Port Louis – The Municipal Theatre – 1960s

Port Louis - Jules Koenig Street - The Municipal Theatre - 1960s

Port Louis – Jules Koenig/Remy Ollier Street – The Municipal Theatre – 1960s

The Port Louis Municipal Theatre is one of the oldest theatres and playhouses of the southern hemisphere. Talking about the history behind, Joseph Laglaine, health officer on board a french warship, was the first who thought of bringing a troupe to perform in Mauritius, at that time, Isle de France. The troupe landed in Port Louis on the 20th of April 1790 but unfortunately due to the smallpox epidemy of 1792 the troupe was disbanded. Even this, Joseph Laglaine did not give up. With the surviving members and a few amateurs artists, Laglaine managed to stage a few presentations in the newly finished ‘Salle de Spectacle’ in the Company’s Garden. The place however was destroyed in the cyclone of 1818 and Laglaine again rose up to the situation, sensitising the public to the need of a new theatre.

The theatre stood on a plot of land conceded by General Hall, acting Governor in the absence of Sir Robert Farquar. The land was situated on the site occupied for nearly half a century by the old market which was burnt down in the Great Fire of 1816. The first stone of the new theatre was laid on 27 September 1820 by Governor Farquar in a Freemason ritual. The construction works were entrusted to architect Pierre Poujade and artist Pierre Etienne Thuillier worked on the architectural finish and the interior decorations of the new theatre.

The theatre was inaugurated on the 11th of June 1822. Unfortunately, until the late 1980s or early 1990s the Theatre was left unmaintained to the point it became difficult to manage. The Government didn’t bother much about its country’s history and patrimony and didn’t cater for its renovation and maintenance. Theoritically it is said that huge amounts were invested in its upbringing but still the final output wasn’t reached. The theatre is believed to be an abandoned patrimonial building, but fortunately there is still hope for its revival.

Port Louis - Municipal Theatre - Remy Ollier Street - 2013

Port Louis – Municipal Theatre – Remy Ollier Street – 2013

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