Théâtre des Célestins

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Theatre des Celestins Theatre des Celestins.jpg
Théâtre des Célestins

The Théâtre des Célestins is a theatre building on Place des Célestins in Lyon, France. It was designed by Gaspard André, and inaugurated in 1877, then in 2005. Alongside the Comédie-Française and the théâtre de l'Odéon, it is one of few theatres with over 200 years' continual usage in France. It is now a municipal theatre directly run by the City of Lyon. It has a contemporary and classical repertoire as well as producing new work. [1]

Place des Célestins square in Lyon, France

The Place des Célestins is a square located in the Célestins quarter, in the 2nd arrondissement of Lyon. The square was named after the religious of the Order of the Celestines which were installed from 1407 to 1778. This zone is served by the metro station Bellecour. It belongs to the zone classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Lyon Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.

Gaspard André French architect

Gaspard André was a French architect, best known as the designer of the Theater of the Place des Célestins, the Fountain of the Place des Jacobins and the Grand Temple de Lyon in Lyon, the city hall of Neuilly-sur-Seine and the Palace of Rumine in Lausanne.



The Celestine convent, 19th century reconstruction. Martin - Histoire des eglises et chapelles de Lyon, 1908, tome I 0072.jpg
The Celestine convent, 19th century reconstruction.

The theatre and the square on which it stands are named after a convent and church of the Celestine order, which occupied the site between 1407 and 1789. It was founded on the banks of the Saône on land seized from the Templars by Amedee VIII of Savoy and given to the order.

Saône river of France

The Saône is a river of eastern France. It is a right tributary of the Rhône, rising at Vioménil in the Vosges department and joining the Rhône in Lyon, just south of the Presqu'île.

Knights Templar Western Christian military order; medieval Catholic military order

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar or simply the Templars, were a Catholic military order recognised in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was founded in 1119 and was active until about 1312.

The order used the land until 1779. A 'Société des Célestins' then a 'Compagnie des Célestins' were formed in 1789 for "the establishment of a garden at the centre of the former Celestine lands, the construction of 17 houses around the garden, the distribution and repair of the cloister building to form 7 private houses, in one of which shall be built a theatre". The first theatre building was inaugurated on 9 April 1792. Napoleon I attended a show at the theatre during the Consulte de Lyon in 1802.

Consulte de Lyon

The Consulte de Lyon or consulte de la république cisalpine was an extraordinary meeting in the former chapel of the Jesuit college of the Trinity in Lyon during the French Consulate. It was held from 11–26 January 1802 and converted the Cisalpine Republic into the Italian Republic, with Napoleon Bonaparte as its president.

The first building later became too small and fell into disrepair before being completely destroyed in a fire in 1871. A competition was held to design a new one, which was won by Gaspard André - it was inaugurated on 1 August 1877 but damaged by fire on the night of 25–26 May 1880, with André called in to repair it.

Building work at the theatre des Celestins. Le theatre des Celestins en travaux.JPG
Building work at the théâtre des Célestins.

Several notable actors such as Sarah Bernhardt and Jean Marais have acted at the theatre. For 35 years Charles Moncharmont was its artistic director, during which time it hosted Cécile Sorel, Jules Berry, Ludmilla and Georges Pitoeff, Louis Jouvet, Charles Dullin, Elvire Popesco, Sacha Guitry, Madeleine Renaud, Pierre Dux, Jean Weber and Fernandel, as well as music-hall stars such as Joséphine Baker, Mistinguett and Maurice Chevalier. Charles Gantillon succeeded Moncharmont in 1941, inviting Jean Cocteau, Eugène Ionesco, Armand Gatti, Samuel Beckett and Bertolt Brecht. He also gave Jorge Lavelli, Patrice Chéreau, Edmond Tamiz and Marcel Maréchal their first chances. On 26 January 1968 Albert Husson and Jean Meyer were made joint artistic directors. On Huson's death in 1978, Meyer took over alone. He was succeeded in 1985 by Jean-Paul Lucet (who had acted alongside Meyer's favourite actress, Claude Jade, who had appeared in five plays at the theatre for him between 1975 and 1984).

Sarah Bernhardt French actress

Sarah Bernhardt was a French stage actress who starred in some of the most popular French plays of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including La Dame Aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas, fils, Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo, Fédora and La Tosca by Victorien Sardou, and L'Aiglon by Edmond Rostand. She also played male roles, including Shakespeare's Hamlet. Rostand called her "the queen of the pose and the princess of the gesture", while Hugo praised her "golden voice". She made several theatrical tours around the world, and was one of the first prominent actresses to make sound recordings and to act in motion pictures.

Jean Marais French actor and theatre director

Jean-Alfred Villain-Marais, known professionally as Jean Marais, was a French actor, writer, director and sculptor. He performed in over 100 films and was the muse of acclaimed director Jean Cocteau. In 1996, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor for his contributions to French Cinema.

Cécile Sorel French actress

Céline Émilie Seurre, known as Cécile Sorel or the Comtesse de Ségur, by marriage was a French comic actress. She enjoyed great popularity and was known for her extravagant costumes.

Claudia Stavisky became sole artistic director in 2000, until she was joined by Patrick Penot in 2002 then Marc Lesage in 2014. A major rebuild occurred between 2002 and 2005, creating a second auditorium, the Célestine, with capacity for 130 people.

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