FINAL REPORT OF THE 66th FESTIVAL D'AVIGNON - OCTOBER 2012
The associate artist of this 66th Festival is the actor and director Simon McBurney. After studying with Jacques Lecoq in Paris, he returned to London where he founded his company Complicite, which knows no bounds, either geographic or artistic. Each of his creations is an opportunity to bring together collaborators using all the media possible: words, often adapted from literature, bodies, gestures, images and music. Together they find a common language by creating an iconoclastic and moving theatre. Simon McBurney's choice to adapt, for the Cour d'honneur of the Popes' Palace, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov shows his desire to stage rich and lively stories in which different times and imaginative worlds intertwine, and to consider the theatre above all as a place for invention and commitment.
He shares this approach with the English writer John Berger, whose presence will also mark this Festival. Through his writings, he uncompromisingly tells about man and his capacity to love, society and its injustice, or works of art and their mysterious power.
The spirit of “complicity” will cross this Festival, to which we have invited artists from different horizons who, by inventing their own theatre, question us about its foundations:
- a theatre that asks itself what a contemporary form is, with plays from the repertory revisited by Arthur Nauzyciel or Stéphane Braunschweig, current texts written by Guillaume Vincent and Christophe Honoré, including another play that will be staged by Éric Vigner, theatre performances like the one proposed by the Forced Entertainment group;
- a theatre in tune with reality to talk about the deviations of financial systems with Nicolas Stemann and Bruno Meyssat, political violence in Colombia with the Mapa Teatro, in Lebanon with Lina Saneh and Rabih Mroué, at the borders of Europe with Fanny Bouyagui, environmental risks with Katie Mitchell, and Thomas Ostermeier, who will stage Henrik Ibsen;
- a theatre in which music enriches dramaturgy as much as words and images, as in Christoph Marthaler, William Kentridge, the 1927 company and Séverine Chavrier's work;
- a theatre that draws its narrative strength from contemporary literature, whether it is that of J. M. Coetzee for Kornél Mundruczó, David Peace for Jean-François Matignon or Elfriede Jelinek, W. G. Sebald or the Nouveau roman;
- plays inspired by the visual and performance arts, offering moments of new sensitive experiences as in Markus Öhrn, Romeo Castellucci, Steven Cohen, Jérôme Bel and Romeu Runa, and Sophie Calle's exhibition;
- and plays that find, in the body and choreography, a way to reflect on what brings us together and what sets us apart as with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Josef Nadj, Olivier Dubois, Régine Chopinot, Nacera Belaza and La Revue Éclair.
These artists are attempting to make performance a space for risks and sharing. Undoubtedly, this is also what led Jean Vilar to invent, in 1947, his own theatre in the Cour d'honneur of the Palais des papes, and then, after he decided to stop staging in the mid-1960s, to invite to the Festival other bold artists whose aesthetics were often very different from his. We will celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth with a show by the KompleXKapharnaüM company, and with the Maison Jean Vilar.
The drawing on the cover of this pre-programme comes from the artist William Kentridge's rehearsal sketchbook. For us, it expresses the courage needed to freely build reflection and to give this reflection a voice. Once again, this summer, we would like the Festival to be a place where this freedom can be exercised, for artists as well as spectators.
We're expecting you.
Hortense Archambault and Vincent Baudriller
Avignon, 5 March 2012
FINAL REPORT OF THE 66th FESTIVAL D'AVIGNON - OCTOBER 2012
2012 FIRST REPORT
66th Festival d'Avignon
7-28 July 2012
The 66th Festival d'Avignon ended on 28 July 2012.
The Off went on until this same date.
Like the work of the associate artist, the British director Simon McBurney, this Festival crossed theatre and literature, body and words, visual arts and music, going beyond artistic as well as geographic borders.
The energy of creation fertilized the Festival d'Avignon. Out of 42 shows (apart from the eight creations of the Sujets à Vif), 28 were premieres, six of them were performed in France for the first time, 16 were performed in foreign languages with French supertitles. These shows, conceived by artists of different generations and countries, all took up the stage with commitment and real freedom, questioning what theatre is today.
It is precisely through this question, put into perspective by the philosopher Alain Badiou, that the Theatre of Ideas opened. Based on the dialogues between intellectuals, this cycle of encounters contributed to enlightened on certain notions raised by the programme: otherness, time, the economic and ecological crises.
The Festival d'Avignon once again asserted itself as a place of artistic risk-taking, dialogue and openness to a broad audience, in line with the approach of Jean Vilar when he founded the Festival in 1947 and then transformed it in 1966 and 1967 by opening it to multiple artistic forms. We celebrated the centennial of his birth with a free show created by KompleXKapharnaüM. Offered on 14 July in front of the Popes' Palace, Place Public welcomed over 8,000 spectators who, through this show, were able to better understand and query the heritage of the Festival's founder.
The Festival d'Avignon is also a forum where cultural policy questions are notably discussed. This 66th Festival received the visit of the president of the French Republic, François Hollande, a visit of great symbolic importance as it was the first since 1981. He notably took the time to meet with the Festival's management and artists during a dinner, accompanied by the minister of Work, Employment, Professional Training and Social Dialogue, Michel Sapin, and the minister of Culture and Communication, Aurélie Filippetti, who moreover came to the Festival on several occasions. The Festival also welcomed the European commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou as well as many elected officials and regional and local administration representatives.
For the seventh consecutive year, global attendance passed 90%. By this day, 135,800 tickets have been delivered, corresponding to an attendance rate of 94%. Once again, the audience massively showed its desire to take part to the Festival by investing all the debate and meeting places proposed (11,000 admissions were notably recorded at the École d'Art).
The Festival team continued its actions of opening to new audiences, in particular by organizing, with the Ceméa, the stay of 780 secondary school students from all over France, and by continuing its collaboration with the penitentiary centre of Avignon-Le Pontet where Juliette Binoche, Simon McBurney and John Berger read Berger's novel, De A à X, presented two days earlier in the Cour d'honneur. Moreover, the Festival d'Avignon strengthened its links with local associations by imagining with them the itineraries of young people and adults who are not used to going the Festival and who are notably living in the Monclar and Champfleury districts.
La FabricA, the rehearsal and residence centre of the Festival d'Avignon, is being built at the intersection of these two Avignon districts. This building will open in July 2013 for the next Festival for which Hortense Archambault and Vincent Baudriller have chosen two associate artists: the author, actor and director Dieudonné Niangouna, and the actor and director Stanislas Nordey.
Avignon, 28 July 2012