There’s a rich theatre tradition in France, and the Paris theatre scene is as fabulous as what you’ll find in rival metropolises New York and London. Prestigious theatre troupes frequently stage performances in storied venues like Théâtre du Châtelet and the Comédie-Française. In fact, the city boasts over 300 such venues. But this exciting cultural life has largely been inaccessible to non French-speaking visitors.

Until now. This spring Theatre in Paris is launching an innovative service with English surtitles projected on a large background screen. With the text projected above the stage, non-French speakers can understand the actors’ dialogue. For the debut on Friday, April 18 of the Easter weekend, Theatre in Paris has chosen a classic French play, Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand.

The heroic tale—set in the 17th century and appreciated as a superb example of commedia dell’arte—will be familiar to many (especially fans of the 1987 film “Roxanne” starring Steve Martin). To wit: “Cyrano de Bergerac, a young nobleman serving in the French Army, is a confident, strong-willed man of many talents, from his remarkable swordsmanship to his poetic prowess. Nevertheless, he is ever-conscious of his Pinocchio-like nose. It is this self-doubt which prevents him from expressing his love for his distant cousin, the beautiful heiress, Roxane, believing that his ugliness denies him the ‘dream of being loved by even an ugly woman.’

The play is being performed at Théâtre Michel, a beautiful Italian-style venue in the 8th arrondissement, through May 11. There will be a total of 10 performances. Tickets for the performances with English surtitles are now on sale at Theatre in Paris also offers a slew of other services, including a dedicated host welcome.




  1. Hi Barbara, Thanks for reading. “Surtitling” is in fact different from subtitling; it is the theatre or opera equivalent of film subtitles. The text is projected on a screen above the stage.