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The State set scenes

L’État en scènes

Theaters, opera houses, theaters sixteenth to the nineteenth century - Historical, political and legal

Théâtres, opéras, salles de spectacles du XVIe au XIXe siècle - Aspects historiques, politiques et juridiques

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Published on Thursday, March 24, 2016


The objective of the symposium is to reflect on the theaters built at the initiative of the State to determine the specifics surrounding their construction, beautification, their functioning, their police, their programming, etc. The desire of the organizers is to mobilize around this theme researchers from all disciplines who may be interested, lawyers, political scientists,legal historians, letters, historians, art historians, sociologists, etc.


International symposium, University of Picardie Jules-Verne - Logis du Roy - 14, 15 and 16 June 2017 –


Power has a special relationship with the world of entertainment. Often, the rulers were staged through detailed protocols governing and punctuating their daily existence and the official life of their courses. Sometimes they themselves have been the performances of players in which they played tailored roles. Louis XIV, passionate dance, expressed this spectacular art of the royal stage design, he cultivated throughout his reign until his death, the last act of a representation of life that he orchestrated every detail. Louis XV, quieter and more reserved, does not like this life of representation but loves comedy, ballet and opera. At Versailles, is responsible for the construction in 1770 of the Royal Opera House as a framework to the wedding of the heir to the show from the Throne with Marie Antoinette of Austria. The young Dauphin, became queen, assiduously attending the Paris Opera before giving the royal shows another dimension, more intimate and private, like a royalty tired by a heavy tag, too rigid and unsuited to age lights. Shelter from the small theater of Trianon, the queen and actress is playing for and with some courtiers handpicked. Louis XVI, however, wanted to respect the royal pomp giving the last big show of the monarchy on the occasion of the States General, together with a dazzling splendor in the quaint surroundings of the Salle des Menus Plaisirs, fitted for the occasion. What chance curious to see royalty throwing its last rays on the very spot where she kept the precious decorations of his court shows!

But the shows will not only play in the royal residences. From the sixteenth century, princes understand the political utility shows and plays, which can be used to show their power and to ensure their propaganda. They measure the educational value for the education of young people and the transmission of certain moral and civic values. They grasp the social usefulness of these entertainments, very appreciated and sought after among the wealthier segments of the population. Comedy troupes then multiply. First traveling, they tend to settle in the seventeenth century in large cities, where they find protection of the sovereign, its representative or a powerful figure who promotes, funds and maintains them. Therefore, government incentives for the construction of permanent facilities designed to welcome, receive greater audiences and satisfy an increasingly high demand. It's also a way to control acrobats whose outspokenness sometimes shakes the power. In Paris, the institution of the Comédie-French Louis XIV demonstrates the will to frame the world of comedians. The pulse is then given and in the eighteenth century, public theaters blooming everywhere, encouraged by the royal government and municipal authorities. The great cities of the kingdom will want their theater, seen as a visible sign of their political power, economic vitality and their cultural appeal. The theaters are inserted into ambitious architectural program, intended to beautify cities, to bring them into modernity and to show their loyalty to the regime. This cultural process he adapts to successive regimes from the Revolution? The Empire or the Republic, they fear or they promote the shows?

Construction of these facilities, their financing, their operating rules, their economy, their use politically as well concerning the kingdom of France that most European states and raise a host of questions:

The construction of the theaters she breaks the rules commonly observed in the field of public works? He has the power generated and encouraged a policy of building across the country? Did the theaters was inserted into official beautification programs as well as the seats? Does the government have encouraged the large cities in the state to build public halls? What was the role of governors, stewards and prefects in this area? How this policy, if any, she has been funded?

How the theaters? They are equipped with special police regulations? What is the legal technique used for their operation? Who runs them? How are they funded? Are they subsidized by the central government or by municipal authorities? This he intervenes in their internal administration? What is the status of employees and actors? The state intervenes in the operation of private rooms? Seeking him in control? How does it monitor? The nature of the political regime he influences the content of entertainment?

They participate room’s propaganda? How it exercises the royal censorship? The government involved in the choice of entertainment? What are the performances given in the residences of power? Is it a private program for sovereign, separate from the official program? The performances given for the king, emperor or president are they distributed in the provinces? By what channel? What are the police authorities of the power to intervene in this area? Who frequents the halls? Are they only reserved for the elite?

What was the role of theaters in the revolutionary process? What was the programming in the last years of the old regime and the successive regimes in the nineteenth century? Enlightenment ideas are reflected they? What was the influence of foreign plays written? What was the attitude of power towards theaters? She has the proclamation of freedom of expression changed the settings? Is the rise of opposition to state power is noticeable?

Conference organizers hope that these issues be addressed not only from a comparative perspective, the examples offered by European states is welcome, but also through interdisciplinary approaches to confront the vision of lawyers, historians of law, art historians, historians of letters, political scientists, sociologists, etc.

Tipped program


act I

The construction of halls

act II

The operation rooms

act III

Programming rooms

act IV

Curtain fell

Scientific Committee

  • Christian Biet, Professor of Performing Arts, University of Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense
  • Robert Carvais, Director of Research, CNRS, University of Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense
  • Cédric Glineur, Professor of History of Law, University of Picardie
  • Jean-Louis Halperin, Professor of History of Law, ENS
  • Jean-Louis Harouel, Professor of History of Law, University of Paris II
  • Virginie Lemonnier-Lesage, Professor of History of Law, University of Dijon
  • Hervé Leuwers, Professor of Modern History, University of Lille III
  • Anthony Mergey, Professor of History of Law, University of Panthéon-Assas
  • François OST, Professor of Law, University of Saint-Louis, Brussels
  • Daniel Rabreau, Professor Emeritus of Art History, University Panthéon Sorbonne
  • Norbert Rouland, Professor of Law, University Paul Cézanne Aix-en-Provence
  • Sophie Sedillot, Master of History Conferences of Law, University of Picardie
  • Philippe Senechal, Professor of Art History, University of Picardie
  • Mathieu Da Vinha, Scientific Director of the Research Centre of Versailles

Steering committee

  • Robert Carvais, Director of Research, CNRS, Centre theory and analysis of law, University of Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense
  • Cédric GLINEUR, Professor of History of Law, University of Picardie
  • Sophie SEDILLOT, Master of History Conferences of Law, University of Picardie


Communications projects must be sent by mail

before June 1, 2016

to members of the organizing committee: rcarvais@noos.fr; cedricglineur@msn.com; sased@wanadoo.fr

Attach a summary of proposed communication with source (2500 characters spaces) with the title and a short resume.

Publication of acts



  • Logis du Roy - Passage du Logis du Roy
    Amiens, France (80)


  • Wednesday, June 01, 2016


  • théâtres, salles de spectacles, opéras, urbanisme, droit de l'embellissement


  • Robert Carvais
    courriel : rcarvais [at] noos [dot] fr
  • Cédric Glineur
    courriel : cedric [dot] glineur [at] u-picardie [dot] fr
  • Sophie Sédillot
    courriel : sophie [dot] sedillot [at] u-picardie [dot] fr

Information source

  • Cédric Glineur
    courriel : cedric [dot] glineur [at] u-picardie [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The State set scenes », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, March 24, 2016, https://doi.org/10.58079/uon

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