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Published on : Monday, November 4, 2013
Once upon a time, ‘a night at the opera’ in Seychelles, meant a night at Les Palmes Theatre. It was here that one could discover the artistic and acting skills of local actors and actresses, in local productions of Molière and Shakespeare.
It was here that school children also treaded the boards in various delightful pantomimes especially during the Christmas season. This simple enough looking building doesn’t have any outstanding or distinguishing features, but it does have quite an interesting history.
It was at Les Palmes Theatre that teenage girls and boys revelled in the luxury of eurhythmics. The very place where a different generation of teenagers onced thrilled the crowds in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ etc, and where many years before, during the Second World War, three scores of unfortunate German P.O.W’s spent many weeks in limbo – relieved at having been rescued but also tormented by the uncertainty of their fate, and sentiments of heimweh (home sickness).
For the re-opening of the Les Palmes Theatre during the 2013 Kreol Festival, the theatre was once again able to show its magic with a spectacular poetry recital. Six renowned Seychellois poets Martie Clarisse, Edwin Henriette, Tony Joubert (alia Ras Pyek), Michel Savy, Stephanie Joubert and Giovannie Ally were joined by Maristha Sadehe from La Reunion Island and they provided in this great small theatre entertainment often so missed in Seychelles. The “love manuscript” acts for the evening were directed by Christian Servina.
The much loved National Choir of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture under the leadership of Madame Lownam also entertained the evening performance marking the reopening of the Les Palmes Theatre at Mont Fleuri.It was Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture who was given the honour to officially re-open the Les Palmes Theatre.
Minister St.Ange re-traced the history of the building and said that it would now be a venue that would be used to bring Seychelles music, dancing and culture to be seen by visitors and also to ensure that it is better appreciated by our own population.Les Palmes theatre was built in the early 1930’s as an establishment to accommodate visitors. Tall oil palm growing nearby prompted the name Hotel des Palmes.
On the 8th May 1941 when a German Warship Penguin was cruising the waters close to then island of Farquhar, it was blown up and sunk by HMS Cornwall. Fifty German Officers survived and were transported to Mahé and lodged under strict security here at the Hotel des Palmes. A high fence was erected around the compound to deter any ‘adventurous inclinations’.
From 1955 to 1960 the building served as an institution for the religious and pedagogical training of Seychellois students who aspired to join the Brothers of Christian Instruction.
Source:- Seychelles Tourism