Théâtre de la Gaîté

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The Théâtre de la Gaîté from 1835 to 1862. Adjacent to the left is the Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques (previously Théâtre de l'Ambigu-Comique ), to the right the Théâtre des Funambules .

The Théâtre de la Gaîté (French; German theater of cheerfulness) is a former theater on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris . It was considered the epitome of the tabloid theater in the 19th and 20th centuries.

It is not to be confused with the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse , a small theater for speaking pieces that was built on Rue de la Gaîté in 1868.

First house: pantomimes

In 1759 the actor Jean-Baptiste Nicolet built a permanent theater here in the style of the show booths of the Parisian fair theater in the fight against the attempts to prevent the royally privileged Comédie-Italienne . In 1772 the theater was given permission to use the name Théâtre des Grands Danseurs du Roi (English: theater of the king's great dancers).

It had its final name since 1792. The Napoleonic theater decree in 1807 restricted it to the genre of pantomime . So it was not allowed to perform serious ballets .

Second house: melodramas

In 1808 it was rebuilt in the same place. 1825–35 was René Charles Guilbert de Pixérécourt , the great melodrama poet, director of the theater. Many popular melodramas (adventure, "cloak-and-sword" - or detective pieces) were performed here, such as Aubry's dog since 1814 . In the fire of 1835, Pixérécourt lost all of his fortune and had to give up the theater. It was rebuilt in the same place. The fire claimed 3 lives.

In the course of the enlargement of the Parisian boulevards by Georges-Eugène Haussmann , the Théâtre de la Gaîté was destroyed in 1861, like most of the theaters on the Boulevard du Temple.

Third house: operettas

The architect Alphonse Cusin built a new theater in the same year (at today's address Rue Papin No. 3–5), which took up the reputation of the older theater under the name Théâtre de la Gaîté-Lyrique (Eng. Cheerful musical theater). It became a center of Paris operetta during the Second Empire . It held 1500 spectators and had an orchestra pit for about 40 musicians. In 1873 the composer Jacques Offenbach became director, who ran it as a stock corporation with a capital of 500,000 francs. But he had to give it up in 1875.

In 1918, the impresario Sergei Djagilew's Ballets Russes celebrated their sensational success in this theater. In the 1930s, Franz Lehár's operetta The Land of Smiles was able to last for a long time. Until 1963 the theater remained a place of operetta and tabloid comedy.

After it had temporarily housed a circus school, the theater was closed in 1989 due to dilapidation and largely destroyed by its transformation into the Planète magique entertainment center .

Art center

In 2010, the city of Paris had the theater converted into an art center dedicated to digital art and contemporary music by architect Manuelle Gautrand for a total of € 85 million . The seven-story building was opened to the public on March 2, 2011.


  • Martin Banham (Ed.): The Cambridge Guide to the Theater Neuausg. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1995, ISBN 978-0-521-43437-9 .
  • Trustees of the Public Library (Ed.): Catalog of the Allen A. Brown Collection of Music, Vol. 4: Supplement . 1916 ( View at Google Books ).
  • Michel Doussot et al .: Le Petit Futé Paris sorties 2010 . Petit Futé, Paris 2009, ISBN 978-2-746-92640-0 .
  • Annegret Fauser, Mark Everist (eds.): Music, theater, and cultural transfer. Paris, 1830-1914 . The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 2009, ISBN 978-0-226-23926-2 .
  • Galignani's Illustrated Paris Guide for 1884 . Galignani, Paris ( View at Google Books).
  • Richard Langham Smith : Paris. 5. 1870-1902. (iv) Other companies . In: Sadie , 1992, vol. 3, pp. 874, 879.
  • Alicia C. Levin: A documentary overview of musical theaters in Paris, 1830–1900 . In Fauser 2009, pp. 379-402.
  • John McCormick: Popular Theaters of Nineteenth Century France . Routledge, New York 1993, ISBN 978-0-415-08854-1 .

Web links

Commons : Théâtre de la Gaîté  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Video games instead of oil paintings , in: FAZ from May 24, 2011