Curtain Call

Constructed on the 880-hectare grounds of Château d’Hardelot, appropriately the home of the Centre Culturel de l’Entente Cordiale, sits France’s first permanent Elizabethan theatre. Modelled on Shakespeare’s Globe, the structure comprises a wooden cylinder – which encircles the 388-seat theatre (complete with a thrust stage, proscenium and orchestra pit) – surrounded by a cage of 12-metre-high bamboo poles.

Completed by British architects Studio Andrew Todd, the Chateau d’Hardelot, once the haunt of Charles Dickens and now home to the Centre Culturel de l’Entente Cordial, hosts a major annual summer festival celebrating cultural ties with Britain.

‘It’s designed to vibrate with its natural surroundings rather than be a stand-alone, attention-seeking, alien object,’ says architect Andrew Todd. ‘And we have carried this through to the interior: the circular wooden auditorium is naturally lit and ventilated, the building’s crown acting as a giant chimney to create a gentle current of air for the audience.’

Being revolutionary low in its energy consumption, not to mention ecologically sound use of natural materials and classic architectural proportions, this is a theatre as transcendent as the Shakespearean plays it hosts.

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Photography Martin Argyroglo