On the road…

From its earliest days, the Troupe performed at the Court, in the prestigious royal residences. From the eighteenth century onwards, with the development of the railway, its stars (Talma, Rachel and Sarah Bernhardt) performed individually in the provinces and abroad. The first official Comédie-Française tour was to London in 1879. The following ones were also highly successful and, in the context of international tensions during the mid-twentieth century, took on a greater political and diplomatic dimension.

The Comédie-Française acted as an ambassador for France in its travels to specific destinations, including the Balkans and the USSR. In continuity of France’s foreign policy, it is broadening the scope of its audience to the five continents.

On roads, airwaves and screens, the Troupe’s role in diplomacy and public relations

The airwaves also spread the voice of the Comédie-Française, which invited itself into people’s homes from 1881 via the théâtro phone (literally the theatre phone), and subsequently thanks to many recordings and radio broadcasts. Silent cinema, through the Films d’Art company, solicited its actors to participate in its earliest films. The Salle Richelieu was even transformed into a projection room in 1935 with the Lumière brothers as presenters. That same year, television was born, and in the first minutes of broadcasting an account was given of tour by the sociétaire Béatrice Bretty.

Ten years later, each production was broadcast on the small screen and two weekly shows were devoted to the Comédie-Française from 1949 to 1959. Subsequently, agreements were regularly made to broadcast productions, such as today on television and, in collaboration with Pathé Live, at the cinema. Since 1908, both out of obligation and pride, filmmakers have always added the title “of la Comédie-Française” after the names of the actors in the credits. An affectation in the eyes of some perhaps, but assuredly an expression of pride in belonging to a troupe for all.