National theatre of France. The world's longest-established national theatre, it was founded in 1680 by the merger of two theatrical companies in Paris, one of them the troupe that had worked under Molière. The French Revolution divided the company's loyalties, and the revolution's supporters, led by François-Joseph Talma, moved to the theatre's present home in 1791. The company was reconstituted in 1803. Under its rules of organization, established by Napoleon in 1812, its members share responsibilities and profits. Its illustrious actors have included Sarah Bernhardt and Jean-Louis Barrault. The theatre is known for productions of the French classics, though it also performs contemporary plays.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Com{eacute}die-Fran{ccedil}aise, visit

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