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At the Peacock Theatre

The main entrance (1890) is located in the same place as Tivoli's first entrance. In 1843, it was just outside Vesterport, while today it is in the town centre.

The Peacock Theatre (V. Dahlerup, 1874) is Tivoli's oldest building. It is listed due to its exotic exterior and the unique baroque stage inside. Tivoli's first buildings, including The Theatre which was located here, were made of wood and had canvas walls; they have not been preserved.

Worth knowing

The area around the Peacock Theatre
  1. TIVOLI IS FOUNDED

    ROMANTIC INSPIRATION

    The romantic amusement parks found in Europe were the inspiration for Tivoli. They were romantic because they were landscaped in the natural style of an English garden. Tivoli's founder, Georg Carstensen, had seen such amusement parks during his travels. In 1841, he applied to King Christian VIII for permission to establish and run a Tivoli and Vauxhall for five years. The name Tivoli he took from one of its predecessors, namely Tivoli in Paris, while Vauxhall was an amusement park in London.

    BUILT OUT OF WOOD AND CANVAS

    Tivoli was established just outside the Vestervold ramparts on the city embankment, which at that time was still guarded by the military. One of the conditions was that all the structures must be simple and temporary so that Tivoli could be dismantled quickly in the threat of war. Therefore, they had no foundations and were built out of wood and canvas, which was painted in exotic patterns. None of those buildings exist anymore, however in Nimb Terrasse (previously known as Divan 2) one can see a framed piece of a wall.

    SEASON NO. 1

    The building process began in May 1843, and although many of the buildings were not entirely completed until the following year, Tivoli was sufficiently ready to open its doors for the first season on 15 August 1843. The season lasted until 11 October, by which time Tivoli had been host to 174,609 visitors.

  2. THE MAIN WALK AND TIVOLI'S PLAN

    THE LINE OF THE RAMPARTS

    The Main Walk, which zigzags from the Main Entrance through Tivoli past the Glass Hall Theatre to the Concert Hall, follows the line of the former ramparts from the days when Copenhagen was still surrounded by the bastioned fortification ring and the City Moat. The lime trees and the arcs of lights help to define the space and portray the idea of a green and magical oasis in midst of the city's bustle. During the summer, 14 plant pots by Peter Brandes are displayed all along the walkway, while a thirteenth giant plant pot is permanently displayed in the small landscaped garden at the first bend of the walkway.

    THE INVISIBLE LINE

    The total area of the Tivoli Gardens is only 82,717 m², which needs to house rides, restaurants, stages and gardens for the thousands of daily visitors to the Gardens. 
    This is the reason that the rides are segregated from the landscaped gardens and stages by an invisible line through the Gardens. The corner along Tietgensgade/Bernstorffsgade (The Merry Corner) and H.C. Andersen's Boulevard is used for rides, while the stretch along Vesterbrogade, diagonally towards the Concert Hall, is used for various landscaped gardens with benches, music and theatre stages.

    OPEN TERRAIN

    There are two areas where the terrain opens up significantly, namely the Open Air Stage where thousands of guests gather for Friday Rock and at the Tivoli Lake, which is not only a testimony to the site's past as a fortress, but also contributes to creating peace and a sense of space in the Gardens.

  3. TREE OF ABUNDANCE

    The Tree of Abundance is an interpretation of a Johor Fig tree (Ficus kerkhovenii), one of Singapore’s most important herit­age trees. The tree is also a symbol of the cooperation between Tivoli and Singapore’s Sentosa. 

    Sentosa is a resort island south of Singa­pore which is visited by more than 18 million guests annually. The island offers a wide array of themed at­tractions, rainforests and sandy beaches, resort ac­commodations, world-renowned golf courses and much more. Tivoli and Sentosa have collaborated since 2012 with a common mission of providing a space where our respective guests can enjoy themselves. With the Tree of Abundance we wish to put focus our dedicated effort towards the preservation of nature by creating a green and living attraction for all ages.

    The Tree of Abundance in Sentosa is a symbol of abundance of life and happiness of earth. With its widespread crown and interlaced root system the tree acts as home for numerous species of plants, birds and insects.

    The Tree of Abundance in Tivoli is a vertical garden designed by Tivoli and Sentosa. The plants on the tree are chosen for their foliage and flowers. It includes among other clematis, geranium and hosta besides grasses and ferns.

    For more information on Sentosa: www.sentosa.com.sg

  4. THE PEACOCK THEATRE

    The Pantomime Theatre is Tivoli's oldest building and the only one that is listed. The Theatre was built in 1874 by the architect Professor J.V. Dahlerup, who also designed the Old Stage of the Royal Danish Theatre. The peacock tail was the idea of Bernhard Olsen, who was Tivoli's director at that time. He had seen a similar fan at a variety theatre in Paris. 
    The Theatre was given a Chinese appearance. Chinese themes have been a used in garden architecture throughout Europe since the 1700s, and Tivoli joined the bandwagon since its start in 1843, with the Chinese bazaar, among others. Over the opening of the stage are the words "With the people together happiness" in Chinese. The words are meant to remind us of what Tivoli is all about, which is sharing good experiences with each other.

    THE THEATRE 1843

    In 1843, when Tivoli first opened its gates, the Pantomime Theatre was situated as it is today, close to the Main Entrance, on the left-hand side of the Main Walk. The first theatre was built out of wood, with walls of canvas painted in Turkish style, as were all the original buildings in the Tivoli Gardens. In 1874 it was replaced with the present theatre.

    THE SLOPING BOARDS

    The theatre has a baroque stage with a sloping floor. The wings, soffits and backdrops are painted canvas. There are hatches in the floor to aid in creating theatrical magic when someone or something suddenly pops up out of the floor, or disappears. There are electric lights in the theatre, but the machinery is operated by manpower, as it was in the old days. 
    It takes five stagehands to operate the peacock drop curtain: two to pull the corners, two to fold the tail and one to lower the bird's body into the basement, by means of a crank. The five stagehands then go on to carry out other tasks. During performances, there are 8-12 stagehands backstage.

  5. Pantomimes

    POPULAR ENTERTAINMENT

    Danish pantomime is unique to the world, but it used to be a popular theatre style throughout Europe. The stories about Pierrot, who clowns about while he tries to prevent Harlequin and Columbine's love, arrived in Denmark in 1800. It was the two artist families, Price (from England) and Casorti (from Italy), who made pantomime popular when they performed one winter at the Court Theatre. Gradually, many independent pantomime theatres were established, so when Tivoli opened it was obvious that pantomimes should have a place, even though the theatre was also used for acrobatic performances.

    PIERROT OVER 50 YEARS

    The founder of Tivoli, Georg Carstensen, employed Danish mimes. Peter Busholm was Cassander, Harald Hesse was Harlequin and Niels Henrik Volkersen, who managed to celebrate his 50th anniversary with Tivoli, appeared as Pierrot. Gradually it became difficult for the other pantomime theatres to exist, and several members of the family Price ended up being employed at the Tivoli Theatre.

    ITALIAN ANCESTRY

    Pantomime descends from the Italian masked comedy (commedia dell'arte) and they still have many things in common. The fixed character gallery can be traced hundreds of years back in time, as can the comic interludes, lazzi, which make up the pieces. It is classic slapstick comedy that works every time.

    SIGNS AND GESTURES

    The comprehensive sign language used in pantomime has been reformulated in classical ballet. There are signs for practically everything: two hands on the chest above the heart means to love, pointing at one's ring finger means to get married and holding one's wrist between the thumb and forefinger is the sign for a doctor. Try to guess the next time you watch a pantomime.

  6. THE TIVOLI BALLET THEATRE

    INTERNATIONAL COMPANY

    Tivoli's Ballet Company, which performs at the Pantomime Theatre, is known as Tivoli's Ballet Theatre. The company also performs at the Royal Danish Theatre, especially in operas that include dance performances. 

    It is an international company with dancers from around the world. The dancers are often chosen by auditions and they stay with the company for shorter or longer periods of time, depending on where they are in their career. 

    Traditional pantomimes are only a part of the repertoire of Tivoli's Ballet Theatre. Each year a number of actual ballets are performed, and the company is wide-ranging. Bournonville's ballets are adapted to the theatre's 30 minute performances, in programmes with highlights from this classical repertoire. More contemporary works are also commissioned by leading contemporary choreographers, and several of the theatre's dancers have choreographed for Tivoli's Ballet Theatre.

    THE ROYAL SET DESIGNER

    Most attention has been placed on fairy tale ballets taken from Hans Christian Andersen's stories. Since 2001, the choreographer Dinna Bjørn, the composer James Price and the set designer Queen Margrethe of Denmark, have collaborated on five ballets which interpret Andersen's fairy tales and which have been received with great enthusiasm by audiences and reviewers. The performances are: Love in the Dustbin (2001), Thumbelina (2005), The Tinder Box (2007), The Swineherd (2013) and The Steadfast Tin Soldier (2013). 

    Tivoli's Ballet Theatre also perform Tivoli's own take on Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, with choreography by Peter Bo Bendixen and set design by Queen Margrethe. In Tivoli's The Nutcracker, the story takes place in Copenhagen and,naturally, Clara's dreamland is Tivoli.

  7. THE TIVOLI BALLET SCHOOL

    In 2012, Tivoli's Ballet School was born. In the same way that The Tivoli Boys Guard develops the talents of young musicians, Tivoli wanted to support the talent development of dancers. Some of the students even get stage experience when they take part in performances at the Pantomime Theatre or Tivoli's Ballet Theatre's big Christmas show, The Nutcracker, which is performed every two years in the Tivoli Concert Hall.

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