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Jul. 22, 2013
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Leading theater showcase 67th Avignon Festival opens (July 5 – 26, 2013)
With the announcement, “Open!” the 2013 Avignon theater festival (Festival d’Avignon) gets underway. A grand spectacle by Group F, known for their fireworks performances, inaugurates the newly completed FabricA, the rehearsal and residence venue of Festival d’Avignon that was the dream of the festival’s founder, Jean Vilar. This 67th holding of the festival marks the end of the term of directorship for Vincent Baudriller and Hortense Archambault, who have directed the festival since 2004. Their final program is an impressive one featuring many of the artists they brought to Avignon over the past decade.
The associate artists responsible for setting the direction of this year’s program are the mainstay French actor and director Stanislas Nordey and the author, actor and director Dieudonné Niangouna of the Republic of the Congo. Nordey directs a new production of Petere Handke’s Par les villages (Walk about the Villages) at the Palais des Papes and he also co-directs with Michelle Kokosowski Élode du désordre et de la maîtrise (Praise of Disorder and Mastery) and performs as an actor in Anne Théron’s L’Argent. As for Niangouna, he directs an epic 4-hour production titled Shéda employing a deconstructionist type text combining the Congo’s official language, French and native Niari language, to which video and sound are added in free-form collage. He also brings to the program a number of other works by African artists. Also on the program, Faustin Linyekula of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire) presents a dance performance titled Drums and Digging; DeLaVallet Bidiefono uses voices and vibrant bodies to call up the so numerous dead in the civil war in the Republic of the Congo in the work Au-delà; Rimini Protokoll presents Lagos Business Angels set in a Nigerian trade fair; and Milo Rau presents Hate Radio, recounting the ordinary day of the journalists of a radio program during the 1993 genocide in Rwanda (a work that also appeared this year at SPAC in Japan).
Among the other performances are Jérôme Bel’s Cour d’honneur, a show staging spectators who themselves relate their memories of past performances at the Palais des Papes; Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Boris Charmatz dance together to the music of Bach in Partita 2; Nicolas Stemann presents Faust I+II; and Jan Lauwers and Needcompany stage Marketplace 76, a work depicting the aftermath of an explosion at a village marketplace that killed 80 people.
A special series of events titled “Des Artistes un jour au festival” brings together some 20 artists who have performed at the festival over the past decade, including Peter Brooke, Jan Fabre, Josef Nadj, Romeo Castellucci, Wajdi Mouawad, Patrice Chéreau and others who present theater works, film and readings. In the exhibition division, Sophie Calle presents a work titled Chambre 20 in the hotel room inhabited by the artist but also by the objects that she has arranged in it connected to key moments in her life. There will also be showings of filmed records of the works on many of the participating artists.

Festival Outline
Launched in 1947 in the small city of Avignon in southern France, the Avignon Festival (Festival d’Avignon) is one of the leading festivals in Europe in terms of the scale and number of new works premiering at it. The festival was founded by actor and director Jean Vilar. Since 2004, it has been headed by two directors, Hortense Archambault and Vincent Baudriller. The festival adopts an “associate artist” system under which a different artist is chosen every year to participate in the selection of the next festival’s program. In recent years, the program includes about 40 works performed at some 20 venues around the city, with the central court of the Palais des Papes and the 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.
+Festival d’Avignon