Ulriksdals Castle Theatre, Confidencen is the oldest Rococo theatre in Sweden, situated in the heart of Sweden’s first National City Park. Amidst idyllic gardens, rare flora and fauna, and a Royal Palace, visitors come to breathe the air of a bygone era.
FROM RIDING SCHOOL HOUSE TO THEATRE
Built in 1670 the structure where the theatre now stands was used as a riding school house. Early in the eighteenth century the braying of horses was supplanted by drinking songs, as the building became a tavern. It was only in 1753, under the spirited gaze of Queen Lovisa Ulrika (1720-82), that the architect Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz transformed the building into a theatre. Confidencen, as the theatre was called, soon became a theatrical haven, the home of King Gustav III and the great Swedish composer Carl Michael Bellman.
The auditorium was embellished in rococo style, seating just over two hundred spectators. Alongside the auditorium an elegant suite of rooms was furnished for use by the Royal Family and their guests. The largest of the rooms was equipped with a “table à confidence,” a table that could be lowered down through the floor into the cellar and raised again to expectant dinner guests; hence the name.
For its first forty years Confidencen housed the theatrical extravaganza of singers, dancers, actors, musicians, composers from all of Europe. The young Crown Prince Gustav, later King Gustav III, took his first lessons in the art of theatre and later directed and acted in plays he himself had written. With the assassination of the King in 1792, however, the theatre at Ulriksdal closed its doors and was soon forgotten. It was only with the rediscovery of the Drottningholm Theatre in 1921, that eyes turned towards this forgotten jewel. In 1935, Confidencen was selected a building of historic interest and forty years later, the Foundation Ulriksdals Slottsteater was started.
In 1976 the renowned Swedish opera singer Kjerstin Dellert took on the mantle of restoring the theatre. And here it stands today as a tribute to her tireless work, unfailing love and unrelenting perseverance, hosting a summer of theatre, opera, ballet and chamber music. Kjerstin Dellert has re-kindled in every nook and cranny of the theatre the spirit and soul of a forgotten age, leaving Stockholm the unforgettable legacy of its theatrical past.