Ninety-six adaptations of romantic scene to mark 150 years of Leuven theatre


Leuven’s city theatre celebrates its 150th anniversary in September with a marathon endeavor

What light through yonder window breaks

Leuven’s city theatre celebrates its 150th anniversary in September, and it has just announced an extraordinary production to mark the event. The theatre, on Bondgenotenlaan, which joins the station to the city centre, will present 96 interpretations of the famous balcony scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

The choice is not accidental. Romeo and Juliet was the first play ever staged at the Stadsschouwburg when it opened on 3 September 1867, designed by architect Edward Lavergne and intended to replace the Frascati Hall, which was torn down to make way for the stately Bondgenotenlaan. The theatre suffered severe damage in the First World War and only opened again in 1938. There then followed the Second World War, further damage, and closure until 1952.

The marathon balcony scene has been made possible by the participation of professionals and amateurs from disciplines across the cultural spectrum: theatre of course, classical music, youth theatre, opera, jazz and even circus. In addition, traffic in the street outside will be diverted for a pop-up garden, while the building will house a 24-hour people’s ball, hosted by local DJs. Food trucks will be on hand, and there are organised tours of the building.

The birthday celebrations start on 23 September at 16.00, and last for 24 hours.

Photo: The balcony scene, as imagined by Ford Madox Brown

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