Théâtres des Boulevards

Théâtres des Boulevards


Parisian theaters located on the Grands Boulevards, which were laid out in the second half of the 17th and the 18th centuries. The first theatres des boulevards, successors to the théâtres des foires (théâtres of street fairs), dated from the mid-18th century. The most famous were the Ambigu-Comique, the Varietés Amüsantes, the Gaité, the Porte St. Martin, the Funambules, and the Renaissance.

In the 18th century the théâtres des boulevards staged pantomimes, parades (sketches performed on a balcony), harlequinades, vaudevilles, and comic operas, in which the actors ridiculed the manners of the upper classes and sympathetically depicted the common people. During the French Revolution they developed the genres of melodrama and vaudeville, and in the first half of the 19th century they reflected the people’s opposition to the ruling circles.

Outstanding actors and actresses of the democratic theater who appeared in the théâtres des boulevards included J.-B. G. Debureau, Frédérick-Lemaitre, M. Dorval, and P. Bocage. In the 20th century the théâtres des boulevards became ordinary commercial theaters.


Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vols. 2–3. Moscow, 1957–63.