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Turkish theater is based on a tradition that combines the effects of both the East and the West.

“Meddahlik” in Turks, which resulted from the combination and then the development of the tradition of story telling that has its roots in the Central Asia and the islamic culture, reached its present form in the 16th century. Light comedy, on the other hand, which bears great resemblance to the Renaissance Period italian Folk Theatre “Commedia Dell’arte” and which is the most developed genre of the Turkish Theater, is the combination of the local figures such as Karagoz, Kukla and MeddahIt experienced its golden age during the late 19th and early 20th century. Light comedy competed with the Western style theater adopted during the Westernization in the Period of Administrative Reforms, which started in 1839.

Turkish people would meet the western style theater through the theater plays displayed by the minorities. The Palace, on the other hand, adopted the Western theater even before the Turkish people by watching the performances of the foreign groups. The total transfer of the Western theater to the Turkish culture coincides with the Period of Administrative Reforms. The introduction of the Western theater to the Ottoman society, which turned towards the West in line with the principles prescribed in the Administrative Reforms Report dated 1839, has, on the one hand, had positive contributions to the traditional theater, but it has prevented it from developing in a modern way. Turkish writers started writing plays with the onset of the period, thus starting a tradition of drama, though too late when compared to that of the west. New theater houses were built and groups started acting out regularly in these theater houses.

With a very superficial approach, the Modern Turkish Theater can be analyzed in two stages. These stages are the preparation period ranging between the introduction of the Administrative Reforms Report and the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey (1839-1923) and the development period extending between the proclamations of the Republic till today.

1839-1923 Period: The first important step in the area of the Modern Turkish Theater was taken with the construction of the Gedikpasha Theater in 1860. Gullu Agop, who hired the theater in 1861, formed a group called the Ottoman Theater in 1868 and adopted a trend favoring the Turkish writers and Turkish plays. Muslim Turkish actors were trained along with the Armenian actors. Ahmed Fehim is the most important among these actors. With the Period of Administrative Reforms, written plays have entered Turkish theater, and Turkish writers started writing plays, along with the translations of and adaptations from foreign writers. Within this process, the one act comedy called “The Wedding Ceremony of a Poet” has been a turning point for the Turkish theater as a genre. During this period, the works of well-known writers and poets such as Namik Kemal, Ahmed Mithat Efendi, Abdulhak Hamid, Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem etc., the masterwork Moliere adaptations by Ahmed Vefik Pasha, especially the translations of the French melodramas, comedies and vaudevilles; cabarets, musicals and operettas were performed. Theater halls were built in Ciragan, Yildiz and Dolmabahce Palaces and in cities such as Izmir, Bursa, Adana and Ankara, Istanbul taking the lead, of course, and private theater groups were formed.

We see that the folk theater actors and actresses developed a new type of theater called tuluat in those years. Tuluat, which combines the themes and the archetypes of the western theater with the archetypes and the acting styles of the traditional theater and which is based on improvisation, was in a way the performance of the light comedy on stage. This genre, which appeared in 1875 under the leadership of Kavuklu Hamdi, who is one of the masters of light comedy, was very widespread until the early years of the Repbulic. Together with the cabaret, which is one of its indispensable parts, it went on being one of the leading shows of the Direklerarasi, which was jollified during the Ramadan in the Sehzadebasi District of Istanbul.

The first step towards the establishment of a conservatoire for training Turkish actor and actresses and a practice stage financially supported by the local government was taken with the foundation of the Darulbedayi in 1914. Afife Jale, who was the first Turkish-Muslim female artist, first appeared on stage in 1920 in Darulbedayi.

The Turkish art of drama is assumed to have started with the Wedding Ceremony of A Poet, written by Ibrahim Sinasi and which is the first original Turkish play. (1860). This play was followed by plays loaded, especially, with feelings of romantic patriotism. Namik Kemal’s Either Homeland or Silistre (1873) was the most well-known among these plays.

The Republican Era: The first significant step towards converting Turkey into an area of modern arts was taken by the famous master of theater and cinema Muhsin Ertugrul. Muhsin Ertugrul, who became the head of Darulbedayi in 1927, has paved the way for today’s Turkish theater by encouraging the local actors, by providing the customers with translations of the contemporary plays, by establishing the modern style in performance, actions and the setting and by contributing to the training of many male and female actors. Darulbedayi, which was made responsible to the Municipality of Istanbul, was named as “Istanbul Sehir Tiyatrosu” in “1934. The first Theater for Children” was founded in the Istanbul City Theater in 1935, again thanks to the precious efforts of Muhsin Ertugrul.

Ankara State Conservatoire providing a great service in the training of learned actors, on the other hand, was opened as a part of the Musical and Performance Academy. A Practice Stage was formed with the contributions of the first graduates in 1941. After this warm-up period, the State Theaters were officially founded in 1949. The State Theater, which has been acting as a General Directorate serving as a legal body responsible to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism since 1970, meets the audience through the theater directorates in several cities. The State Theater, which stages about 100 plays annually, has 28 settled theater stages.

Private Theaters

The “Small Stage”, which was founded by Muhsin Ertugrul, who broke up with the state theater, in 1951, raised many actors that made great contributions to the Turkish Theater for many years. The Cigir Sahne, Cep Theater, Muammer Karaca Theater and The Istanbul Operetta are among the other theater groups that attracted attention during that period.

There was an increase in the number of the private theaters, which has always played a significant role in the development of the Turkish theater as a genre, in 1960s. Kent Actors, Oraloglu Theater, Gulriz Sururi-Engin Cezzar Group, Ali Poyrazoglu Theater, Levent Kirca-Oya Basar Theater, Nejat Uygur Theater, Ankara Arts Theater, Dormen Theater and the Dostlar Theater can be listed among the private theater groups that have been putting plays on the stage since the 1960s and 70s. Most of the private theater halls founded between 1960-1970 house children’s theaters, as well. Furthermore, the period features the establishment of many private children’s theaters as well.

Many private theaters closed down starting from the mid 1970s and a part of those newly opened were not successful. The private theaters in Istanbul have entered into a period of refreshment since the mid 1980s.

The Hadi Caman Yedi Tepe Actors, which lifted its curtains in Istanbul in 1982, Enis Fosforoglu Theater, Culture Center and Ferhan Sensoy Light Comedy Actors are among the most popular private theater of the last few years.


Turkish Playwriting has developed on a society oriented and critical-realistic axis from the proclamation of the Republic up till now and has expressed the suffering experienced during the transition from the Ottoman society to the modern Turkish society. Yaprak Dokumu (1930) by Resat Nuri Guntekin,and Kosebasi (1984) by Ahmet Kutsi Tecer are the works most successfully reflecting this transition period. Cevat Fehmi Baskurt, on the other hand, who is a very productive writer, placed social critical approach mostly within the framework of comedy.

The Turkish theater won new playwrights after the 1950s. Aziz Nesin and Haldun Taner went beyond the rules of the known realistic drama and took up writing new essays. A strong and dynamic generation of playwrights, however, only developed after 1960It is in this period, that the playwrights wrote successful plays keeping up with the standards of the Western plays. In this period, in fact, Haldun Taner, who made a significant contribution to the Turkish Playwriting towards providing it with the identity in terms of both essence and identity., has become the creator of the local epic musical with his political “Cabaret Theater”, which is predominantly critical, evaluating all the characteristics of the traditional Turkish theater and “Epic Poem of Ali From Kesan”, put on the stage in 1964.

Again in the same period, playwrights such as Gungor Dilmen, Orhan Asena, Turan Oflazoglu and Necati Cumali has written out plays telling stories about the Ottoman history, the lives of the national heroes and mythology using the language used in poetry.

The profession of Playwriting, which experienced a period of standstill in terms of both quality and quantity, has refreshed recently, thanks to the dynamic culture policy of the government. “illustrated Ottoman History” by Turgut Ozakman, “Me, Anadolu” by Gungor Dilmen; the musical play of Basar Sabuncu depicting the life of Edith Piaf, namely “The Sparrow of the Pavements”; “Bye Bye Republic” by Selim ileri; “Deers and Curses” by Murathan Mungan; “Abdulcanbaz” by Turhan Selcuk; “A Very Strange inquiry” by Ferhan Sensoy; “Have you ever seen a Firefly?” by Yilmaz Erdogan and “Oscar and its Pink Angel” by Yildiz Kenter are some of the most popular plays of the recent years.

Many groups focused on political theater during the 1970s. The most well-known plays of the period are Oktay Arayici’s How can Asiye Break Through? And the plays of Vasif Gungoren. In the 1980s, on the other hand, the plays of playwrights such as Murathan Mungan, Ulku Ayvaz, Ferhan Sensoy and Mehmet Baydur took their place on the agenda.

State Theaters General Directorate

Istiklal Caddesi, Cirmen Sokak, II.Evkaf Apt. Opera Ulus / ANKARA

Telephone : +90.312.310 42 30

Istanbul Devlet Tiyatrosu
Ataturk Kultur Merkezi - 2. kat No: 514

Phone: +90.212 .292 39 00 / 111 Fax: +90.212. 293 73 22

Suggestions, wishes and complaints

+90.212. 293 61 61/ 5


İstanbul Devlet Tiyatrosu
Reservation and Wholesale Ticket Sales
+90.212.2923900 / 111
Büyük Sahne
Taksim Sahnesi
Aziz Nesin Sahnesi
Şehir Tiyatroları
Harbiye Muhsin Ertuğrul Sahnesi
Fatih Reşat Nuri Sahnesi
+90.212. 5265380
Üsküdar Musahipzade Celal Sahnesi
Kadıköy Haldun Taner Sahnesi
İstanbul Sanat Tiyatrosu
+90.284.235 14 19
Abide-İ Hürriyet Caddesi, No: 227 - 229, Şişli, İstanbul
Msm Oyuncuları
Zühtü Paşa Mahallesi, Şefik Bey Sokak, No: 4, Fenerbahçe, İstanbul

Tiyatro Oyunevi

İstanbul Sanat Merkezi, Tarlabaşı Bulvarı, No: 120 - 122, Beyoğlu, İstanbul
İstiklal Caddesi, No: 140, Beyoğlu, İstanbul
Maya Sahnesi & Bilsak Tiyatro
İstiklal Cad., Halep Pasajı. Kat 2, Taksim
Tel: +90.212.2527452
Oyun Atölyesi
Dr. Esat Işık Cad., No: 15, Moda / Kadıköy
Reservation: +90.216.4184649 Gişe:+90.216.3453939
Tiyatro Stüdyosu
Büyükdere Caddesi, İşbank Plaza, Levent, İstanbul
Aksanat Tiyatrosu
İstiklal Caddesi, No: 16, Beyoğlu, İstanbul
Halaskargazi Caddesi, No: 35, Harbiye, İstanbul
Bkm Oyuncuları
Beşiktaş Kültür Merkezi, Hasfırın Sokak, No: 75, Beşiktaş, İstanbul
5. Sokak Tiyatrosu
İstanbul Sanat Merkezi, Tarlabaşı Bulvarı, No: 120 - 122, Beyoğlu, İstanbul
Dostlar Tiyatrosu
Muammer Karaca Tiyatrosu, Beyoğlu, İstanbul
Bakırköy Belediye Tiyatrosu
Semaver Kumpanya
Adres: Çevre Tiyatrosu, Arabacı Beyazıt Mah., Kuvayi Milliye Cad. Çevre Sokak. Kocamustafapaşa, İstanbul Tel: +90.212.585 59 35
Bizim Tiyatro
Tel: +90.216.3461906
Tiyatro Boğaziçi
Adresse: Bogazici Universitesi Mezunlar Dernegi, 6 Nolu Lojman, Bebek, Istanbul Tel: +90.212.287 02 32/121
Anatole Sokak Oyuncuları
Tel: +90.216.3439496
Oda Tiyatrosu
Adresse: Hit Medya, Sadri Alışık Sokak No:24 Beyoğlu, İstanbul Tel: +90.212. 252 75 73 - +90.212. 252 75 72
Hayal Sahnesi
Tel: +90.216. 345 73 51
Kumpanya Tiyatrosu
Tel: +90.212.235 54 57
Halk Sahnesi
Adres:İstiklal Cad. Balo Sk. 32/7 Beyoğlu-İstanbul
Tel: +90.212 244 78 89
Tiyatro İstanbul
Profilo Alışveriş Merkezi
Tel: +90.212 2163873 - 2164070
Tiyatro Pera
Sıraselviler Cad. No:70 Taksim


Ankara Devlet Tiyatrosu
Toplu Bilet Satışı
Büyük Tiyatro
Küçük Tiyatro
Şinasi Sahnesi
Yeni Sahne
Altındağ Tiyatrosu
Çan Tiyatrosu
Adnan Saygun Caddesi, 6/8, Sıhhiye, Ankara
Ankara Sanat Tiyatrosu
Ihlamur Sokak, No: 6/B, Yenişehir, Ankara
Ekin Sanat Merkezi
Menekşe 1 Sokak, No: 8, Kızılay, Ankara
Pembe Kurbağa Sahnesi
Büklüm Sok. 8 / 12 Kavaklıdere / Ankara
Tel: +90.312.418 02 98 - (312) 418 02 67
Değişim Atölyesi Oyuncları
Konur Sokak 5/5 Kızılay-Ankara
Tel:+90.312.418 48 15 - (312) 418 32 45


İzmir Devlet Tiyatrosu
Konak Sahnesi
Karşıyaka Ragıp Haykır Sahnesi
Tiyatro Oyunevi
Tel: +90.232. 4258785


Bursa Devlet Tiyatrosu
Ahmet Vefik Paşa Sahnesi
Yıldırım Belediyesi Şehir Tiyatrosu
Adile Naşit Sahnesi, Yıldırım, Bursa
Tel: +90.224.3685120
Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi
Bkstv ( Bursa Kültür Sanat Ve Turizm Vakfı ) Tiyatrosu
Açıkhava Tiyatrosu Altı, Kültürpark / Bursa Tayyare Kültür Merkezi / Bursa
Tel: +90.224.2345025


Adana Devlet Tiyatrosu
Hacı Ömer Sabancı Kültür Merkezi Sahnesi
+90.322.3523355 / 103


Trabzon Devlet Tiyatrosu
Atapark Büyük Sahne


Antalya Devlet Tiyatrosu
Devlet Tiyatrosu Sahnesi
Üçüncü Zil Tiyatro Topluluğu
Güllük Cad. 80/14 Antalya


Van Devlet Tiyatrosu
Kültür Merkezi Sahnesi


Diyarbakır Devlet Tiyatrosu
Orhan Asena Sahnesi


Konya Devlet Tiyatrosu
Devlet Tiyatrosu Sahnesi
+90.332. 3508013


Sivas Devlet Tiyatrosu
Atatürk Kültür Merkezi Sahnesi


İzmit Şehir Tiyatrosu
+90.262.311 59 00
+90.262.31159 09
+90.262. 311 5910


Atatürk Kültür Ve Sanat Merkezi Oda Tiyatrosu
Anadolu Üniversitesi Yunus Emre Kampüsü
Ticket and Booking: +90.222.335 05 80/1301
Bilgi İçin: +90.222.330 71 65

Tiyatro Anadolu
Adres: Atatürk Kültür ve Sanat Merkezi Tiyatro Salonu
Anadolu Üniversitesi Yunus Emre Kampüsü
Ticket and Booking: +90.222.3350580/1301
Auskunft: : +90.222.3307165