Located in various districts of Greater Paris, the Guignol de Paris Théâtre continues the tradition of the original Lyon puppet show, enriched by the creativity of the Parisian fairground puppeteers.
Traditions and history of theater
The Guignol puppet theater arose at the beginning of the 19th century. in Lyon. He inherited the traditions of the fair theater, whose funny satirical performances gathered spectators in the squares of French cities on holidays.
Glove puppets for the theater and its characters were invented by the ex-Lyon weaver Laurent Murguet. In order to feed his large family, he was forced to become a furious man. The first performances were delivered to patients in order to help them escape from the unpleasant procedure ahead. Topical city news became the subjects of satirical and humorous miniatures.
Initially, the puppet theater followed the canons of the Italian commedia dell'arte, and the main positive character of the performances was Polichinelle. In 1804, L. Murguet returned from a trip to the provinces to Lyon and permanently settled in a cafe on the rue Jacques Stella (formerly Noir).
Dedicating himself entirely to the art of the puppeteer, L. Murget invented several new characters for his performances. The first of these was in 1805 a shoemaker and an admirer of the god of wine Bacchus Nyafron. He was followed by the dolls of his wife Tuanona, the gendarme Flajolet, the judge Monsieur Le Bailly, Madame Cassandra and Madlona. The most famous of the images created by the former weaver was the worker Guignol, whose name became a household name for the entire theater.
After the death of the founder of the theater, his children successfully continued his work. In 1852, the puppet theater moved to a free-standing building, which housed it for several decades. His performances on topical topics turned out to be so unpleasant for the official authorities that under Louis Napoleon, the Guignol Theater was on the list of 13 theaters to be closed.
After the fall of the Second Empire, the Guignol Theater was revived. Its manager was Pierre Rousset, who wrote several plays for the theater. Despite some success, it was closed in Lyon in 1875.
Guignol theaters in Paris
The year 1892 can be considered a new page in the history of the Guignol Theater, when the Guignol Theater Anatole was set up in a small pavilion in the Parisian Parc des Buttes Chaumont by the puppeteer Emile Labelle. In 1999, this building was badly damaged during a hurricane, but a year later it was completely restored while maintaining the architectural style of the beginning of the last century. Its small room with comfortable red armchairs is open from early April to mid-October.
The theater's repertoire includes puppet plays in accordance with the Lyon tradition (Dungeon of the Old Castle, Three Wishes), performances by Parisian puppeteers (The Devil's Visit, Michel's Mother's Well) and productions based on classical and modern literary tales (The Spells of Asinius , "Dragon of the Forest", "Puss in Boots", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Little Tom"). Along with traditional performances, its stage has become a venue for various fairy-tale shows and concerts.
For young spectators, the theater offers several entertainment programs for birthday parties. The holiday includes a cake tasting, a puppet animation show with an original script and a gift in the form of a unique poster with author's photographs.
Since 2003, the Guignol Puppet Theater in Bouttes-Chamon has been run by Stéphane Delaby's company Eure et Loir, which also owns the Guignol Theater in the Chanteraines park in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, which is open all year round. Founded in 2015, Fabrice Frisset's Guignol Park Sceaux theater in Anthony was added in 2015.
Address: 1 Rue Botzaris, Paris 75019
Phone: + 33 6 98 99 66 24
Bus: Botzaris - Buttes Chaumont