Szkaradkiewicz Wacław

He was born on 25th September 1878, in Poznań. In 1908, he moved to Bydgoszcz LINK , where he established himself as a pioneer of cinema.

In 1908, in the back of a property at ul. Gdańska 34/36, Wacław Szkaradkiewicz opened the very first cinema in Bydgoszcz, under then name Moderns Theater, which was also referred to as ‘Nowomodny Teatr Żywych Fotografii (it roughly translates to a ‘New-fashioned Theatre of Live Photographs’). His auditorium could accommodate 130 seats and film screenings were accompanied by live music performed with a harpsichord, a piano, a violin and a concertina. Back then, the cinema screened documentary films that were commonly described as “images of nature” and full length films. In an effort to make sure that his cinema had access to new film productions, Wacław Szkaradkiewicz cooperated closely with distribution companies from Poznań and Berlin.

In 1909, he moved his cinema to the building that used to be a fire station. It was located in the back of ul. Gdańska 19. Wacław Szkaradkiewicz called the new cinema ,,Colloseum” (later on, it was renamed to Kino Bałtyk). Inside the new building, the auditorium could accommodate as many as 360 seats. It became the first cinema in Bydgoszcz to show a talking film and the first ever local film production under the title ,,Odwiedziny w Bydgoszczy”.

In 1913, Wacław Szkaradkiewicz opened up another screening room, which could provide room for 450 people, including a balcony and boxes. It was located at ul. Gdańska 15 and operated under the name ‘Union-Theater’. Later on, after Poland regained its independence, the cinema was renamed to ‘Marysieńka’. Finally, after the Second World War, the name was changes once again to ,,Kino Wolność’. Wacław Szkaradkiewicz inaugurated the new cinema with the first screening of the film ,,Quo Vadis” based on the novel of Henryk Sienkiewicz, in Bydgoszcz.

After the outbreak of the First World War, the cinemas run by Wacław Szkaradkiewicz were used predominantly for the purpose of showing propaganda films in the German language. It had not been until 2nd December 1919, when the first film with Polish subtitles, namely ,,Karnawał zmarłych”, was screened there.
In the 1920s, Wacław Szkaradkiewicz sold both of his cinemas and became a merchant. He died on 20th December, 1951.