Jacques Copeau

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Copeau, Jacques


Born Feb. 4,1879, in Paris; died Oct. 20, 1949, in Beaune, department of Cote d’Or. French stage director, actor, and theater figure.

Copeau studied in the department of language and literature at the Sorbonne and became a literary and dramatic critic. In 1913 he founded the Théâtre de Vieux Colombier in Paris, which he directed until 1924 (he worked in the USA from 1917 to 1919). Copeau presented plays by Moliere (The Miser, 1913, and Les Fourberies de Scapin, 1917), Shakespeare (Twelfth Night, 1914), Goldoni, Gozzi, Gogol, and Merimée, as well as contemporary drama—for example, Remains’ Cromedeyre-le-vieil (1920) and S. S. Tenacity (1920) and Michel Auclair (1922) by Vildrac.

Copeau wanted to create profound, poetic productions, advocated edifying, ethical interpretations of art, and decried the crass mediocrity of the commercial theater. He opened a drama school in 1915. His views on the art of acting and his system of teaching in many ways resembled Stanislavsky’s. His own best performances were in roles that were infused with irony (Jaques in As You Like It by Shakespeare) or intense philosophical in-sight (Ivan Karamazov in his adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov ). Between 1936 and 1940 he worked in the Comédie Françhise.

Copeau was the author of the plays Morning Fog (1897) and Native Home (1924). One of the founders of modern French theater, Copeau influenced such actors as L. Jouvet, C. Dullin, J. Villar, J.-L. Barrault, and A. Barsacq.


Souvenirs du Vieux-Colombier. Paris, 1931.
Notes sur le métier de comedien. Paris, 1955.


Kurtz, M. Jacques Copeau. Paris [1950].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
There is a full discussion of the play's performance history with images from six different productions, from the earliest in 1913 (directed by Jacques Copeau) to the National Theatre production in 2011 (directed by Katie Mitchell).
After his short engagement at the Theatre des Arts, Dullin joined Jacques Copeau at the Vieux-Colombier in 1913.
No se pasa por alto la estrecha relacion entre Valle, Manuel Azana y Rivas Cherif, ni la admiracion de este ultimo por el ambiente teatral parisino, las avanzadas propuestas escenograficas de Gordon Craig, y, especialmente, el dramaturgo frances Jacques Copeau, que las puso en practica.
His graduates then carry with them into their future creative lives "various references recognized in the body," as Lecoq states--references that include clowning, commedia, character mask work (as first developed by Jacques Copeau), melodrama, even Greek tragedy.
of California, Irvine) examines the ideas and theories of Andre Antoine, Jacques Copeau, Michel Saint-Denis, Elia Kazan, Uta Hagen, David Mamet, Anne Bogart, and Keith Johnstone.
Born in 1897, Saint-Denis was greatly influenced by his uncle, the producer and critic Jacques Copeau. With Copeau's assistance, Saint-Denis in 1930 set up the Compagnie des Quinze, which performed to great acclaim across Europe.
Champion treaded the boards with theater greats Jacques Copeau, Jean Daste, Jean Vilar and Georges Pitoeff before embarking on a film career.
Artistic ventures such as Jacques Copeau's Theatre du Vieux-Colombier (1913-1924), Charles Dullin's Atelier (1921-1939), and Gaston Baty's Compagnons de la Chimere (from 1921), provided a forum for practical exploration of the value of scenic modes of expression.