The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Archive Index Home
Jul. 18, 2012
Presenter  Topics
66th Festival of Avignon opens (July 7 – 28, 2012)
One of the most important events on the annual international performing arts calendar, the Festival of Avignon, opened on July 7th. The theme of the 2012 festival is “complicity.” Now in its 66th year and widely recognized as the largest and most influential festivals of its type in the world, this year’s Avignon program features 37 stage works, 13 concerts and five exhibitions by an impressive slate of recognized masters and emerging young artists.
This year’s Associate Artist, who determines the program’s direction along with festival directors Vincent Baudriller and Hortense Archambault, is British director and actor Simon McBurney. Known to Japanese audiences for his stage adaptations of literary works like Haruki Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes and Junichiro Tanizaki’s Shun-kin, McBurney presents a stage adaptation of the novel The Master and Margarita by the representative 20th-century Russian author Mikhaïl Boulgakov.
The theater program is highlighted by a number of works that pursue reality in the context of a variety of prominent issues in the world today. They include The Merchant's Contracts. An Economic Comedy by director Nicolas Stemann, known for his treatments of economic crisis and capitalism, and Thalia Theater; 15% by Bruno Meyssat; Los Santos Inocentes, the first work of a trilogy by the Colombian theater company Mapa Teatro dealing with that nation’s political issues; 33 Rounds and Few Seconds by Lina Saneh and Rabih Mroué dealing with the Middle East issues as relating to Lebanon and Ten Billion, a work dealing with the world population issue by British director Katie Mitchell in collaboration with scientists in the field.
Other prominent works on the program are as follows:
Forced Entertainment’s The Coming Storm
Thomas Ostermeier’s Ein Volksfeind (An Enemy of the People)
William Kentridge’s Refuse the Hour
Christoph Marthaler’s Meine Faire Dame. Ein Sprachlabor (My Fair Lady. A Language Lab)
Romeo Castellucci’s The Four Seasons Restaurant
Jérôme Bel’s Disabled Theater
Josef Nadj’s Atem (the breath)
This year’s SUJETS À VIF program presents eight performances as the product of collaborations by writers, directors and choreographers, and a CINEMATOGRAPHIC TERRITORIES film program is also presented as in years past. As a special 2012 event will be held at Cour d’Honneur of the Pope’s Palace to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the festival’s founder, Jean Vilar.

Festival Outline
Launched in 1947 in the small city of Avignon in southern France, 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 participate in selecting the next festival’s program. In recent years, the program includes about 40 works performed at some 20 venues around the city, with Cour d’Honneur of the Pope’s Palace and Carrière de Boulbon quarry as two 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, as was the case with the works of Jan Fabre in 2005.
See also “Presenter Interview” on this website.
+Festival d'Avignon