Cookies help us deliver our site. By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more OK
You are here: Home / Culture, tourism & leisure / Brussels folklore / Théâtre de Toone

Théâtre de Toone

The Théâtre royal de Toone keeps up the age-old tradition of popular puppetry.
The Théâtre royal de Toone keeps up the age-old tradition of popular puppetry. The latest Toone puppet master was “enthroned’ by the city’s mayor to direct the puppet theatre and museum on Impasse Sainte-Pétronille. One of Brussels hidden treasures.

Entertainment from another age

The puppet theatre was first opened in response to the Spanish order that closed all theatres. The Spaniards were wary that the theatre would attract nationalist crowds and foment rebellion. The puppet theatre filled the vacuum, as it could be held in cellars and backyards, thus remaining secret.

It became a very popular form of entertainment in the 19th century in working-class areas like the Marolles. Antoine Genty was a renowned puppet-master, who established the Toone dynasty (Toone is a diminutive of Antoine in the Brussels dialect) in 1830. Since then, the art of puppetry has been handed down from father to son, or a puppeteer who has been approved by the public.

In 2003, observing the tradition, the mayor of Brussels “enthroned” puppeteer Nicolas Géal under the name Toone VIII.

Enjoy the puppet theatre

Maison de Toone is a typical Brussels tavern in pink Spanish brick, with blackened exposed beams and a flagstone floor. Snacks and refreshments are available; puppet shows are held in the evening. You can also visit the museum of "retired theatre puppets".

Toone has a huge repertoire to choose from, ranging from opera and Faust to Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde. Performances are held in Brussels dialect, French, Dutch, English, German, Italian and Spanish.

More about Toone

  • Théâtre royal de Toone
    Impasse Sainte-Pétronille, Rue du Marché-aux-Herbes 66, 1000 Brussels
    Phone: +32 (0)2 511 71 37 or +32 (0)2 513 54 86 between noon and 2 pm.
    Online: www.toone.be
  • More information about the puppet theatre at the City of Brussels and Îlot Sacré websites.