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Hôtel de Bourgogne

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1548 | construction

(detail)1783 | closure


No French theatre in the least resembling that of Vicenza, however, was ever built (in the 16th century). The reason was partly the monopoly still held by the old Confrerie de la Passion. At the beginning of the fifteenth century this semi-professional company moved into indoor quarters in the Hopital de la Trinite. This meant squeezing their mansiones on to a narrow stage and possibly in two storeys. It must have looked rather like the Cologne Laurentius. In 1548, they moved again to a specially converted room in the ruins of the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, and this hall, the so-called Hotel de Bourgogne, saw the whole transition of French drama from medieval to modern. The confraternity was forbidden to act religious plays in that very year but they retained the theatre and licensed it to visiting companies. The monopoly lasted until 1671. Drawings of many seventeenth-century sets used in the Hotel de Bourgogne have survived. They show the influence of Serlio, but also keep some of the conventions of the old multi-location sets. There was almost certainly no proscenium arch.


In: Tidworth, Simon: Theatres: An Illustrated History. London 1973 p. 59- 60


The first and most important theatre of Paris and one of the components of the later Comedie-Francaise. It was built by the Confrerie de la Passion  in the ruins of the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, and was ready for occupation in 1 548; but in the same year the company was forbidden to act religious plays. Deprived of the greater part of their repertory, they did what they could with farces and secular romances but gradually lost their audiences and were glad to hire out the hall to travelling companies from the French provinces. The first more or less permanent company to occupy the theatre was that of the provincial actor-manager Valleran-Lecomte, usually known as the King's Players. The hall was sometimes let to rival French or visiting Italian companies, but the King's Players gradually asserted their pre-eminence until in 1634 Montdory established a rival theatre in the Marais. His early retirement again left the Hotel de Bourgogne, under Floridor and Mont-fleury, in an unchallenged position until the arrival of Moliere in 1658. Many of the outstanding plays of the seventeenth century, with the exception of Corneille's Le Cid, were first seen at the Hotel de Bourgogne, until in 1680 the company was finally merged with other actors to form the Comedie-Francaise, which moved to a theatre in the rue Guenegaud, while the stage of the Hotel de Bourgogne was occupied intermittently by the Italian actors until 1783.


In: Hartnoll, Phyllis, ed. The concise Oxford companion to the theatre. 1st ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.   ISBN 0-19-281102-9. p. 256




Authors: Simon Tidworth, Hartnoll Phyllis

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