The Theatre de la Hauchette of Paris


As a Parisian institution, the Theatre de la Huchette was born in the post-war period in wild euphoria. Founded by Nicolas Batailee, Jacques Legre, Marcel Cuvelier, and Georges Vitaly, the theatre was across the river from Notre Dame, behind a side street.  It was opened during the German occupation, and this 85-seater is an intimate place.

Young Actors

With the French liberation in 1945, there was an end to the four year stagnation period of censorship, curfews, and creativity experienced under the Nazis.  Thus, during the post-war period, there was an explosion of innovation and creativity in the city. New theatres namely, the Noctambules, the Vieux Colombier, and Theatre Babylone emerged all over Paris in the bohemian Latin Quarter.

This scene during the second half of the 20th century represented symbolic creations, and young actors such as Claude Gensac, Jacqueline Maillan, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jean-Pierre Mocky, Pierre Mondy, and Monique Delaroche, made their debut.

Théâtre de la Huchette

Georges Vitaly and Marcel Pinard, drunk with their theatrical sights, passed an evening through the Latin Quarter in 1947. This was the time Vitaly, the award-winning Russian playwright, and the aspiring actor, Pinard, a drama school acquaintance tried to look for odd jobs. Their search included roles in backstage to dry cleaning work so that they could sustain their acting ambitions.

The dreams of Pinard were high for the City of Lights. Considering the intersection of interests, he put forth a proposition that asked for Pinard to rent the ground level of a building owned by his lover, for Vitaly. Vitaly in return had to agree to come up with its conversion into a play-house. This was the birth of the Theatre de la Hauchette.

The mutually beneficial partnership was profitable as well; however, Vitaly didn’t want to settle for a small set up; he made a move to Théâtre Bruyère. This did not seem to shake Pinard, who continued his work and also went ahead to change the programme which appeared to attract more prominent names.  However, February 16, 1957, was a date that marks the history as the first two pieces of Eugene Ionesco, The Bald Soprano and the Lesson were launched as a double bill. This was a huge hit which continues year after year.

Fortunately, the play that was initially meant to last for a month is being played since 1957 continuously. In fact, the small room has become a global sensation that it is seen as an unprecedented success in theatre history showing for over 61 years, airing the play continuously in the same place. The run of these two plays of Ionesco was a never-ending roaring success. With each year passing right from the opening night, the double bill of the absurdist continued playing at Theatre de la Huchette, and now it holds the Guinness World Record for running the longest show in a single venue.

Théâtre de la Huchette Auditorium

Eugene Ionesco was very grateful to the theatre as it released his two best works and it was more than a success. Besides, Théâtre de la Huchette, though small in size, holds large competitors.  Now the 85 seats are filled with audiences to watch a 62-year-old show. This roaring success is attributed to the trio Frenchman: Vitaly, Pinard, and Lonesco, who made it possible.

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