JA C Q U E S C O P E AU E N T E R E D P R O F E S S I O N A L theatre as a practitionerrelatively late in life: he was thirty-two years old when he first became involved in directing his own adaptation of Dostoevski’s The Brothers Karamazov, and it was not until two years later that he finally relinquished a promising literary career for a hazardous theatrical one. In 1913, with the help of friends from the Nouvelle Revue Français (of which he was a founder and the first editor), he set up the Théâtre du Vieux Colombier on the left bank of the Seine. The building had previously been a variety hall called l’Athénée St-Germain. Copeau not only renamed it – with deliberate simplicity – after the street in which it sat, but also stripped out its tawdry hangings and gilded plaster-work, and eventually even its proscenium arch.