Shakespeare, the stuff of the world

From 14th June 2014 to 4th January 2015

Different facets of Shakespeare’s universe, from the evocation of an Elizabethan theater to the most beautiful costumes for Hamlet, are on exhibit at the Centre national du costume de scène et de la scénographie in Moulins. On the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare, the most widely performed playwright in the Western world, the exhibition Shakespeare, the stuff of the world, will transport its visitors through his most representative plays thanks to a choice of more than one hundred costumes essentially from French productions over the last century, from Mounet-Sully to the most recent stagings.

Immersion in an Elizabethan theater

The visitor begins by entering a space evocative of an Elizabethan theater. Most of Shakespeare’s plays were performed in these circular wooden theaters with stages extending far into the audience. Shakespeare’s Globe, in London is a reconstruction of one of these theaters. This institution is devoted to the performance of Elizabethan repertory in different styles, notably through reconstruction of the performance conditions of the period. Here in Moulins several costumes from the production of Richard III, designed by Jerry Tiramani in a staging by Tim Carroll are exhibited.

Twelve rooms to appreciate the diversity of the Shakespearean world

Next, the visitor is invited to explore the Shakespearean world as seen through French productions. History with a capital “H” coexists with the daily life of the people: its realities, beliefs and dreams – earthly and celestial, tragic and farcical, serious and carnivalesque, past and present. Through their costumes, all these characters, kings, queens and simple soldiers; buffoons, witches and spirits; young girls in travesty, tell their timeless stories of love and betrayal, power and liberty, quests and bereavements, successes and failures. These costumes, both historic and contemporary, sumptuous or plain, sober or extravagant, reflect the points of view that stage directors and costume designers of each era have had about Shakespeare. The costumes are also windows onto the history of stage arts: the performers who wore them were above all actors, but also singers and dancers of operas and ballets adapted from Shakespeare.

Famous names honored

Costumes worn by the most famous performers, including Gérard Desarthe as Hamlet, Robert Hirsch as Richard III and Maria Casarès as Lady Macbeth permit the visitor to discover or rediscover the most famous performances of Shakespeare’s plays, from the comedies The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Taming of the Shrew, to the tragedies King Lear and Romeo and Juliet and the historical dramas Richard III and Henry VI. This discovery is made through the presentation of costumes, stage set models and original works on loan from prestigious institutions including the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Comédie-Française, Shakespeare’s Globe in London, the Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre and the Maison Jean Vilar in Avignon. Important stage directors including Edward Gordon Craig, Charles Dullin, Ariane Mnouchkine and Patrice Chéreau; and costume designers from Charles Bianchini to Patrice Cauchetier are honored in the showcases at the CNCS, filled with unforgettable theater memories.

Costumes from the greatest productions

Productions which marked the second half of the 20th  century are also evoked. We find here the costume worn by Jean Vilar for the creation of Richard II in 1947 (Week of Scenic Arts, Avignon) as well as the crown worn by Gérard Philipe during the transmission of the same role of Richard II from Jean Vilar in 1953. The collection of the archives of the Théâtre du Soleil at the Bibliothèque national de France give us the opportunity to see ten costumes from the “Shakespeare” by Ariane Mnouchkine (1981-1984). We can admire the splendid, heavy Japanese style costumes composed of pieces superimposed on base kimonos worn by Henry IV and Richard II. The costumes by Jacques Schmidt for the production of Hamlet by Patrice Chéreau pay homage to these two great artists, whose disappearance came too soon.

Commissariat de l’exposition et direction artistique

Catherine Treilhou-Balaudé

Curator

Graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure with a degree in Modern Literature, and Professor of Theater History and Aesthetics at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Catherine Treilhou Balaudé is a specialist in Shakespeare’s reception in France, in...

Curator

Graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure with a degree in Modern Literature, and Professor of Theater History and Aesthetics at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Catherine Treilhou Balaudé is a specialist in Shakespeare’s reception in France, in theater as well as in other art forms, since the Romantic era. Her research also covers contemporary staging of the classics as well as Baroque theater and aesthetics. She is in charge of a research program on practices of rewriting in theater arts at IRET (Institute of theater research)- EA3959. She is a member of the French Shakespeare Society, responsible for relations with the theater. Her latest book publication (as collection editor): Hamlet, textual enigmas and theatrical answers, Paris, CNDP, 2012. Her latest published article: “Classic or abroad? Shakespeare at the Comédie-Française, from A Winter’s Tale to Richard III ”, Les Nouveaux Cahiers de la Comédie-Française, William Shakespeare, La Comédie-Française – L’Avant-scène théâtre, January 2014.

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Anne Verdier

Curator

Anne Verdier is Lecturer of Theater History and Aesthetics at the University of Lorraine, and president of the cultural association Studiolo-IRTS of Lorraine which supports regional theater and supplies artistic training for 1,200 social work students at the...

Curator

Anne Verdier is Lecturer of Theater History and Aesthetics at the University of Lorraine, and president of the cultural association Studiolo-IRTS of Lorraine which supports regional theater and supplies artistic training for 1,200 social work students at the Regional Institute for Social Work. Her university work centers on questions concerning stage costume. Her thesis was entitled Theater costumes, the history and poetry of theater costume in 17th century France. She has published many articles in collaboration with Didier Doumergue, including Embroidery on lace: Is the lace in the Galerie du Palais a useful ornament? (Review of the Comédie-Française, N° 31, 1999) and The Comédie-Française and the secrets of Molière’s costumes (Exhibition catalogue L’Art du costume à la Comédie-Française, 2010). She is director of two collections for the publisher Lampsaque, including “studiolo essais” devoted mainly to publications concerning theater costume. Anne Verdier has also organized two conferences on theater costume, the latest of which took place in March, 2013 at the cncs. She is a member of the Scientific and Cultural Orientation Committee at the cncs.

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Delphine Pinasa

Curator

Delphine Pinasa is director and curator of the cncs. She is an art historian, specialist in theater costume, and became delegate director of the cncs starting in 2005. She has worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Ministry of Culture and...

Curator

Delphine Pinasa is director and curator of the cncs. She is an art historian, specialist in theater costume, and became delegate director of the cncs starting in 2005. She has worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Paris Opera, where from 1993 to 2005 she was in charge of the museum collection of costumes, and then director of the Costume Patrimony department starting in 2001. Delphine Pinasa has curated many exhibitions in France and abroad and has published many works in relation to these exhibitions, including one concerning the history of stage costumes.

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Delphine Lebovici

Scenographer

Delphine Lebovici received a diploma in exhibition design from Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and is active as set designer for theater, dance and opera (A Slight Ache by Harold Pinter; Walkyrie Project at the Bonn Opera; Damier,...

Scenographer

Delphine Lebovici received a diploma in exhibition design from Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and is active as set designer for theater, dance and opera (A Slight Ache by Harold Pinter; Walkyrie Project at the Bonn Opera; Damier, Semaine de la Danse). She also works and designs for fashion shows and designers ( Jean-Paul Gaultier, Kenzo, Issey Miyake) and for museum exhibitions (Centre Pompidou, Bibliothèque national de France, Palais Garnier, Musée Guimet, Archives Nationales, Louvre Abu Dhabi). In addition, she has organized multi-media experiences leading to exhibitions, “Subjective Light and Teleportation” (Nuit Blanche 2007). Delphine Lebovici was exhibition designer for En piste! les plus beaux costumes de cirque at the cncs in 2013.

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