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Toone puppet theatre awarded European Heritage label

05:42 15/04/2024

The Toone puppet theatre in Brussels has been awarded the European Heritage label from the European Commission.

This designation puts the puppet theatre on the list of more than 60 labelled sites, five of which are now in Belgium.

The Mundaneum in Mons, the Bois du Cazier in Charleroi, the Migration Museum in Molenbeek and the Colonies of Weldadigheid in Wortel and Merksplas also share the label.

With the designation, the Commission said it “recognises the role of theatre in the history and culture of Belgium and Europe”.

To qualify for the label, sites are assessed on their EU significance, how they communicate their European dimension to the public, and their operational capacity to carry out their activities. They must also take part in networking activities and cooperation projects.

The Royal Theatre Toone, which occupies a building near the Grand-Place, describes itself as the only popular puppet theatre still operating in Brussels today.

At the height of their popularity, puppet theatres were popular entertainment venues and a way to keep abreast of current events.

Puppets in lieu of actors resulted in greater freedom of tone and satirical expression, making such theatres important places of expression.

This year's European Heritage winners will be honoured in a special ceremony in Antwerp on 17 April.

Written by Helen Lyons