On June 24th2016, the very day the results of the EU referendum were made official, France inaugurated its first Elizabethan theatre at the Entente Cordiale cultural centre in Hardelot, Pas-de-Calais. Seating 388, the wooden building brings together the main architectural characteristics of the English Elizabethan theatre, with all the requirements of a 21st century cultural facility. Paris-based English architect Andrew Todd used the latest techniques (cross-laminated timber, natural ventilation, controlled natural light, mechanical articulation of the fore-stage revealing an orchestra pit... ) to create a 28m diameter wooden building on the side of the existing neo-gothic castle, gardens and medieval walls.

The Elizabethan theatre was built at the very heart of Shakespeare country in France. This has become even more obvious since the rediscovery in 2014 of a lost Shakespeare First Folio, one of the first complete compilations of his work, in Saint-Omer; just a short distance from the Channel. The village of Agincourt, the scene of the historic battle between France and England and the stage for his play, Henry V, is also located in Pas-de-Calais.

A little further north, between Guînes and Ardres, one of the most surprising gatherings in the history of Franco-British relations took place. In 1520, Henry VIII and his court arrived for two weeks of festivities and jousting matches with his French opposite number, François Ist.
For the occasion, Henry VIII built and transported from England, what experts have identified as the prototype for Shakespeare's theatre- a wooden O - a dismountable structure, made up of three galleries, covered by a canvas. 50 years later, the Elizabethan theatres appeared in London”.