The Théâtre des Célestins in the heart of Lyon is directed by Claudia Stavisky and Pierre-Yves Lenoir, and is one of the city’s major cultural institutions as well as being an iconic monument. The first building, dating back to 1792, was erected on the remains of a monastery belonging to the Celestine order. The theatre boasts a rich and distinguished cultural history: alongside the Comédie Française and Théâtre de l’Odéon, it is one of very few theatres in France to have presided over more than two centuries of the performing arts.
The Théâtre des Célestins re-opened in 2005 after two years of renovation work. The original splendour of the 1881 building by Gaspard André was restored, meaning the theatre could take its place as one of Europe’s most beautiful – and most advanced – Italian-style theatres. In addition to the spacious auditorium with room for 700, the theatre now has a second 135-seat auditorium, the Célestine, that can be adapted to cater for different events. The Théâtre des Célestins is a national heritage site, and has recently been included in France’s Route of Historic Theatres.
The Théâtre des Célestins is an innovative, outward-looking production company. It has a growing number of partnerships across Europe, and its invitees include not just the top international stars but also new talent. Its programme is driven by the constant quest for artistic excellence, offering a combination of key works from France’s classical tradition and the most modern theatrical productions. This diverse artistic perspective reflects the wealth and breadth of the theatre, meaning there is something for people of every age and taste.
The programme at the Théâtre des Célestins is decidedly eclectic, and is geared as much towards newcomers as the already-converted. In fact, access to culture and the theatre for everyone has been a big part of the project at the Célestins since 2001. Various initiatives encourage as many people as possible to discover the vitality of the theatre in all its forms, with special emphasis on contemporary work: 50% discounts for young people, cultural mediation activities, meetings with performers, courses and workshops devoted to artistic practice.