Take a trip to the theatre

William Shakespeare may have written that all the world’s a stage, but today on #LoveTheatreDay, all Europeana is a stage.

We’ve searched our collections to find artworks and photographs which give a glimpse into theatrical life over several hundred years.

Whether indoor or outdoors, the theatre is a place where imagination and creativity reign.

large crowd watching theatre scene

Theatrical Presentation, 1714 (anonymous), Rijksmuseum, Public Domain Marked

people standing under mountaineous rock formations

Vue du théatre taillé dans le roc, Carl Gustav Hempel, Austrian National Library, Public Domain Marked

The players, either professional or amateur, enthrall an audience with feats, some daring and some more mundane.

6 actors on stage, 5 are standing, one lying on the floor

Scene de dood van Trautheim met Willy Spiering, Het Zuiden Fotopersbureau, City Archives’ S-Hertogenbosch, CC BY-SA

four people on stage in costume, three standing and one sitting in a small vehicle

Theatre, Sture Gewert, Heritage Västernorrland, CC BY-SA

woman on a tightrope above a large crowd in theatre

A Wonderfull Thing from Paris, or Madame Sacchi gratifying John Bulls curiosity, at Covent Garden Theatre, Circus Museum CC BY-SA

Around the plays and productions, artistic endeavour flourishes, evidenced by posters such as these by Dudley Hardy and Jules Cheret

red poster for A Gaiety Girl at Prince of Wales Theatre showing woman dress in white and black dress

Prince of Wales’ Theatre, Dudley Hardy, Bibliothèque Municipale De Lyon, Public Domain Marked


Grand théâtre de l’Exposition, Jules Chéret, Bibliothèque Municipale De Lyon, Public Domain Marked

And some artists remind us that sometimes the real drama and beauty happens in the audience as well as on stage.

painting of nine people watching a theatre performance

Theaterpubliek, Hippolyte Michaud, Rijksmuseum, Public Domain Marked

woman using binoculars on theatre balcony

La loge au mascaron doré, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Bibliothèque De L’INHA, Public Domain Marked

By Adrian Murphy, Europeana Foundation

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