Richelieu Library - Performing Arts Reading Room

The reading room specializes in all performing arts, cinema, radio, television, and seats 35 users. It offers specific equipments for readers: 4 computer stations, 2 stations dedicated to audiovisual documents, 1 microfom reader, 1 station for visually impaired users.


The Department of performing arts offers 5,000 volumes freely avilable, classified by disciplines. It covers the following subjects:

  • General works on performing art
  • Circus, mime, marionettes
  • Radiodiffusion, television, cinema
  • Marionnettes
  • Dance, celebrations
  • Musical theater and music-hall
  • Theater: general works, aesthetics and criticism,  stage direction,  costumes
  • and scenography,  acting,  companies,  theater festivals, history of theater
  • Literature  and dramatic author


Services offered

  •  Document photography: if the state of documents permits it, photographies with a personal camera is authorized for private use without flash. Some documents cannot be photographed for legal reasons: seek information in the room.
  • Access to internet, computerized catalogs, and online databases from a personal laptop or from the room’s computer stations.
  • Consultation material: to preserve collections, pencils, futons and book snakes to keep the books in the right position are offered. Research assistance by the Performing Arts Department staff on how to use online catalogs, non-cataloged documents, help in targeting research.
  • Specific help to prepare your first visit in the reading room:
  • Presentation of heritage collections, meetings with researchers and performing arts professionals on the ‘Mardis des Arts du spectacle’ (On tuesdays, once per trimester, free access, 6 pm).


A lounging space is available for readers offering periodicals and consultation of informative documents (representations, BnF and partner events.


Noteworthy collections

Part of the collection is not yet referenced in online catalogs: catalogs and inventories on paper are available freely for some collections and archive collections.

  • The methodical inventories of the Auguste Rondel collection provide a way to complete the research on the BnF general catalog, thanks to a classification by performing arts fiels and by shlef numbers: French theaters, history of theater, foreign theater, music, opera, dance, mime,  balls, carnivals, marionettes, song, music-hall, circus, sports, pyrotechnics, celebrations and court spectacles, cinema, press collection, manuscripts etc.
  • Inventories of archival funds which are being processed or which are not mentioned in online catalogs




A video presentation of the reading room [in French]

Le département des Arts du spectacle La Mandarine. © BnF, 2016 Durée : 4mn36

Renovated within the Richelieu Project, the Department of Performing Arts offers newly restaured venues to the public, opened in december 2016 : the modern reading room, designed by architects Bruno Gaudin and Virginie Bréal, a new exhibition room, the ‘Rotunda of Performing Arts’, and the ‘Galerie Auguste Rondel’, a superb storeroom constructed by Henri Labrouste. Joël Huthwohl, the department’s  director, presents this new fitting, evoking the rich and varied collections of the department.


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