The Glass Hall Theatre

The Glass Hall Theatre (1946, Poul Henningsen) was rebuilt in the style of the former buildings after the German counter-sabotage (the Schalburgtage) against Tivoli in 1944.

Popular Danish actors and international stars have performed here. Divan 1 (currently vacant) and Divan 2 (currently Gemyse) still flank the building. The ceramic basins (1985) in front of the hall were created by Lin Utzon.

Worth knowing


    Originally, The Glass Hall Theatre was Tivoli's Concert Hall. In 1902, the building was named The Glass Hall Theatre, when Tivoli opened the large Moorish Concert Hall in the spot where the current Concert Hall is located. 

    The pavilion-like building with the dome has been developed in several stages. In 1863, the architect Stillman was responsible for the reconstruction of the original Concert Hall - in fact, pretty much a new building. The result was a very exotic appearance, an octagonal building with oriental entrances and a curved dome on the roof. In 1898, this dome was replaced with a convex dome (as seen today) and an exterior pergola was added to the building. In 1943, Poul Henningsen (PH) was responsible for a thorough renovation of the building, which burnt down during the Schalburgtage (German counter-sabotage). In 1946, the Glass Hall Theatre was rebuilt according to PH's drawings and was again used as a Concert Hall until 1956, when it was refurbished as a theatre hall. From 1998 to the present, work has been done to improve the conditions of the Hall, as audiences used to struggle to see the stage because of the many columns. 

    It was in the Glass Hall Theatre that Leo Mathisen played jazz during World War II, while the young people danced along. In 1957 and 1958, a revue was played, which featured Osvald Helmuth as the co-director and leading man. Osvald Helmuth classics, such as Brev til Bulganin (1957) and Vi har det - åh-åh, så dejligt (1958), were first performed at these revues, as well as the monologue, Poesiens blå blomst (Poetry's blue flower), 1957, performed by Bodil Udsen. 

    From 1959-72, international entertainment was featured at the Glass Hall Theatre, which became known as the Tivoli Varieté. Preben Uglebjerg presented Marlene Dietrich, Mills Brothers and Eartha Kitt, among others, and Otto Lington's orchestra played. 
    Since then, theatrical performances, revues and comedy shows have replaced one another at the Glass Hall Theatre. Concerts are also still held here. Big names from the Danish revue's golden age have also performed on the Glass Hall Theatre's stage, including Jørgen Ryg, Lisbet Dahl, Ulf Pilgaard, Claus Ryskjær, and the greatest of them all: Dirch Passer. As many will remember, Dirch Passer fell ill while performing in the Tivoli Revue in 1980 and died shortly after.


    Tivoli managed to remain open throughout the occupation. However, the Gardens did not survive the war unscathed. On the night between 24 and 25 June 1944, the Peter group of the Schalburgtage Corps forced its way into Tivoli and planted several bombs which caused a great deal of damage. 

    Many of the buildings burnt down or were completely destroyed: The Tivoli Concert Hall, the Glass Hall Theatre, the Arena, and nearly all the buildings positioned at the back of the Gardens that had been adapted for rides and games. The Roller Coaster was also damaged, but The Pantomime Theatre escaped because the bomb planted there did not explode. 

    There were several reasons why Tivoli was chosen as the target. On the one hand, Tivoli was popular among the public, so the attack on Tivoli touched a nerve in the Danish people. On the other hand, during Kjeld Abell's directorship, Tivoli had become a modern, indeed almost cultural-radical, enterprise, with Poul Henningsen as the chief architect and Leo Mathisen as the conductor at The Glass Hall Theatre where people did danced to jazz music and did the jitterbug. Moreover, Tivoli's finance director, Victor Lemkow, was of Jewish descent. 

    In spite of the massive destruction, the Nazis were not able to wipe Tivoli off the map. The Gardens closed for 14 days; they were tidied and new, temporary buildings were erected. Then, Tivoli re-opened. Ironically, the episode has probably been instrumental in Tivoli still being so faithful to the original concept. In the years between the wars, Tivoli's popularity declined. The Danes felt that the Gardens were old-fashioned and unsuitable for a modern metropolis like Copenhagen. There were many suggestions for using the land for other purposes and moving Tivoli to an area outside the city. When it was time to rebuild Tivoli after the war, the mood had changed and people were interested in recovering what they had lost.