Bourla Theater & Lounge, Antwerp

4 out of 5 stars 25 Reviews

Komedieplaats 18, 2000 Antwerpen

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  • Bourla Theater & Lounge
    by mvtouring
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    Bourla Theatre
    by Helga67
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    by dila
  • tompt's Profile Photo

    Restored to its old splendor

    by tompt Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Bourla Theatre, Antwerp

    The Bourla Theatre is worth visiting whether you are going to a performance or not. The building looks great from the outside and inside. This theatre is from the 19th century and has 900 seats. Pierre Bourla, from Paris, became the cities architect in 1819. He designed the new theatre in 1834 it opened.

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    De Bourlaschouwburg

    by mvtouring Written Jul 5, 2009

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    The Bourla theatre is a late classical building. The building is crowned by nine life size statues portraying the Muses and the 17 busts of playwrights and composers such as Mozart & Shakespeare. The teatre seasts 1100.

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    Bourla - Antwerp opera house turned theater

    by KenBel Updated Feb 16, 2007

    The Bourla building was originally the Opera Building of Antwerp and was constructed very little time after Belgium's independence in 1830.

    Until today, all original wooden mechanics above and beneath the stage are still used.

    Originally, the roof was partly open, the rich were seated on the balconies (in a half circle, as most of the upperclass didn't go to the opera to see and listen to the opera, if not to watch the other upperclassers and who they were with) while the lowerclass had to stand in the middle (now there are chairs, before there weren't) and since the roof was open, their comfort depended greatly on the weather situation, as you can imagine! Also the center - lower - part of the public's area was used as trash can by the upperclassers ... Scenes that are hard to imagine when seeing the Bourla's interior nowadays.

    Try contacting the Bourla using the email address below, they sometimes do guided visits ... I went on one once, and it was quite impressive !!! Or if you can go see a play here, I can very much recommend it!! I am a regular myself ...

    The lounge bar/restaurant on the first floor is very beautifull, but also very pricy ... if your budget is limited, you'd better not have lunch or dinner here ...

    Just outside the main entrance, there is a pedestrians street to the right with a few bars ... the bar called "Van Gogh" is where the actors from the "Toneelhuis", the theater company stationed in the Bourla Theater, go and have a drink after a night's performance ... Its cosy and dark atmosphere is ideal for a few late-night beers!!
    For a breakfast, lunch or early dinner close to the Bourla theater, I would recommend you go to the Schuttershofstraat - the short pedestrian street leading away from the triangular plaza in front of the Theater will take you there, take a right and you'll see a place called 'Tiramisu' on your left ... Try the Banana Croque!!! Delicious!!

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    LOCAL LIFE - Bourla theater...

    by belgianchocolate Updated Dec 20, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    in style


    -to watch the amazing interior of the foyer (the
    café of the theater)
    -to eat one of the delicious dishes (I love
    the 'bouchéé a la reine' 10 euro)
    -to have afternoon tea and sweets (in the
    weekend - as much as you can eat buffet)
    -to feel really royal , take a suite and go see a
    play.
    -to run in and take some folders on
    exhibitions , plays..
    -drink a can of tea and relax a little bit.

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    Bourla theater

    by Norali Updated Feb 25, 2004

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    Bourla theater or French theater

    Bourla theatre used to be named “Theatre Royal Francais” and was namely designed for the French-speaking bourgeoisie of Antwerp. This was following its building by Pierre Bruno Bourla. Works had been from 1829 to 1834.

    Worth noticing: the whole area is designed for performance arts since it abonds in theaters. It's not by chance that Bourla stands on the Comedieplaats... and that the area was nicknamed Antwerp "Quartier Latin", meaning a haven of bohemian intellectualism. This was the place where to socialize in the evening, to see and to be seen.

    Since 1938, Bourla theatre is classified as monument.

    Early 1980's, it was almost demolished when Bob Cools, then Antwerp mayor, rejected the idea of real estate promoters to tear premices down... and build parking lots instead (!). Works started in 1980. Five years of refurbishing works and admire this wonderful building.

    At its entry, a little peristyle for carriages. It aimed at allowing carriages to "deliver" beautiful people... Thus, prevent ladies from having their clothes soaking wet when it rains.

    When visiting the building, don't limit yourself to outside architecture. Go inside to admire setting. De Foyer, a Viennese café at second-floor is worth a glance. See following tips to know more of De Foyer.

    The main activity is theater, of course, and it still houses performances.

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    Back in old times, hear the gossips from here

    by Norali Updated Jul 3, 2003

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    Listen and watch, SPY!

    "Hear the gossips from here"...

    Rather say "Create and spread gossips from here". This balcony (enlarge the picture, please) is the place to be if you would want to see "who" went to the theater... and especially "with whom". For ladies, it was interesting (rather say "entertaining") to notice fashionable clothes of the beautiful people.

    From its height, you would have a view on the tea-room.

    Hmmm... I would like to have been the then local Edith Wharton...

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    De Foyer setting

    by Norali Updated Jul 3, 2003

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    A pleasure for the eyes

    This is a must-see one... Really!

    When visiting the building, don't limit yourself to outside architecture. Go inside to admire setting. De Foyer, a Viennese café at second-floor is worth a glance.

    I had fun taking pictures of the several parts of De Foyer room. This is the view from the entry: a breathtakingly gorgeous ceiling.. (More superlatives!!)

    I admit that this should be one of places I like in winter: cozy, majestic... perfect for sipping hot beverages... See following tips to know more of De Foyer.

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    De Foyer, the counter

    by Norali Updated Jul 3, 2003

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    A place in the shadow...

    I could not resist.. another picture of the room with its amazing wood counter. Again, this is a must-see one... Really!

    Again, when visiting the building, don't limit yourself to outside architecture. Go inside to admire setting. De Foyer, a Viennese café at second-floor is worth a glance.

    I have seen very few cafés with such setting. Quite every piece of furniture, wall, glass and mirror is worth shooting.

    I admit that this should be one of places I like in winter: cozy, majestic... perfect for sipping hot beverages... a perfect shelter to escape sticky hot summer afternoons. I will return in Antwerp, at least for that... at least for "Fatale vrouwen- Femmes fatales" exhibition... at least for some beer at laid-back yet cozy pubs and terraces... *sigh* At least, at least....

    See following tips to know more of De Foyer.

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  • Norali's Profile Photo

    Shakspeare, you said?

    by Norali Updated Jul 3, 2003

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    Shakspeare

    Well, I haven't seen it and I don't know whether it should be in Off the beaten path tips or should be listed here...

    On top of the building, there is this kind of fresca made of series of author's portraits, French and foreigners alike... Molière, Racine and even composers like Mozart... and even Shakspeare (!).

    Sheikspear, Sheckspeer, Shakespeare, Shakspear, Shakespear... Choose yours but don't miss it! :-)

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  • martin_nl's Profile Photo

    The Bourla theatre

    by martin_nl Updated May 6, 2003

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    La Bourla

    This is also called the French opera. Since the French didn't understand any of the opera's in the Flemish opera, since the spoken language there was is dutch only, they decided to build their own opera building. It's a stunning piece of architecture, even though it doesn't look as dramatic as the Flemish one, it's still beautifully made.

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    The Bourla interior

    by martin_nl Written May 6, 2003

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    Dome in the Bourla theatre

    Not only the facade of the Bourla theatre looks great, also the interior.

    On this picture you can see the dome from the inside. All the details look amazing. It's a bit church like, but then a very beautiful church.

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    BOURLA THEATRE

    by Helga67 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Bourla Theatre

    The Bourla theatre is a late-classical building. Pierre Bourla, the master builder of the city, drafted the plans in 1827 for his 'Grand Theatre'. The building is crowned with nine life-sized statues portraying the Muses and the 17 busts of playwrights and composers such as Moliere, Mozart, Shakespeare, etc.
    In the 'Foyer', beautifully restored back in 1993, you can have a drink or a little thing to eat.

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    • Theater Travel

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  • For those who like to go to...

    by malejka Written Sep 12, 2002

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    For those who like to go to the theater, don't miss 'de Bourla' a beautiful theater as well at the outside as at the inside. On top of the building you can see several statues of important people in the world of theater, like for example Molière.
    The inside is splendid!!! But I don't think you can just go in there and admire it. I guess you will have to buy a ticket for a play, which are unfortunately always in Dutch as far as I know... .

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    At the Leopoldstraat, you will...

    by Ronald_T Written Sep 12, 2002

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    At the Leopoldstraat, you will see the restored facade of the Bourla Theatre. The municipal town planner Pierre Bourla projected this 'Theatre Royal' in 1834. For more then a century opera and drama performed here for the French speaking Antwerp bourgeoisie and then the Koninklijke Nederlandse Schouwburg (Royal Dutch Theatre) moved in. You can visit a Dutch web page to seethe program on: http://www.toneelhuis.be/hth/homepagina?action=index

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    the Bourlatheatre

    by catnl Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Bourla-theater Antwerpen

    During the VT meeting Danielle guided us through this beautifull theatre.
    She knows a lot about Antwerpen and she explained many about the Bourla. More info u will find on the url below.

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