Monday, October 22, 2012

Welcome Palais Nostalgique!

If you have visited the Center these last few weeks, you may have noticed a flurry of activity on the Arts Plaza. Behind the barricades and within the white tents you will find the ever historic and grand Spiegeltent (mirror tent) the Palais Nostalgique. For the next few months, this very special venue will call Segerstrom Center's Arts Plaza home.

Teatro ZinZanni is in town and on October 24 the brand new show Love, Chaos & Dinner will debut. Patrons will enjoy a three-hour whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret all served up with a delectable five-course feast and fanciful libations from Patina Catering. Palais Nostalgique is the magical setting for all this revelry.

This beautiful and antique theater originates from Belgium and is ornate with red velvet and gold brocade, stained glass and deep mahogany. The European cabaret tents, known as Spiegeltents, were constructed in the 1910’s by renowned craftsman Willem Klessens. These warm, intimate circular theatres hosted dances, wine tastings, cabarets and celebrations in Europe for almost a century.  Palais Nostalgique was buried deep underground during WWII and made it through the conflict unscathed. The century-old tent is still in fine form. Standing twenty-nine feet tall, with a circumference of 211 feet, it can comfortably accommodate 285 audience members, along with the wait staff, clowns, singers, jugglers, trapeze artists, contortionists, musicians and acrobats. 

Each tent consists of more than 4,000 pieces. Designed to be set-up and broken down in one day, Klessens’ Spiegeltents require no metal fasteners for construction and can be assembled by a team of three or four in a single day.

The tents are still owned by the Klessens family who lovingly restore and tour their grandfather’s tents. The crew from Belgium arrived in Costa Mesa on September 26 to oversee the construction of Palais Nostalgique.

(L-R) Willie Klessens, Johnny Klessens, Dries Verschueren and Gilbert De Doncker
For more information about Teatro ZinZanni's Love, Chaos & Dinner, please click here.

Photos by Joesan Diche
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