The enclosure itself was replaced in the 19th century by a little vineyard and an orchard. The first theatre was inaugurated in july, 1908. Since then it was rebuilt and remodelled several times.
The seats are not particularly comfortable, and it is always a good idea to bring a pillow when you want to see a show.
The "Grand Théâtre de la Cité" is a huge amphitheatre that can welcome more than 3000 people. The stage is exceptional, its background is nothing else than the southern fortification. The dressing rooms of the artists are in the towers on both sides of the stage. Which theatre in the world could glorify to have a stage dating back from the Middle Ages ?
The Grand Théâtre enjoyed a great fame at the beginning of the 20th century. Carcassonne was then a very fashionable place where the international high society liked to stop between a vacation in Biarritz and another on the Côte d'Azur, the French Riviera. The most prestigious names came here... Sarah Bernhardt among others.
The situation changed with the years. The programmes of the Summer Festival in July are not very innovative or audacious, but nevertheless the Theatre welcomes famous French and international stars. The eclectism of the shows could surprise many visitors, there is everything for everybody : rock 'n' roll, classical music, opera, ballet, modern dance, rap, traditional folk song, dramatic works, etc...
In August the Theatre is the scene of medieval shows and reconstitutions.
The concerts and the evening shows are all performed by amateurs, Carcassonne's inhabitants who want to give a part of their time to visitors and tourists. They prepare and rehearse the plays several months before (I know it, I did it myself !!) and present every year a creation.
The plays always have something to do with our local history, the Crusade, the Cathars, the Inquisition, the Viscounts of Carcassonne, etc... Although it is made by people who are not professionals, the shows are generally brilliant !