About the Theatre
Theatre, dance, young audience, circus, exhibitions
The Théâtre de Liège is one of the Centres Scéniques de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Belgium). To this designation can also be added Centre européen de création théâtrale et chorégraphique (European Centre for theatre and choreography), relating to its role in theatrical and contemporary dance productions and their diffusion for local, regional and international audiences.
Since the arrival of Serge Rangoni at its head in 2004, the Institution has developed considerably, presenting each season around forty shows of which ten or so are new works.
The rich and varied programme brings to the stage productions of great theatre directors and Belgian and foreign choreographers, actors of international renown (Isabelle Huppert, Mélanie Laurent, Emmanuelle Béart, Toni Servillo, Denis Podalydès…) as well as emerging artists, witnesses of today’s culture and ambassadors of tomorrow’s.
Every other year, alongside the “seasonal” programme, the Théâtre de Liège makes Liège the town move to the beat of the Émulation festival, for young, francophone Belgian companies, who bring their freshness and (im)pertinence to different parts of the city.
Adding to these discoveries is the international biennial “Pays de Danses, a journey through all forms of international contemporary choreography (Batsheva Dance Company, Eun-Me Ahn Dance Company, Constanza Macras, Virgilio Sieni, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, …).
The seasons are also marked by two other major rendezvous:
- The IMPACT Festival, which is dedicated to the link between the performing arts and new technologies, and takes place in the context of the cooperation of the sectors of culture, research, training and corporate (the Théâtre de Liège has established a Corporate partners club, which currently includes 17 companies, that provide support to the artistic and educational development of our institution).
- The festival Corps de Textes, which is dedicated to all kinds of literature, and which takes place all over the city.
The Théâtre de Liège, situated at the heart of the Euregio-Meuse-Rhine and the Grande Région, transcends borders through its collaborations with prestigious international institutions such as the Festival d’Avignon, the Théâtres Nationaux de la Colline and de Chaillot from Paris, the Theatres of Luxembourg, Maastricht, Hasselt, and the National Theatre of Korea, and co-productions with today’s great directors and choreographers (Krzysztof Warlikowski, Christine Letailleur, La Tristura, Ivo van Hove, Pippo Delbono…).
Its active participation in a wide range of European projects has strengthened its position in the international theatre spectrum alongside such famous places as the Schaubühne in Berlin, the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, The São Luiz Teatro Municipal in Lisbon, the Gothenburg City Theatre, the Onassis Foundation in Athens, …
The Théâtre de Liège is involved in the associate production of a wide range of artists’ shows from the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles or supports them in their development (Anne-Cécile Vandalem, Selma Alaoui, Antoine Laubin, Ayelen Parolin, Claudio Bernardo, Mercedes Dassy…); by co-producing the work of foreign artists, access to the international stage, which benefits those Belgian artists supported by the theatre, is also made possible.
The Théâtre de Liège welcomes 14 partner-artists (from 2018 to 2022) in the fields of theatre, danse, circus, young audience and authors:
- Selma Alaoui
- Rachid Benzine
- Salvatore Calcagno
- Carré Curieux
- Le Collectif Mensuel
- Axel De Booseré et Maggy Jacot
- Aurore Fattier
- Thomas Hauert
- Les Karyatides
- Ayelen Parolin
- Tatjana Pessoa
- Claude Schmitz
- UBIK Group
- Louise Vanneste
Though the performing arts remain the priority within its programme – theatre and dance, mostly – the Théâtre de Liège also regularly hosts, in its “salle des Pieds légers” gallery, exhibitions of contemporary art, in collaboration with museums and art centres, or with Belgian collections. On the occasion of the different festivals or one-off events, specific exhibitions highlighting the work of one artist in particular can also take place there.
With an audience of 65,000 and more than 250 performances for 40 to 60 shows a season, the Théâtre de Liège is today the leading stage in Wallonia and has a team of about sixty permanent staff including skilled workers in the costume and set design workshops.
A jewel of Liège’s heritage
In 1779, the Prince-Bishop de Velbrück created the Société libre d’Émulation, whose vocation was to cultivate the arts, sciences and humanities.
L’Émulation – the building where this learned society used to meet – prospered through the years until 20 August 1914 when, due to German reprisals, the building was totally destroyed.
L’Émulation was rebuilt in 1939 by Julien Koenig, employing a neoclassical design while using contemporary techniques. Sixty years later, the building, left unoccupied, was in an advanced state of decay. Classified as a monument in 1998, it was placed on the list of monuments in peril. In 2000, it was decided to restore l’Émulation and to establish the Théâtre de Liège here, “temporarily” installed at Place de l’Yser.
The Liège architects Pierre Hebbelinck and Pierre de Wit were in charge of the building’s conversion, and it was inaugurated on October 2013.
Favouring wood, concrete and glass, the Théâtre de Liège consists of a total area of 7,800 m2 combining neoclassicism and contemporary design. Columns, mouldings and gilding sit alongside Vitra furniture by Jean Prouvé, the famous French designer, to create a stripped-down but warm atmosphere.
The architecture is punctuated with a textual intervention from the Liège visual artist-performer Patrick Corillon whose magic words animate the entire building.
- The large stage : Salle de la Grande Main / 557 seats
- The small stage : Salle de l’Œil vert / 145 seats on a retractable tier
- The exhibition room : Salle des Pieds légers
- The rehearsal studio : Salle des Nouvelles Têtes
Equipped with two stages, an art gallery as well as a rehearsal studio, the Théâtre de Liège also provides welcoming communal spaces for its audiences: a bar – le café des arts on the ground floor – and a restaurant in the magnificent rooms on the 2nd floor.
These spaces, places where the public can go to relax and enjoy themselves, are also perfectly adapted for all kinds of receptions, events or private evening parties.