Rotterdam theater playbills (1791-1887)

A collection of the Stadsarchief Rotterdam

Hocus Pocus, 1796

Theater and music are forms of entertainment that have been around since time immemorial. Even tough they were well-established expressions of art in the Netherlands, an official theatre with professional actors was for a long time strictly reserved to Amsterdam, the capital. It was not until the eighteenth century that playhouses began to be built in the southern province of Holland, namely in the cities of The Hague and Leiden. 1773 saw the erection of Rotterdam’s first real playhouse on the Coolsingel, which was then a canal. The building was rebuilt in 1853, but torn down again as early as 1886, when the Groote Schouwburg (Grand Theatre) was constructed on Aart van Nesstraat in the city centre.

This collection presents over 9,000 Rotterdam theater bills, dating back to the years 1791-1887, the Golden Age of the first theatre in the city on the River Meuse. All these bills belong to the archives of the Vereeniging Rotterdamsche Schouwburg (Rotterdam Theatre Association), nowadays entrusted to the Rotterdam Municipal Archives. The bills are highly interesting, not only from a typographic point of view, but also because they give a good impression of the socio-cultural developments during the 19th century in the Netherlands in general and in Rotterdam in particular.

Examples from this collection Rotterdam theater playbills (1791-1887)

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