A visit to the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen is always an evocative experience: the atmosphere, the lighting, the sense of a bygone age.

Project: Refurbishment of the auditorium ceiling and chandelier shaft

Grant: EUR 1.1 million

Following radical restoration in 2016, the grand ceiling appears even loftier in the exquisite Gammel Scene ('old stage') auditorium.
Nine colourful muses of the performing arts, who until recently led a shadowy existence on the vaulted ceiling of the house, are once again visible in all their glory, now that the enormous chandelier can be lowered to cast its light above and

Static existence

The chandelier itself led a static existence for more than a century in its 'cupola' because the manual hoisting mechanisms were jammed by rust.
Under the supervision of experts from the National Museum of Denmark, the ceiling has been given a new lease of life following its restoration. The painted muses have been cleaned so their bright colours radiate, and they are once again surrounded by gleaming gilded stucco. Gone is the grey film from the fat cigars that in an earlier age were lit, smoked and savoured during the performances. The beholder can now see why the ceiling of the Gammel Scene stage at the playhouse is known as 'Museloftet', the muses' ceiling. What the audiences will be blithely unaware of high above their heads is the replacement of the chandelier's suspension structure from the ancient timber loft above, right up under the theatre's roof, with steel and modern hydraulics, and that this upper recess has now also been securely fire-proofed.
The new and the old have been united to perfection for staging new sensations at this heritage playhouse. /

Want to know more about VILLUM FONDENs support to Culture and Society? 

Signe Staubo Sørensen
Senior Adviser, Head of Programme, Event Coordinator, VILLUM FONDEN
+ 45 24 44 10 50