Théâtre Royal de Toone/Koninklijk Theater Toone
The Toone puppet theatre is tucked between Impasse Schuddeveld/Schuddeveldgang and Impasse Sainte-Pétronille/Sint-Petronellagang at the heart of one of Brussels’ oldest neighbourhoods, the Îlot Sacré. According to the anchor plates on its façade, the building dates all the way back to 1696. This is the site José Géal, the master puppeteer crowned Toone VII in 1963, chose for the theatre in 1966, ‘inaugurating’ the company’s new home with a performance of Michel de Ghelderode’s Passion on 1 April that year. The site as we know it today emerged from a complete overhaul conducted in 1979. Its ground floor now hosts a traditional tavern with blackened beams, flagged floors and exposed red-brick walls, while the building also houses a puppet-making workshop, a traditional library and a video library, a puppet museum and, of course, the attic-level auditorium itself. With its wooden benches and scalloped cushions, the auditorium forms the backdrop for the company’s captivating performances, enjoyed by audiences young and old, who are always keen to catch a show here. In 2003, José Géal’s son Nicolas was installed as Toone VIII at Brussels Town Hall, taking over responsibility for ensuring the future of the Toone and keeping alive the colourful tradition of puppet theatres in Brussels. (Listed 27/02/1997)
Meet-and-greet by the puppeteers.
Exhibition of 19th- and 20th-century Brussels puppets at the Toone museum.
Performance of The Three Musketeers (in Brussels dialect): Sat. & Sun. at 16:00. Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance at www.toone.be (audience numbers limited to 140 per performance).
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Impasse Sainte-Pétronille, rue du Marché-aux-Herbes 66/Sint-Petronillagang, Grasmarkt 66, Brussels