BACK TO THE FESTIVAL D'AVIGNON 2012
- LE FESTIVAL D'AVIGNON
- ARTISTIC PROJECT
A popular and contemporary artistic adventure. Founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar, the Avignon Festival is today one of the most important contemporary performing arts events in the world. Every year in July, Avignon becomes a city-theater, transforming its architectural heritage into various performance venues, majestic or surprising, welcoming tens of thousands of theater-lovers (over 130,000 admissions) of all ages. Its legendary space is the "Cour d'honneur" (main courtyard) of the Popes' Palace, the heart of outdoor performances, before nearly 2,000 spectators, on summer nights in Provence. The spectators, often on vacation and far from home, spend several days in Avignon and see a few of the 40 or so shows, mostly plays and dance recitals and occasionally concerts or plastic arts events. The Festival successfully brings together a general public and international creation for an original alliance. Avignon is also a state of mind: the city is an open-air forum where festival-goers discuss the shows and share their experiences as spectators. For a month, everyone can have access to a contemporary and living culture.
The Festival is made-up of performances selected by the artistic direction. Each year since 2004, the Festival takes shape with the collaboration of an artist mapping an art territory. It is the Associate Artist's own questions, techniques and enthusiasm rather than his own creations which inspire the overall programme. The Festival management chose as associate artists : Thomas Ostermeier in 2004, Jan Fabre in 2005, Josef Nadj in 2006, Frédéric Fisbach in 2007, Valérie Dréville and Romeo Castellucci in 2008, Wajdi Mouawad in 2009, Olivier Cadiot and Christoph Marthaler in 2010, Boris Charmatz in 2011 and Simon McBurney in 2012. The adventure of Festival d'Avignon goes on in 2013 with Dieudonné Niangouna and Stanislas Nordey.
Once the programme is established, it finally comes as a result of the work of about thirty artistic teams throughout the Festival, with one or several performances, and also readings, exhibitions, films and debates, all of which are gateways into these artists' own world. Each year, the Festival takes risks and each year that risk is shared with the artists. Every evening during the Festival, there is at least one show première, making Avignon a place of true creation and adventure for the artists as well as for the audience.
The Festival's artistic director chooses the artists and their projects. There is neither selection committee, nor pre-conceived application form to fill in for the Festival.
The Festival's directors are appointed by the board, and have to be formally approved by the Mayor of Avignon and the French Culture Ministry. Since Jean Vilar, the artistic director has been entirely free to draw his or her programme up and all the public bodies involved always respected this independence, regardless of their political leanings.