Roman Theatre, Orange, France


ORANGE. – Le Théâtre Romain.
Le Théâtre remonte au règne de l’Empereur Adrien, la Façade haute de 36 m. 82 sur une longueuer de 103 m. 15 et 4 mètres d’èpaisseur.
(The Roman Theatre
The Theater dates back to the reign of Emperor Adrian, the facade is 36 m high. 82 over a length of 103 m. 15 and 4 meters thick.)
1920s
Publisher: Levy & Neurdein Reunis, Paris (1920-1932)

Google Street View.

The Roman Theatre of Orange (French: Théâtre antique d’Orange) is a Roman theatre in Orange, Vaucluse, France. It was built early in the 1st century AD. . . . It is one of the best preserved of all Roman theatres, and served the Roman colony of Arausio (or, more specifically, Colonia Julia Firma Secundanorum Arausio: “the Julian colony of Arausio established by the soldiers of the second legion”) which was founded in 40 BC. Playing a major role in the life of the citizens, who spent a large part of their free time there, the theatre was seen by the Roman authorities not only as a means of spreading Roman culture to the colonies, but also as a way of distracting them from all political activities.

Mime, pantomime, poetry readings and the “attelana” (a kind of farce rather like the commedia dell’arte) were the dominant forms of entertainment, much of which lasted all day. For the common people, who were fond of spectacular effects, magnificent stage sets became very important, as was the use of stage machinery. The entertainment offered was open to all and free of charge.

As the Western Roman Empire declined during the 4th century, by which time Christianity had become the official religion, the theatre was closed by official edict in AD 391, since the Church opposed what it regarded at the time as uncivilized spectacles. It was probably pillaged by the Visigoths in 412, and like most Roman buildings was certainly stripped of its better stone over the centuries for reuse. It was used as a defensive post in the early Middle Ages, and by the 12th century began to be used by the Church for religious plays. During the 16th-century religious wars, it became a refuge for the townspeople. It has since been restored to its former function, primarily for opera, along side its use as a tourist spot.
Wikipedia.

The exterior façade is divided into three levels. The first comprises three doors which open out onto the stage and secondary doors which open onto the corridors or rooms that do not have access to the interior. On the second level, the wall is bare of any decoration. You can see the stone corbels which supported the roof structure and a deep groove, the remains of the anchoring for the tiles on the roof. A blind arcade on the wall embellishes the third level. With the exception of the central arch and the arches located in line with the basilicae (towers positioned each side of the stage), each has a cavity that lets light in to the passage located inside the wall. At the top, there are two rows of 43 corbels which supported the velum, a large canvas canopy that protected spectators from the sun and the rain.
Roman Theatre & Museum of Orange


ORANGE. – Théâtre Antique | Une répétition générale par les artistes de la Comédie-Française
Publisher: M. F. Beau

The stage is flanked by two towers called basilicae. These towers housed the rooms that served as foyers. During the performances, actors, chariots and scenery were gathered here ready for their entry on stage. The upper level or levels are thought to have been used as stores for the scenery and props. 61 metres wide and 13 metres deep, the stage consists of a floor resting on beams. It had trapdoors set in it enabling actors or machinery to appear as if by magic. An ingenious system of cables, winches and counterweights allowed the actors and working scenery to be hidden from the audience using a curtain that was around 3 metres high.
Roman Theatre & Museum of Orange

Read more

Chinese Theatre Hall, Singapore


The Chinese Theatre Hall, Singapore,
c.1910

The Chinese Theatre Hall at Eu Tong Sen Street was known as the Heng Wai Sun Theatre Hall. After 1922, it was known as Sing Phing Theatre Hall.
National Archives of Singapore

Some web site put the theatre Near or next to the old Thong Chai Medical Institution, which is located here (Google Maps). National Library Board of Singapore has a photo captioned “This is a photograph of shoppers walking past the square bounded by People’s Park Complex (right) and the 10-storey OG Building (left) in Chinatown. OG Building housed the OG Department Store and was built on the site of Heng Wai Sun Theatre (1930s),” which seems to be about here. While both locations are in the same general area of Eu Tong See Street, they’re about 400 metres apart. Maybe one day someone who actually knows will came by and fix it.

From Wikipedia:
Eu Tong Sen Street is named after the tycoon, Eu Tong Sen who was a miner, rubber estate and a property owner. He was one of the richest men in Malaya and Singapore, and was born in Penang, Malaya in 1877. He set up a bank known as Lee Wah Bank which catered to the Cantonese, but was merged with the United Overseas Bank due to financial issues. The road was formerly part of the expunged Wayang Street, and it received its present name in 1919 as he rebuilt the street and acquired two Chinese opera theatres, known as Heng Seng Peng and Heng Wai Sun.

If that’s the road construction shown on the postcard, then it might c.1920, but that seems a bit late.

Criterion Theatre & Esplanade, Durban, South Africa


Esplanade, showing Criterion Theatre, Durban

Google Street View

The Criterion Cinema seen in the picture was on the corner of Field Street, now Joe Slovo Street, and the Embankment. It was built as a music hall, was designed by architects Stucke and Harrison and opened on May 20, 1912. The popular Durban venue was used by a number of South African theatre companies as well as visiting companies such as the Old Vic. The Criterion is also mentioned in the 1938 Lawrie’s Directory of the Cinemas in Durban. At that time the city had a total of 11 cinemas or theatres. And entrance was 7p. It was demolished in 1953 and replaced by Bay Towers, a 12-floor block.
THEN & NOW: When it cost 7p to go to the movies

Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, Italy


NAPOLI – Teatro S. Carlo
1900s
Publisher: Adinolfi Domenico, Naples

Google Street View.

Website.

The Real Teatro di San Carlo (Royal Theatre of Saint Charles), its original name under the Bourbon monarchy but known today as simply the Teatro di San Carlo, is an opera house in Naples, Italy It is located adjacent to the central Piazza del Plebiscito, and connected to the Royal Palace. The San Carlo Theater, formerly Real Theater of San Carlo, often referred to as the San Carlo Theater, is a lyric opera in Naples, as well as one of the most famous and prestigious in the world. Overlooking the street and side streets of Trieste and Trento, the theater, in line with the other great architectural works of the period, such as the great Bourbon Bourges, was the symbol of a Naples that remarked its status as a major European capital. It is the oldest opera house in Europe and the world still active, being founded in 1737, as well as one of the most extensive Italian theaters of the peninsula. It can accommodate 1386 spectators and has a large square (22 × 28 × 23 m), five rows of horses, plus a large royal stage, a log cabin and a stage (34 × 33 m). Given its size, structure and antiquity, it has been a model for subsequent European theaters.
HiSoUR

On 13 February 1816 a fire broke out during a dress-rehearsal for a ballet performance and quickly spread to destroy a part of building. On the orders of King Ferdinand IV, another Bourbon monarch and son of Charles III, who used the services of Antonio Niccolini, Barbaia was able to rebuild the opera house within ten months. It was rebuilt as a traditional horseshoe-shaped auditorium with 1,444 seats, and a proscenium, 33.5m wide and 30m high. The stage was 34.5m deep. Niccolini embellished in the inner of the bas-relief depicting “Time and the Hour”.

On 12 January 1817, the rebuilt theatre was inaugurated with Johann Simon Mayr’s Il sogno di Partenope. Stendhal attended the second night of the inauguration and wrote: “There is nothing in all Europe, I won’t say comparable to this theatre, but which gives the slightest idea of what it is like…, it dazzles the eyes, it enraptures the soul…”. In 1844 the opera house was re-decorated under Niccolini, his son Fausto, and Francesco Maria dei Giudice. The main result was the change in appearance of the interior to the now-traditional red and gold.
Wikipedia.

San Carlo Opera House is one of the most original, logical and powerful of all theatre fronts, and a monument of Neodassicism. Its massive rustication is relieved on the lower level by garlands and heads, on the upper by a series of reliefs alluding to music and poetry. Above the balcony, in complete contrast, a graceful Ionic colonnade shields the large windows of the salon. Largeness of scale is emphasized by such details as the six-foot-high bollards.
Theatre Architecture Database