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.
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.
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!!
-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
-to run in and take some folders on
exhibitions , plays..
-drink a can of tea and relax a little bit.
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.
"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...
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.
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.
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! :-)
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.
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.
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.