Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/90

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festivals celebrating the 10th of August drew to Paris many thousands of people from the provinces—certain theaters, designated by the municipality, should three times a week perform "republican tragedies," such as Brutus, Guillaume Tell, Caius Gracchus … one of these performances being given each week at the expense of the Republic."[1]

In November, 1793, following up the celebrated discourse by Marie-Joseph Chénier on popular festivals, Fabre d'Églantine passed a measure providing for national theaters, which completed the scheme for popular festivals. A special commission of six members was actually chosen: Romme, David, Fourcroi, Mathieu, Bouquier, and Cloots. On the 11th of Frimaire, Year II (Dec. 1, 1793) Bouquier drew up the following resolutions in his Plan général d'Instruction publique (section IV: Du dernier degré d'instruction):

"Article I. Theaters … and festivals … are a part of the 'second degree' of public instruction.

"Article II. In order to facilitate this movement … the Convention declares that all former churches and ecclesiastical edifices which are at present empty shall belong to the Communes."

On the 4th of Pluviôse, Year II (Jan. 23, 1794) the Convention, under the presidency of Vadier,

  1. The first of these popular performances was given August 6 at the Théâtre de la République. Brutus was the play, and the announcement bore the inscription: By and for the People.