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Royal Theatre Carré (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

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Royal Theatre Carré

Royal Theatre Carré

The Royal Theatre Carré (Dutch: Koninklijk Theater Carré) is a Neo-Renaissance theatre in Amsterdam, located near the river Amstel. When the theatre was founded in 1887, it was originally meant as a permanent circus building. Currently, it is mainly used for musicals, cabaret performances and pop concerts.

German circus director Oscar Carré, looking for a location for circus performances in the winter, opened Circus Carré on 3 December 1887. In the beginning, it was just a wooden building with a stone façade. In the first years, it was only in use in the winter, but from 1893 on, Dutch theatre producer Frits van Haarlem brought vaudeville shows in the summer months. The shows became very successful, thus changing the circus building to a theatre for all forms of popular entertainment. In 1920, it changed its name to Theater Carré.

In the early 20th century the building was mainly used for vaudeville and revue shows, occasionally Italian operas and operettas. Dutch stars like Lou Bandy and Louis Davids and international celebrities like Josephine Baker and the clown Grock performed here.

After the Second World War, revues and winter circuses remained popular. In 1956, Carré introduced musical theatre to the Netherlands with Porgy and Bess. The one-man show followed in 1963, when Toon Hermans gave his first solo cabaret show. At the end of the 1960s, the theatre was in danger of being demolished. After protests from artists, the municipality of Amsterdam finally refused permission for demolition. In 1977 the municipality bought the building. In 1987, at the centenary, the Royal Predicate was granted and the name was changed to Koninklijk Theater Carré. In 2004, the theatre was completely renovated. The historic façade and interior design have been retained.

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