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Festival d'Avignon opens on July 7 (until July 29, 2009)
 This year, the 63rd holding of the Avignon festival runs from July 7 to 29. Serving as associate artist this time is the Lebanese playwright and director Wajdi Mouawad, who emigrated originally to France and is now based in Canada. This year’s program features new works by leading artists including Jan Fabre, Maguy Malin and Krzysztof Warlikowski as well as premieres of new French works by artists such as Dave St-Pierre and Jan Lauwers / Needcompany. There will also be a quartet of works by Wajdi Mouawad himself (Littoral, Incendies, Forêts (parts 1,2,3) and Ciels (part 4).

This year’s program is unique for the large number of works dealing with the Arab world and its issues, such as the work Photo-Romance by Lina Saneh & Rabih Mrouè that portrays the encounter between an alienated housewife and a leftist former journalist in 2006, just after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Rabih Mroué work Á la recherche d’un employé disparu (Looking for a Missing Employee) which reveals the inner workings of Lebanese politics by following newspaper clippings about an incident of a missing civil servant and a play by the Israeli film-maker Amos Gitai titled La Guerre des fils de lumière contre les fils des ténèbres (The War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness) which takes its title from the Dead Sea scrolls. Also on the program is the new work Radio Muezzin by Stefan Kaegi / Rimini Protokoll that deals with the issues and personal stories involved in the elimination of the profession of muezzin, the men who call the faithful to prayer from the minarets of mosques in cities, to be replaced by recorded radio broadcasts of the call. In this work there are actual appearances by muezzin telling their own stories.

Festival Outline:
Launched in 1947, Festival d'Avignon is one of the leading festivals in Europe in terms of the scale and number of new works premiering at it. Since 2004 it has adopted an ”associate artist“ system under which a different artist is chosen every year to select the next festival’s program. In recent years, the program includes about 40 works performs at around 20 venues around the city, with the central court of the Palais des Papes and the Carrie`re de Boulbon quarry as tow of the main venues. Visitors during the festival total about 100,000 each year, a number roughly equal to the city’s population. The European press regularly publishes feature articles about the Avignon festival with daily critiques of the performances that at times spark large-scale debates in the theater world, such as was the case with the works of Jan Fabre in 2005.
+Festival d'Avignon
Dates: July 7 – 29, 2009
Venues: Palais des Papes, etc.