Theatres in Mauritius
July 31 2019
July 31 2019
Famous for its island holiday allure, Mauritius is a truly spectacular destination, one that far surpasses its mesmerizing natural assets. A rich melting pot of cultures, a vivid and fascinating history, and novel experiences put this destination in a league of its own, with clear influences from parts of Asia, Africa and Europe evident in the architecture, music, food and many more amazing elements of this gorgeous island nation.
Among the things that colonialists introduced to Mauritius was Western arts and theatre. Origins of theatres in Mauritius can be traced back to the French but it was said to be the British that really bolstered the theatre scene further. European plays, classic Italian Operas, and wonderful local works can be experienced in unique theatres across Mauritius, there to enhance an already phenomenal holiday even further.
While, naturally, the classic theatre pieces have their place, like most things in the island nation, the pieces shown in the theatres in Mauritius are often adapted to showcase local talent and creativity, for entertainment as well as a way to blur social and cultural borders in the multicultural nation. Classic pieces are often conducted in Mauritian Creole (to make them more accessible to the population) and many of the shows have been tweaked to encourage more audience participation which leads to more immersive experiences.
If you would like to know more about this scene, then here are some of the theatres in Mauritius:
The Port Louis Theatre
Located in the heart of the capital city of Mauritius, the Port Louis Theatre was one of the first theatres built in Mauritius and remains one of the oldest theatres in the Southern Hemisphere. It was inaugurated by the first British Governor of Mauritius, Sir Robert Farquhar, in 1822 (approximately 10 years after the British colonized the island).
For two centuries the hugely popular theatre provided an exceptional space for theatrical shows, frequented by locals and international guests alike who enjoyed an array of plays and spectacles (which were, interestingly enough, mainly French originally), including the likes of La Bohême, La Barbière de Seville, La Troubadour, Rigoletto, and Aïda and many of the shows would be covered extensively by the media. During the theatre season (winter), special night trains were arranged to ensure that theatre attendees could get home safely.
While a list of theatres in Mauritius wouldn’t be complete without mention of the Port Louis theatre, it actually closed its doors in 2008 for some much-needed renovations which only commenced some two years ago. Rumors are that it might be opening again in late 2019 but at this point, we will have to wait and see!
Serge Constantin Theatre
Previously known as Trafalgar Hall and Garrison Hall by the British, the Serge Constantin Theatre (Théâtre Serge Constantin) was originally a wooden building that formed part of a military compound which was located on the corner of two streets in Vacoas, St Vincent and Farquhar Road during British colonization. It is one of the few government institutions that has been preserved and which acts as a special hub where culture can be celebrated and showcased. It is mainly used by the Ministry of Arts and Culture for unique shows.
The Serge Constantin Theatre underwent renovations in 2014, and on the International Theatre Day in 2015, observed annually on the 27th of March, it was reopened with air-conditioning, revamped floors, seats, lights and more, all to ensure a more pleasant overall experience.
The Plaza Theatre
Built in 1927 and situated in Rose Hill is another of the important theatres of Mauritius because it was built after a petition was sent from the locals in the area, who asked for a theatre that showcased works that catered to the cultural needs of the local population. The first performance only came years later in 1934, when the Mauritius Drama Club put on a number of plays and shows, including some Shakespearean dramas. These were followed by other productions that were conducted in many of the local languages, from French and Creole to Hindi.
Caudan Arts Centre
The Caudan Arts Centre was inaugurated in December 2018 in the heart of the Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis. This incredible, modern building consists of a theatre with some 430 seats, conference rooms, offices, exhibition spaces, cafes and more. The idea behind this phenomenal centre - which boasts the motto “Creativity for all” - is to create a space for more culturally relevant art so that Mauritians can enjoy theatre that stems more from Africa, Asia and Mauritius itself, as opposed to the very prolific European options found elsewhere. This is an incredible space for all, and as a visitor, it is sure to be a wonderful way to better acquaint yourself with Mauritian culture and roots.
This tiny theatre in Roches Brunes was created when the area’s drama troupe decided to seek out their own space to present their work. They opted to convert an old shop in the area into a small theatre, with the help, support, and vision of Gaston Valayden who is not only the owner of the premises but the troupe’s director.
There’s a wide variety of wonderful theatres in Mauritius, each of which offers something a little different. If this sounds like a wonderful addition to your trip to paradise, then get in touch with us to book your stay today. Our excellent staff can help you to find the perfect Sun hotel and will assist you in creating the holiday of a lifetime.