A Spiegeltent (Dutch for "Mirror Tent", from spiegel+tent) is a large travelling tent, constructed in wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass, intended as an entertainment venue. Originally built in Belgium during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, only a handful of these Spiegeltents remain in existence today, and these survivors continue to travel around Europe and beyond, often as a feature attraction at various international arts festivals, including the Cork Midsummer Festival, the Dublin Fringe Festival, Wexford Festival Operathe Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Brisbane Festival, the Taranaki International Festival of the Arts, New Plymouth, New Zealand, Brighton Fringe, the Belfast Festival at Queen's, the Just for Laughs in Montreal, Harbourfront Centre's World Stage Festival in Toronto, the SummerScape Festival at Bard College in NY, and the Outside the Box Festival in Boston. Two tents used by Teatro ZinZanni have been in (more or less) fixed locations in Seattle and San Francisco for several years. On April 1st 2011, Spiegelworld opened Absinthe at Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada in the 26 metre Salon Marlene.
Origins and history
The original Spiegeltents were constructed in the Flemish Region of Belgium in the late 19th century as mobile dance halls. They were transported around the country and assembled for town fairs in areas that did not have a proper dance hall.
Nostalgic Spiegeltents still exist today.
- Palais Romantique - an Art Deco Spiegeltent which is 17 metres in diameter and holds 300 people.
- Palais Nostalgique - °1920 currently used for a standing show in San Francisco, California. Holds 295 people.
- Le Moulin Rouge - °1910 currently used for a standing show in Seattle, Washington. Holds 295 people.
- La Gayola - an Art Deco Spiegeltent °1947 which holds 350 people.
- La Gaieté - an original Klessens tent °1932, 16 diameter, which holds 300 people
- Ideal - an Art Nouveau Spiegeltent, handmade °1948, which holds 320 people.
- The Famous Spiegeltent
- Parel van Vuren - holding up to 350 people and 18 metres in diameter.
- Palais des Glaces, 22 diameter, Art Nouveau °1992
- Salon Revue 22 diameter, Art Nouveau °2006
- Bon Vivant - Nostalgic dance hall in Art Nouveau style.
- Kempisch Danspaleis - mirrored dance tent.
- Cristal Palace - 18 metres in diameter for up to 400 people.
- Carrousel - Interior in oak. Capacity : up to 300 people for dinner.
- De Lust - A rectangular mirror tent for up to 500 people.
- Victoria - citation needed] 25 metres in diameter for up to 700 people. [
The Famous Spiegeltent
The Famous Spiegeltent, perhaps the most lavishly decorated of all, was built in 1920 in Belgium by master craftsmen Oscar Mols Dom and Louis Goor. Over the decades it has hosted some of the world's greatest performing artists, including German singer Marlene Dietrich, who famously performed "Falling in Love Again" in it during the 1930s.
The Famous Spiegeltent is transported from venue to venue in shipping containers, and is constructed on site at each location. It consists of about 3,000 pieces of wood, mirrors, canvas and stained glass, and is then detailed in velvet and brocade.
Construction takes about ten to twelve hours, and is supervised by two Belgian specialists. In addition, an adjacent bar is constructed, which in addition to the lighting and sound equipment takes another few days.
The Famous Spiegeltent can hold an audience of about 300–350 people.
The Famous Spiegeltent is owned and managed by Australian pianist and theatrical producer David Bates, who first utilised the tent as a venue at the 1996 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. After a successful visit to Melbourne in 2001, Bates bought the tent from previous owners Scottish & Newcastle and set it up as a unique travelling venue.
As of 2011[update], the Famous Spiegeltent appears at the following festivals:
- New Zealand:
- United Kingdom:
- Ronn, Florenz: What's a Spiegeltent?, 774 ABC Melbourne, 7 October 2006
- Edwards, Paul: Sensuality unleashed, The Age, 8 October 2005
- Zabel, Russ: Teatro Zinzanni Returns to Queen Anne, Queen Anne News 28 November 2007
- BBC Online: Blow for festival as tent pulled BBC 7 April 2009
- "Cork Midsummer Festival". Cork Midsummer Festival. 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
- "Dublin Fringe Festival". Fringefest.com. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- "Teatro ZinZanni Seattle". Teatro ZinZanni. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
- "The Famous Spiegeltent History". Spiegeltent.net. 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Spiegeltents.|