Théâtre des Funambules

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Theatre des Funambules (c. 1862) Theatre des Funambules c1823 - Chauveau 1999 p262.jpg
Théâtre des Funambules (c. 1862)
The auditorium of the theatre before a performance The auditorium of the Theatre des Funambules by Valentin - McCormick 1993 p41.jpg
The auditorium of the theatre before a performance

The Théâtre des Funambules ('The Theatre of the Tightrope-Walkers') was a former theater located on the boulevard du Temple in Paris, sometimes called the Boulevard du Crime. It was located between the prominent Théâtre de la Gaîté, and the much smaller Théâtre des Délassements-Comiques.


Originally an informal venue for acrobatics and pantomime a theatre was eventually built in 1816. Originally seating 500, it was later enlarged to accommodate 773. The Funambules became celebrated for the performances of the 'Pierrot' mime Jean-Gaspard Deburau, between around 1819 and 1846, and also the early career of the great classical actor Frédérick Lemaître.

The theatre was demolished in 1862, along with other neighboring venues such as Théâtre de la Gaîté, during Haussmann's renovation of Paris.

Les Enfants du Paradis

Marcel Carné set his 1945 film Les Enfants du Paradis in the Théâtre des Funambules to evoke the atmosphere of the July Monarchy (1830–48), including the figures of Deburau and Lemaître among the main roles.

Related Research Articles

Pierrot Stock character of pantomime and Commedia dellArte

Pierrot is a stock character of pantomime and commedia dell'arte whose origins are in the late seventeenth-century Italian troupe of players performing in Paris and known as the Comédie-Italienne; the name is a diminutive of Pierre (Peter), via the suffix -ot. His character in contemporary popular culture—in poetry, fiction, and the visual arts, as well as works for the stage, screen, and concert hall—is that of the sad clown, pining for love of Columbine, who usually breaks his heart and leaves him for Harlequin. Performing unmasked, with a whitened face, he wears a loose white blouse with large buttons and wide white pantaloons. Sometimes he appears with a frilled collaret and a hat, usually with a close-fitting crown and wide round brim, more rarely with a conical shape like a dunce's cap. But most frequently, since his reincarnation under Jean-Gaspard Deburau, he wears neither collar nor hat, only a black skullcap. The defining characteristic of Pierrot is his naïveté: he is seen as a fool, often the butt of pranks, yet nonetheless trusting.

Marcel Marceau French mime and actor

Marcel Marceau was a French actor and mime artist most famous for his stage persona, "Bip the Clown". He referred to mime as the "art of silence" and he performed professionally worldwide for over 60 years. As a Jewish youth, he lived in hiding and worked with the French Resistance during most of World War II, giving his first major performance to 3,000 troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Following the war, he studied dramatic art and mime in Paris.

<i>Children of Paradise</i> 1945 French film directed by Marcel Carné

Les Enfants du Paradis, released as Children of Paradise in North America, is a 1945 French epic romantic drama film directed by Marcel Carné. It was made during the German occupation of France during World War II. Set against the Parisian theatre scene of the 1820s and 1830s, it tells the story of a beautiful courtesan, Garance, and the four men who love her in their own ways: a mime artist, an actor, a criminal and an aristocrat.

Jean-Gaspard Deburau Bohemian-French mime (1796-1846)

Jean-Gaspard Deburau, sometimes erroneously called Debureau, was a celebrated Bohemian-French mime. He performed from 1816 to the year of his death at the Théâtre des Funambules, which was immortalized in Marcel Carné's poetic-realist film Children of Paradise (1945); Deburau appears in the film as a major character. His most famous pantomimic creation was Pierrot—a character that served as the godfather of all the Pierrots of Romantic, Decadent, Symbolist, and early Modernist theater and art.

Théâtre de lAmbigu-Comique former theatre on Boulevard Saint-Martin in Paris, France, 1828-1966

The Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique, a former Parisian theatre, was founded in 1769 on the boulevard du Temple immediately adjacent to the Théâtre de Nicolet. It was rebuilt in 1770 and 1786, but in 1827 was destroyed by fire. A new, larger theatre with a capacity of 2,000 as compared to the earlier 1,250 was built nearby on the boulevard Saint-Martin at its intersection with the rue de Bondy and opened the following year. The theatre was eventually demolished in 1966.

Boulevard du Temple boulevard in Paris, France

The Boulevard du Temple, formerly nicknamed the "Boulevard du Crime", is a thoroughfare in Paris that separates the 3rd arrondissement from the 11th. It runs from the Place de la République to the Place Pasdeloup, and its name refers to the nearby Knights Templars' Temple where they established their Paris priory.

Théâtre de la Gaîté (boulevard du Temple) former theatre on Boulevard du Temple in Paris, France, 1808-1862

The Théâtre de la Gaîté, a former Parisian theatre company, was founded in 1759 on the boulevard du Temple by the celebrated Parisian fair-grounds showman Jean-Baptiste Nicolet as the Théâtre de Nicolet, ou des Grands Danseurs. The company was invited to perform for the royal court of Louis XV in 1772 and thereafter took the name of Grands-Danseurs du Roi. However, with the fall of the monarchy and the founding of the First French Republic in 1792, the name was changed to the less politically risky Théâtre de la Gaîté. The company's theatre on the boulevard du Temple was replaced in 1764 and 1808, and again in 1835 due to a fire. As a result of Haussmann's renovation of Paris, the company relocated to a new theatre on the rue Papin in 1862, and the 1835 theatre (pictured) was subsequently demolished.

Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques former theatre company in Paris, France

The Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques was a theatre in Paris in the 19th and 20th centuries. Opened first in 1832 in the site of the old Théâtre de l'Ambigu-Comique on the Boulevard du Temple, under Frédérick Lemaître it became a noted venue for the genre of mélodrame.

Paul Legrand French mime

Paul Legrand, born Charles-Dominique-Martin Legrand, was a highly regarded and influential French mime who turned the Pierrot of his predecessor, Jean-Gaspard Deburau, into the tearful, sentimental character that is most familiar to post-19th-century admirers of the figure. He was the first of the Parisian mimes of his era to take his art abroad—to London, in late 1847, for a holiday engagement at the Adelphi—and, after triumphs in mid-century Paris at the Folies-Nouvelles, he entertained audiences in Cairo and Rio de Janeiro. In the last years of the century, he was a member of the Cercle Funambulesque, a theatrical society that promoted work, especially pantomime, inspired by the Commedia dell'Arte, past and present. The year of his death coincided with the last year of the Cercle's existence.

Charles Deburau French actor

Jean-Charles Deburau was an important French mime, the son and successor of the legendary Jean-Gaspard Deburau, who was immortalized as Baptiste the Pierrot in Marcel Carné's film Children of Paradise (1945). After his father's death in 1846, Charles kept alive his pantomimic legacy, first in Paris, at the Théâtre des Funambules, and then, beginning in the late 1850s, at theaters in Bordeaux and Marseille. He is routinely credited with founding a southern "school" of pantomime; indeed, he served as tutor to the Marseille mime Louis Rouffe, who, in turn, gave instruction to Séverin Cafferra, known simply as "Séverin". But their art was nourished by the work of other mimes, particularly of Charles's rival, Paul Legrand, and by earlier developments in nineteenth-century pantomime that were alien to the Deburaux' traditions.

Boulevard du Crime

The Boulevard du Crime was the nickname given in the 19th century to the Boulevard du Temple in Paris because of the many crime melodramas that were shown every night in its many theaters. It is notorious in French history for having lost so many theatres during the rebuilding of Paris by Baron Haussmann in 1862. Of the theatres on the boulevard, only the Folies-Mayer escaped demolition during the construction of Place de la République—solely because it was on the opposite side of the street.

La Gaîté Lyrique French recording studio, media research lab and arts centre

La Gaîté Lyrique is a digital arts and modern music centre opened by the City of Paris in December 2010, located at 3-5 rue Papin in the 3rd arrondissement.

Théâtre de la Gaîté (rue Papin) former theatre in Paris, France

In 1862 during Haussmann's modernization of Paris the Théâtre de la Gaîté of the boulevard du Temple was relocated to the rue Papin across from the Square des Arts et Métiers. The new theatre, built in an Italian style to designs of the architects Jacques-Ignace Hittorff and Alphonse Cusin, opened on 3 September.

Théâtre des Délassements-Comiques is a name that was used for a number of different theatres in Paris from 1785 to 1890.

Gilles —sometimes Gille—is a stock character of French farce and Commedia dell'Arte. He enjoyed his greatest vogue in 18th-century France, in entertainments both at the fairgrounds of the capital and in private and public theaters, though his origins can be traced back to the 17th century and, possibly, the century previous. A zanni, or comic servant, he is a type of bungling clown, stupid, credulous, and lewd—a character that shares little, problematically, with the sensitive figure in Watteau's famous portrait that, until the latter half of the 20th century, bore his name alone. Gilles fades from view in the 19th century, to persist in the 20th and 21st as the Belgian Gilles of Binche Carnival.

Cercle Funambulesque

The Cercle Funambulesque (1888-1898)—roughly translatable as "Friends of the Funambules"—was a Parisian theatrical society that produced pantomimes inspired by the Commedia dell'Arte, particularly by the exploits of its French Pierrot. It included among its approximately one hundred and fifty subscriber-members such notables in the arts as the novelist J.-K. Huysmans, the composer Jules Massenet, the illustrator Jules Chéret, and the actor Coquelin cadet. Among its successes was L'Enfant prodigue (1890), which was filmed twice, first in 1907, then in 1916, making history as the first European feature-length movie and the first complete stage-play on film.

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