Théâtre National Populaire (TNP)



  • The government-supported French National People's theater.The original organization of this name, founded in 1920 by FirminGémier, occupied premises in the Paris suburb of Chaillot.When he died in 1933, the theater lay dormant until Jean Vilar,who had founded the Avignon Festival, reestablished it as 'a publicservice' in 1951. Vilar introduced a number of radical innovations,such as dispensing with the curtain, footlights, and painted scenery.The TNP's administrator, Jean Rouvet, also abolished evening dressand tipping.

    Under Vilar the TNP performed a mixed repertoire of Frenchclassics, Shakespeare, and such modern works as Brecht's MotherCourage and Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral. He was succeededin 1963 by the actor Georges Wilson, who faced dwindling audiences.In 1972 the company's title was transferred to Roger Planchon'ssubsidized provincial company at Villeurbanne, near Lyon. This has since tourednationally with a series of politically radical productions intended toexpose the social divisions in modern France. "Our job," Planchonhas said, "is to keep the wound open." In 2002 he was succeededas head of the TNP by Christian Schiuretti.