Theatre Research International

Articles

The Grand-Guignol: Aspects of Theory and Practice

Richard J. Hand and Michael Wilson

The Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Paris (1897–1962) achieved a legendary reputation as the ‘Theatre of Horror’, a venue displaying such explicit violence and blood-curdling terror that a resident doctor was employed to treat the numerous spectators who fainted each night. Indeed, the phrase ‘grand-guignolesque’ has entered the language to describe any display of heightened, remorseless horror. Such is the myth of the Grand-Guignol: the reality is subtler and far more complex.