discovering the toone theatre in brussels: part two

Above: posters from past Toone productions and from puppet companies all around the world line the stairwell to the theatre.

On our first visit to the theatre, we somehow inadvertently found ourselves caught up in a celebration during which new ‘Chevaliers’… philanthropists from the Brussels business community who help to support the theatre financially… were being invested. I think we were the only ones present who weren’t a part of the proceedings, but we were made welcome and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Though we couldn’t follow the speeches, we laughed at the jokes and applauded these wonderful people with great gusto. The young man in the blue sweater with the shining smile… third from the left in the back row… is Nicholas Géal, the current proprietor of the Toone. Nicholas took over the responsibilities of the theatre from his father José, who had cared for it for forty years. Nicholas’ official title is ‘Toone VIII’, and he was ‘enthroned’ in 2003.

Above: from the rafters of the auditorium hang scores of puppets from the Toone repertoire of plays, and it’s interesting to share the space with such an interesting audience.

Below: between the performance and the investiture of the new Chevaliers, we were able to spend more time in the bar/museum with retired members of the Toone company.

In the next Toone instalment, I’ll be posting images of the performance of The Passion.

6 thoughts on “discovering the toone theatre in brussels: part two

  1. Pingback: Puppet Catch-up: Clive’s Posts | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. Pingback: discovering the toone theatre in brussels part three: the performance | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  3. Pleasantly bewildered by all the new images of Toone and “The Soldier’s Tale.” What riches… Think I told you that I have a (once much-used) coppery dragon (painted wood with some rubbery spines) that Mike brought back from the Hanoi water puppet theatre. I suppose in Asia there may be many historic puppet theatres that still perform traditional plays…

  4. What an extraordinary place, there can’t be many theatres lie this in the whole world, must have been difficult to prise yourself away

    • It’s clearly a cherished survival, due in no small part to the ‘Chevaliers’ support. There are precious few ‘historic’ puppet theatres still performing traditional repertoires on a regular basis, and as such the Toone is a rarity.

      I’m not sure about having prised myself away from it. I think I left a bit of myself behind!

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