. The theatre also stages works by the most famous European and world authors. Many of the shows have stood the test of time – some of them have been being played for 20 years now and others have been staged for more than 700 times.
Today, the theatre bears the name of Valentin Stoychev, manager from 1991 till 2007, considered to be one of the most successful theatre directors.
Shows from the theatre’s repertoire are played in many towns in Bulgaria. The theatre also tours abroad – in the UK, Germany, Macedonia, Russia, Belgium, Luxemburg and others. Theatre 199 is the first Bulgarian theatre to play on the famous Broadway in the USA. It takes part in many festivals both in and outside the country.
A great number of the creative teams behind the shows, as well as the shows themselves, have been awarded the country’s most prestigious theatre awards.
The space in front of the theatre is also an emblematic spot for locals and visitors of the capital. Here is the so called ‘199 steps to success’ Wall of Fame. It bears the imprints of some of the most famous Bulgarian actors who have played on the stage of the “sacral basement”.