top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Hi-tech specs give theatre in English

Augmented-reality glasses let theatre-goers enjoy live French performances in six languages

NON-FRENCH speakers can now enjoy Parisian theatre without the language barrier by using augmented-reality glasses that give a translation of the performance.

The hi-tech glasses give a synchronised translation of the dialogue and songs in performances of Mistinguett, Queen of the Cabaret at La Comedia theatre in the Paris 10th arrondissement from tomorrow until January 3.

Available in six languages, the technology is the brainchild of Theatre in Paris, a ‘surtitling’ company which already works with several Paris theatres.

Carl de Poncins co-founded of Theatre in Paris and said: “We are a service that is dedicated to the expatriate and foreign community, as well as tourists, allowing them to overcome the language barrier and experience Parisian life as a Parisian would.”

The innovative French technology has been created in partnership with digital services company Atos and eyewear company Optinvent.

Mr de Poncins has high hopes for the technology, which was first presented during the Avignon Festival this summer. He said: “It has the potential to be used in many entertainment venues, and we hope to expand to other theatres in 2016.”

He added: “While I was studying abroad in Oxford, I went to a Shakespeare performance and after a few minutes, said: what is ‘thou’? I know that even if you speak another language well, it’s sometimes hard to understand and get the most out of their theatre.”

The glasses are only useable by a limited number of spectators and the seats with the best viewpoints will be sold exclusively by Theatre in Paris to English-speakers and tourism professionals.

New cabaret musical launching this Sat! Dazzling dancing, vibrant voices, colourful costumes— Theatre in Paris (@_TheatreinParis) November 30, 2015

Theatre in Paris originally introduced ‘surtitling’ to Parisian stages in 2014, when English translations of the dialogue and songs were projected on discreet screens above the stage. Culture minister Fleur Pellerin and economy minister Emmanuel Macron were among the first to test the hi-tech glasses this year at the Avignon festival.

In the coming performances at La Comedia, the original ‘surtitling’ above the stage will also be shown at the same time due to the limited spaces where the glasses are available.

Other performances with ‘surtitling’ include the comedy The Lie at Théâtre Edouard VII, musical Irma la Douce at Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, Cyrano de Bergerac Théâtre de Renelagh and Around the World in 80 Days at the Théâtre du Splendid.

To book and for more information, visit

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France