Théâtre National Populaire

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The Théâtre National Populaire in Villeurbanne

The Théâtre National Populaire (TNP) is a theater in Villeurbanne that was based in Paris until 1972 .


The Palais du Trocadéro in Paris

The theater was founded in 1920 in Paris by Firmin Gémier in the Palais du Trocadéro, which was built for the 1878 World's Fair . Gémier's intention to create a real folk theater could only partially be realized due to a lack of financial means, so that the theater was dependent on guest performances by other state theater companies.

When the Palais de Chaillot was built on the foundations of the demolished Palais du Trocadéro for the 1937 World's Fair , a theater hall with 3000 seats was available, the Théâtre national de Chaillot . In March 1939 the first play was performed here with Der Bürger als Edelmann .

From 1940 to 1951, under Pierre Aldebert, large open-air performances took place on the forecourt of the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral . In 1951 Jean Vilar took over the management of the theater. Because the Palais de Chaillot was used by the United Nations , he had plays such as Le Cid , The Prince of Homburg and Mother Courage performed in the Parisian working-class suburbs.

After returning to the Palais de Chaillot, numerous measures underlined the character of the TNP as a popular theater: Admission 6.45 p.m. with musical introduction and the possibility of inexpensive meals, no tips, free cloakroom and the start of the game at 8.15 p.m. and thus one hour earlier than in all other theaters . In addition, there were special subscription forms, visitor organizations and regular discussion events with actors and directors, which almost always ensured a full house. At the end of the season, the ensemble went to the Avignon Festival , where Vilar kept the direction of the festival after his resignation from the management of the TNP.

From 1963 to 1967 Georges Wilson was head of the TNP. In 1967 the second, 500-seat Salle Gémier room was inaugurated with pieces by Kateb Yacine and Tankred Dorst .

In 1972 the Théatre de la Cité de Villeurbanne was given the name Théâtre National Populaire , while the theater in the Chaillot Palace has been called the Théâtre National de Chaillot since then . In 1972, Roger Planchon and Patrice Chéreau were in charge of TNP in Villeurbanne, Planchon and Georges Lavaudant from 1986 to 1996 and Planchon alone from 1996 to 2002. In 2002 Christian Schiaretti took over the management of the theater.


  • Horst Schumacher (Red.): Théatre National Populaire in: Manfred Brauneck , Gérard Schneilin (Ed.): Theater Lexicon 1. Terms and epochs, stages and ensembles . Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag Reinbek near Hamburg, 5th completely revised new edition August 2007, ISBN 978-3-499-55673-9 .