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Municipal Theatre

Jacob van Campen

alias Schouwburg Van Campen, Stadsschouwburg
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)26.12.1637 | opening
Opened with a play Gijsbrecht van Aemstel by Vondel that was specially written for the occasion.
(detail)1665 | alteration
In 1665 van Campen's theatre was rebuilt by Jan Vos with a contemporary-style Italian proscenium arch flanked stage, and painted canvas scenery.
(detail)1772 | fire
This theatre burnt down in 1772.


(detail)Jacob van Campen |main architect
Dutch architect, the designer of the first theatre in Amsterdam, the Schouwburg, which opened on 3 Jan. 1638 with an historical tragedy, Gijsbrecht van Amstel, by Joost van den Vondel (q.v.). Modelled on Palladio's Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, it had an elaborate scena stabile, or permanent setting, with a balcony on each side and no proscenium arch, one ceiling covering both auditorium and stage, and a central arch reminiscent of the earlier open-air stages of the Rederijkers (q.v.). IN: Hartnoll, Phyllis, ed. The concise Oxford companion to the theatre. 1st ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.  ISBN 0-19-281102-9. p. 82 - 83


Jacob van Campen's Schouwburg of 1637 was an extraordinary combination of old and new. The auditorium had rows of boxes between pilasters (which Wren may possibly have known), but the stage was a sort of multi-locational scaenae frons, with several vestigial mansiones grouped together on an open platform without a proscenium arch, but providing space for painted fiats.

Auditorium had classical pilasters, two tiers of boxes and (most advanced of all) a spacious raked gallery at the top. In the parterre, there was standing room only. The stage  consisted of a permanent multiple set based on the Rederyker 'frontispiece' stages that were set up in the street or in courtyards. (The Rederykers were oratorical societies who held competitions in plays and recita­tions.) But painted flats in the modern kalian style could be fitted between the columns. 



In: Tidworth, Simon : Theatres: An Illustrated History. London 1973 p. 76



Author: Simon Tidworth

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