As the end of 2016 is over, it’s been a great year for theatre in the French capital. I decided to write about some of my personal highlights. I think this blog and lot of others need to talk a bit more about the art form of theatre. Some say, it’s a dying art and I find that when I go outside large cities, I am sometimes forced to agree. But 2016 in Paris was a great year to highlight good theatre in Paris.
I know that this is predominantly a tourist blog and theatre is an art form that doesn’t really translate well. I’ve always been jealous of my musician friends who can transport their art everywhere and I can never do the same with theatre. The first thing that is important to know, is that not all theatre contains words, or sometimes they only contain very few words. So, if you’re put off by the idea of loads of dialogue and you sitting in a chair not being able to understand a word, remember, that may not be the case.
Secondly, Paris has a good English theatre scene. Some amateur projects are still developing but every so often you get major shows that decide to do performances in English. This year the British productions of Oliver Twist and Mary Poppins were added to a growing list of West-End shows here.
But the best news for English theatre fans was the announcement of our own dedicated theatre festival. The festival happened in May for 4 days and was very exciting. The name is Festival International de Theatre Anglais or simply Paris Fringe in English. A similar atmosphere to what can be found in Edinburgh at the world-famous Fringe Theatre Festival. The events in Paris were also fringe. The benefit of this, is that fringe theatre is more accessible to people as it tends to be considerably cheaper that mainstream (West-End, Broadway) theatre and the venues are also less formal and thus it attracts a younger more diverse audience.
I feel confident that 2017 is going to be an even better year than 2016 (which to date, has seen marvellous breakthroughs in the English theatre scene). The best place to find out about these events is through TimeOut, but it’s important to know that TimeOut normally don’t review or advertise shows that only have a limited run or a limited budget. I find the best way to get in the loop is actually through Couch Surfing. Don’t worry, you won’t have to give your sofa up, if you don’t want to. But it’s got an events page and it’s really good and most of the stuff is in English. Music and comedy are also to be found there. Eventbrite is also a great platform to find out what’s going on. You can use location and language settings to find stuff that’s near you and affordable.