The Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles was founded in Brussels in 1945 by decree of the prince regent, at the initiative of Jacques Huisman, a Belgian actor and director. The latter wanted to encourage interest in high-quality theatre, raise awareness of Belgian theatre both here and abroad, and showcase national actors.
For a long time the National Theatre was associated with the Centre Rogier building, to which it moved in 1961. When it was decided to demolish the Centre in 1999, the theatre had to find a provisional home and opted for the old Pathé Palace cinema, located on Boulevard Anspach/Anspachlaan. A new building would soon come into being, designed by the architectural firm Escaut, Sca Architectes Associés and Atelier Gigogne.
The new theatre was inaugurated on 16 November 2004. Located along a large urban boulevard, the heavily-glazed structure aims to integrate with the surrounding buildings. The architects worked based on an alternation between “transparency and opacity, like a veil cast over the mysteries of the performing arts”.
They designed three auditoriums: the largest, which is adaptable, seats 750; the small auditorium, which seats 250, encourages a closer relationship between spectators and actors; and the third auditorium, the Studio, seating around 150, is ideal for performances intended for an even more restricted group.
The National Theatre puts on offer a particularly extensive agenda (theatre, dance, music, festivals, exhibitions, etc.) that gives it an excellent reputation far beyond Belgium.
More information: urban.brussels
Architectes: sca Architectes Associés sprl, l'Atelier Gigogne (P. Van Assche) et l'Escaut (O. Bastin)