The subject of the article is the birth of theatre criticism in Poland, which dates back to the beginnings of 19th century. Referring to material such as extensive and initially anonymous quotes from reviews of the plays staged in Warsaw published mainly in “Warsaw Gazette” (“Gazeta Warszawska”) from 1802 to 1806, from polemics with the reviews, as well as from the viewers’s comments, the author shows the shaping and development of Polish theatre criticism. Reviews contained remarks about the staging itself: directing, acting, setting, as well as translation (in the case of foreign plays), and they were wtitten in the spirit of classicistic aesthetics and poetics. Staging the classical, mainly French and Polish works was appraised while all departures from classicistic norms and new theatre genres, especially various forms of drama, were denounced. The texts analysed in the article reveals that the 19th Polish theatre clearly favoured new artistic-ideological tendencies, and while introducing (apart from sentimental motifs) also fantasy and motifs of horror, it made way to pre-romantic and romantic elements.