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Routes Follow European Theatre

By Linda Tancs

The Culture Programme of the European Union sponsors a European Route showcasing the European architectural aspects of theatre buildings around the EU.  First to open was the German Route in 2007, exploring German theatrical architecture from the 17th to 19th centuries, including the half-timbered summertime theatre in Neubrandenburg, Frederick the Great’s private theatre in Potsdam, Gotha’s palace theatre and the much-copied 19th-century style playhouse in Meiningen.

A recent addition to the theatre trail is the Nordic Route, celebrating the historic theatres of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  Visitors to Sweden will enjoy the theatre barn, a staple of Swedish cultural traditions, the oldest of its kind located in Hedemora.  Historic stage sets and props await visitors to Halden, Norway, site of an Empire-style theatre built by townspeople in the 19th century.  Saved from demolition in the 20th century, the Elsinore Theatre in Aarhus, Denmark is the oldest playhouse in the country preserved in its original form.

By 2009, five routes will connect culturally significant properties from Italy to Norway.  The three additional routes to open are the Italian Route, the Emperor Route (covering Austria and the Czech Republic) and the Channel Route (linking the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK).  Novelist Oscar Wilde regarded the theatre as the greatest of all art forms.  See if you agree.

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