In September 1945 a prewar Lviv actor Bronisław Romaniszyn came to Elbląg. He was the founder of an amateur team of actors. On 10th November 1945 first theatre bills appeared in free Elbląg and the first premiere performance took place. It was “Chłopak z Solca” on stage in Adria restaurant that no longer exists. The team as Teatr Miejski (city theatre) performed in Elbląg, Pasłęk, Morąg, Tolkmick and Malbork. This amateur-professional group gained sympathy and developed its own audience. The group was suspended in spring 1950 because the amateurs could not bear the competition from professionals of the Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Olsztyn, who performed in Elbląg since autumn 1949.
At the inauguration on 26th September 1949 “Pan Jowialski” by Alexander Fredro was staged. The play was directed by Władysław Stoma and included magnificent acting of Ludwik Solski. The play was staged in gym of a school located at Agrykola Street, where currently Junior High School No. 5 is. Professional theatre quickly settled into our city, later opening a permanent stage. Although the opening night and subsequent performances were held in nearly Spartan conditions, Elbląg audience received it enthusiastically, treating the opening of the professional stage as a cultural ennoblement of the city. Totally spontaneous reactions of the audience, standing ovations and sold-out tickets proved that people were deeply interested in scenic art.
The moment that significantly affected the development of theatrical life in our city was putting into use new theatre’s residence in the building of Elbląg Cultural Centre on June 18th 1966. The new facility largely attracted the audience thanks to its location in the city centre, excellent functionality, aesthetics and spatiality. The Elbląg cooperation with Olsztyn S. Jaracz Theatre brought new artistic quality into the life of the city.
Dissolution of the cooperation between Olsztyn and Elbląg was initiated by the Olsztyn team of S. Jaracz Theatre. The decision was made at the same time as new administrative division of the country was introduced, based on which Elbląg gained the status of voivodeship main city. In spring 1975 the authorities of the city requested the authorities in Gdańsk to appoint an independent company in Elbląg – the Drama Theatre. The decision was signed by the voivod of Gdańsk on may 28th 1975, so nearly a day before establishment of elbląskie voivodeship.
The first Director and artistic manager of Drama Theatre in Elbląg was Jacek Gruca (from 1975) and his Deputy was Henryk Majcherek. The most important task for the first theatre management was to gather the acting and technical team. So, autumn 1975 was spent on organising theatre team. However, during that period the theatre worked. The first performance of the new team with a few other actors was “Damy i Huzary” by Alexander Fredro, staged on the International Theatre Day – 27th March 1976. The official opening of Drama Theatre in Elbląg took place on 13th November 1976 and was graced with the premiere performance of “Balladyna” by Juliusz Słowacki, directed by Jacek Gruca.
On 6th December 2007 the theatre was officially given a new name. Aleksander Sewruk was chosen for the patron of the theatre. He was an actor, director, educationist and long-term Director of S. Jaracz Theatre, who made a major contribution to Elbląg theatrical life. Therefore, Drama Theatre changed its name to Aleksander Sewruk Theatre in Elbląg. The ceremony was graced with the premiere performance of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, directed by Czesław Sieńko.
In the third decade of March 1985 the 1st Elbląg Spring Theatre took place – a national artistic event organised by the Director Stanisław Tym. Unfortunately, after six editions of the project so important for Elbląg culture, further organising of the event was suspended. Finally, in April 2008 at the initiative of the current Theatre Director Mirosław Siedler, the event was reactivated and the 7th Elbląg Spring Theatre “Reloaded” was held. The event is still continued and in 2017 its 16th edition took place. An interesting and very well-received initiative was the series of holiday theatrical presentations – „Warmińsko-Mazurskie Spotkania z Teatrem… na Wodzie” (Warmia and Mazury Meetings with Theatre… on Water). Only 6 editions of the “Meetings…” were held. Due to organisational and (particularly) financial aspects, further organising was suspended.
At the initiative of the Director Mirosław Siedler, Single Author Festival was also organised. There were three editions of the Festival – the first was nationwide and presented the drama works of Krzysztof Biź. The next two editions were international – works of Anton Chekhov and William Shakespeare were presented.
In 2011 Sewruk Theatre took part in an international project “STORM – Shakespeare’s Tempest: Ontology, Reconstruction & Manipulation”. The result was an open air performance “Storm” in Polish-Portuguese-English version, directed by Carlos Carvalheiro, Mirosław Siedler and Anna Makrzanowska. In July 2011 the play was staged in several cities in Portugal, in August – in Poland and in September – in the United Kingdom.
In the Theatre worked many prominent artists, who performed in Polish classic and world classic plays. Such names should be mentioned: Krystyna Meissner, Jan Skotnicki, Ernest Bryll, Agnieszka Osiecka, Ewa Kołogórska, Waldemar Wilhelm, Ryszard Major, Jan Machulski, Bogusław Semotiuk, Wojciech Siemion, Edward Żentara, Bartłomiej Wyszomirski, Janusz Wiśniewski, Emil Wesołowski and Paweł Szkotak. Outstanding stage designers and costume designers, who worked in or collaborated with the theatre: Zygmunt Prończyk, Ryszard Strzembała, Jerzy Krechowicz, Jerzy Rudzki, Iza Toroniewicz, Tatiana Kwiatkowska, Andrzej Pągowski, Łucja and Bruno Sobczak. Music was composed by prominent composers with Jerzy Satanowski ahead. Stage movement was prepared by world-renowned choreographers, such as Emil Wesołowski and Iwona Runowska.
Aleksander Sewruk Theatre prepared and staged over 290 premiere plays. It hosted the greatest Polish theatre stages and a galaxy of stars of the theatre, opera and operetta, film and music stage. Over the years, the theatre was managed by ten directors – Jacek Gruca, Andrew May, Stanisław Tym, Jerzy Sopoćko, Henryk Majcherek, Hilary Kurpanik, Józef Jasielski, Jerzy Michalik and Dariusz Barton. Since 2003 until present director of Aleksander Sewruk Theatre is Mirosław Siedler.