A look at theatre

A collection of the Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam

Theatre and museum are two concepts that appear diametrically opposed at first instance. The play ends when the curtain falls. What remains are lifeless objects that – taken out of their original context – seem to have lost their value. Actually, however, they are most valuable: thanks to those tangible remains of theatrical performances we may today have a good understanding of what a stage looked like in the distant and not-so-distant past.

‘De Aloude Hofgallerij’ wings décor featuring a scene out of Orondates en Statira (D. Lingelbach, from J. Magnon) a couloured engraving attributed to J. Punt,, publication J. Smit.

The many thousands of prints and drawings that make up this Collection, all originating from the former Theater Instituut Nederland, give a picture of the history of Dutch theatre and the décors used in theatrical productions through the years. Discover the kinds of performances that were given in past centuries, how actors and/or dancers moved about, against what settings they played and what costumes they wore.

Examples from this collection A look at theatre

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