Museum & Galleries

Port Louis Theatre

Mauritius / Africa

For two centuries, the Port Louis theatre has been a delight for Mauritians of all ages and communities.  The theatre opened in 1822, making it one of the first theatres built in the southern hemisphere.  The first British Governor, Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar (1776-1830), was responsible for the creation of this superb theatre.  He chose the French architect, Poujade, to undertake its construction.  Strangely, despite British rule, French plays were played exclusively for a long time; undoubtedly a means for Britain to reassure the population of settlers of French origin.  The inaugural pieces were presented by a troupe of local amateurs.  It was Henri IV’s Hunting Party, a comedy, and House for Sale, a comic opera.  In the following decades, the Port Louis Theatre became the centre of Mauritian social life.  The performances were almost always in front of a full room.  Throughout the 20th century, the theatre continued to ride this wave of popularity.  Several great names in Mauritian literature have seen their pieces presented, whether they were staged operas, comedies, or dramas. For example, two notable plays were Judas and The Land of Smiles.

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