Library-museum

Collections that are unique in the world.

The library-museum is the department that has been dedicated to the memory of the Comédie-Française, its history and the history of the Troupe, for over three centuries. It is responsible for the archival and museum heritage of the theatre.

Its main task is the preservation, enrichment, provision and promotion of the collections in its care. It maintains close links with researchers, academics and, more generally, theatre historians.

Its team also participates in the daily life of the theatre by providing the actors, staff and guest artists with the documentation they need to prepare productions.

The consultation of certain collections requires the authorisation of the curator-archivist, in particular the collection of precious works, the individual folders, large formats and collections awaiting classification. Consulting the artworks and objects requires a specific appointment with the curator-archivist.

The immense collection, which is unique in the world, originated in the small room next to the assembly chamber, which housed the cabinet for keeping the “titles and papers” of the Company. The key to the cabinet was given to the actor in charge of keeping this treasure safe.


Concerned public

The library caters for a specialised public of researchers, theatre professionals and students.
Iconographers, journalists and theatre specialists are accepted subject to justifying that their research warrants the use of the library collections.


Research tools

Part of the collection is described in inventories and catalogues that may be consulted on site. For other documents, the librarian on duty will provide the necessary information.


Reference books

  • Dictionaries
  • Encyclopedias
  • Reference books on theatre, actors, artists, and the history of the Comédie-Française
  • Recent programmes and periodicals
  • Comédie-Française publications
  • Activity reports
  • Exhibition catalogues.

Photocopies are possible, except for old documents, or documents that are fragile or in poor condition.
Information is available by phone, post and e-mail.
Sale of old publications in stock (programmes, magazines, etc.).


Practical information

Consultation on site and by appointment only by calling
+33 1 44 58 13 16 / 13 17

Monday
1:30 pm > 5:30 pm
Tuesday
9:30 am > 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm
Wednesday
9:30 am > 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm > 5:30 pm

98 galerie de Beaujolais, 75001 Paris
bibliotheque-musee@comedie-francaise.org

Closed annually in August and the first fortnight of September

A museum in a theatre

The exhibited collections include several hundred artworks, primarily paintings and sculptures, displayed both in public areas and in private parts of the building, foyers, corridors, meeting rooms,offices, etc. Consequently, the museum cannot be visited freely.

But where is the Comédie-Française museum?
In this museum, there are no exhibition rooms,but there is a guided tour by a lecturer that is available to groups. The guide-lecturer tells the history of the House of Molière and the theatre through the art collection. It is an in situ museum, featuring collections that share the lives of productions: a costume rack can hide a painting, turning a corner one may see the prop managers’ baskets, before coming face to face with the portrait of Rachel, Talma or Sarah Bernhardt. There is therefore an element of the unexpected inthese visits whose itinerary can be modified at any time by an unfore seen event registered on the daily service bulletin.

Loans to external exhibitions
The collections of the library-museum may be loaned toother museums for exhibitions in France or abroad. The nature of these loans isas varied as the collections themselves: artworks, photographs, costume or set models, manuscripts or archival documents, programmes or posters.

The archives of the theatre

Since 1680 and right up to today, the library-museum is responsible for collecting and preserving the archives of the Comédie-Française. It is the only theatre in the world to have preserved its archives within its walls for such a long period. Indeed, this Troupe,established with a company status, has always been keen to preserve its archives, which applies to accounts and administrative documents, but also to prompter manuscripts, models, descriptions of stagings, artistic correspondence, audiovisual and photographic documents, plans and so on. These documents make it possible to trace and represent all the activity of a theatre, the history of a community of actors, but also the history of French theatre.

From handwritten registers to digital documents, the Comédie-Française’s archives constitute one of the richest and most complete collections in the world.

Some series are still being classified.

Delays apply as follows before documents are made available for consultation: a period of 25 years after the date of creation for administrative archives, a period of 120 years after birth or 25 years after death for personnel records, subject to exceptions.

The library of the Repertoire, the documentation centre of the theatre

As part of its mission to provide documentation that may be necessary for productions, the library-museum preserves both the published texts of plays, in successive editions and translations, but also communication materials used to present productions when they were created, or materials relating to their reception (press reviews, image files, etc.).

A tool for the theatre, the library is also a richsource of information for researchers.

Copies of plays that have been annotated by the actors or by the artistic staff testify to the daily work on texts. However, this raw material of performance is not confined to the canonical versions of plays. Thus, the library is nota classic library, but a library of annotated works.

Catalogues
The works have been catalogued in the La Grange database since 2006. Works acquired before 2006 are catalogued in a paper file that can be consulted on site.

Welcome

Samedi 15 décembre : nos salles sont ouvertes et les représentations sont maintenues. Cependant de nombreuses stations de métro et de RER seront fermées et les déplacements seront plus difficiles que d'habitude. Nous annoncerons tout changement éventuel sur notre site et sur Twitter.

Samedi 8 décembre : les représentations ont été annulées, vous trouverez les modalités de remboursement ci-dessous :
- pour les billets achetés sur notre site Internet www.comedie-francaise.fr, le remboursement se fera automatiquement sur la carte ayant servi au paiement des places, sur simple demande par e-mail à reservation.reponse@comedie-francaise.org
- pour les billets achetés auprès de la Comédie-Française par les autres canaux (correspondance, téléphone, guichets), merci de bien vouloir nous retourner vos billets accompagnés d’un RIB et d'indiquer la référence de votre commande le plus rapidement possible (et dans un délai de trois mois maximum à compter d’aujourd’hui)- par email : reservation.reponse@comedie-francaise.org
- pour les billets achetés auprès de la FNAC et de Ticketac, le remboursement se fera directement auprès du revendeur.

Nous vous prions de nous excuser et vous remercions de votre compréhension.

Important

Nous vous rappelons que vos téléphones portables doivent être éteints pendant toute la durée des représentations. Merci.

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