The Théâtre de la Cité internationale comprises three stages, all located in the same wing of the Maison internationale. These three complementary venues can stage all kinds of shows or events. The complex is completed by its own café-bar, the Café du théâtre.
Ever since it opened in 1936, the Théâtre de la Cité internationale (TCi) has constantly shone as a showcase for theatrical creation and, later, for other disciplines of live performance, such as dance, circus arts and puppetry.
In 1968, Culture Minister André Malraux visited the Maison internationale and appointed André-Louis Perinetti as head of the TCi, for which he had ambitious plans. He welcomed works from all over the world, representative of the particularly vibrant creative scene of the period. The Bread and Puppet Theater, the Odin Teatret, Peter Weiss, Victor Garcia, Copi, Jorge Lavelli and Antoine Vitez were among those to grace the stages at the TCi. It was also at André-Louis Perinetti’s instigation that Jérôme Savary created his 1971 work Chroniques coloniales ou Zartan, frère mal aimé de Tarzan (Colonial Tales or Zartan, Tarzan’s Unloved Brother), the first show by the Grand Magic Circus.
The impetus lent to the theatre by André-Louis Perinetti proved decisive. The move towards eminent artists, together with the interest shown in and support provided for young creators and the emergence of a theatre of research made the venue an essential part of the Parisian scene, standing out for the quality and originality of its choices.
In 1971, he was succeeded by Guy Caron. Under his leadership, the TCi gave more space to dance, welcoming shows by Maguy Marin, Karin Waehner, Serge Beuten, Elsa Wolliatson, Françoise Dupuy, Susan Buirge, and Suzanna Linke, among others.
In 1991, Nicole Gautier took the reins of the TCi, turning it into an invaluable showcase for young theatre companies from France’s regions. In her very first season in 1991-1992, she staged Violences by Didier-Georges Gabily and his company, the Le groupe T’Chan’G!, then completely unknown. From then until 2007, the likes of Hubert Colas, Denis Marleau, Marie Vayssière, Jean-Luc Lagarce, Jean Boillot, Thierry Roisin, Jean-Pierre Larroche, Christophe Rauk, Jean Bellorini, Célie Pauthe, the Tg STAN, Thomas Ostermeier, Michel Laubu and his company Turak, Boris Charmatz, David Bobée, Rodrigo Garcia would be among those to benefit from the terrific springboard that was the Théâtre de la Cité internationale. Nicole Gautier’s reign was a great success, encapsulated by the slogan “the art of being a spectator”.
In 2004, the Theatre was entirely renovated by architects Fabre, Speller & Pumain. During the three years of renovation work, Mark Tompkins and his company IDA conducted research and invited the public to performances in situ called “En chantier” (“Work in Progress”).
In 2008, Pascale Henrot succeeded Nicole Gautier, basing her programme on interdisciplinarity. The boundaries between theatre, dance, music, circus acts, performance art and the visual arts began to blur. Pascale Henrot used to talk about “resonance” or “how to feel different forms of expression vibrating together”. She also developed special relationships with artists through three-year residencies. Fanny de Chaillé, Massimo Furlan, Jeanne Candel and Xavier Leroy were among the beneficiaries.
In 2016, Marc Le Glatin became the new director, with an expanded brief in terms of artistic and cultural initiatives. The programme offers plenty of space to young artists. Artistic teams from drama schools are granted long residencies.
Each year, the TCi develops more cultural and artistic initiatives linked to its shows. They take place at the theatre, in the houses of the Cité internationale, in middle schools, high schools and higher education institutions, and in hospitals, social and cultural centres and legal protection centres, with teenagers, students and anyone else who wants to get involved in the theatre.