Amateurs and creation

The Festival d’Avignon gives citizens the opportunity to take part in each of its editions by lending their voices or becoming part of a group to testify of the vitality that comes with being together, but also of the power of singularities. It can be a dramatic series in the garden of the Ceccano library every day of the Festival or works that put at their centre the fragility and sincerity of testimonies… a way of experiencing the Festival from the inside, of walking along all its geography and to give intensely to the public.

AMATEURS AND CREATION

Dramatic series

69th edition // Plato’s Republic

In 2015, the Festival d’Avignon launched Alain Badiou’s series Plato’s Republic. This project, which brought together artists and the inhabitants of Avignon for reading sessions, transformed the Ceccano garden and turned Plato’s Republic into a daily philosophical event. Every day at the same time throughout the Festival, citizens of all ages and all social, geographical, and cultural backgrounds read this Republic, which brought them together within this long-term shared project. For the scenography and direction, Alain Badiou called on three seasoned professionals: Valérie Dréville, Didier Galas, and Grégoire Ingold, with the help of the student-actors of the ERACM (École régionale d’acteurs de Cannes-Marseille) who, starting in February, worked with the future readers on public speaking and reading. Over 7,000 spectators took part in this philosophical and political journey.

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Plato's Republic

70th edition // The Sky, the Night, and the Glorious Stone. Chronicles of the Festival d’Avignon from 1947 to... 2086

The relationship between the Festival d’Avignon and its public is at the heart of Thomas Jolly and his company La Piccola Familia’s project. For the 70th edition, he imagined a play in episodes in which stories by spectators mix with critical texts and with the history of the Festival, “in order to tell the story of this celebration of theatre, this unique moment of sharing.” Spectacular moments and daily events, successes and failures, explorations of mythic locations, human tragedies, stories by spectators and critical texts… here, everything became story, image, song, and improvisation. To see this project through, the director asked his partners to lead workshops based on testimonies collected live, via social networks, or thanks to a phone number the public could call.

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The Sky, the Night and the Glorious Stone

71st edition // We’ll have everything

The idea behind this project was to explore the guiding principle of the Festival around “art and the value of being together,” by giving Christine Taubira the opportunity to choose authors and texts, all vectors of emancipation and struggle for rights, with Anne-Laure Liégeois to accompany about forty men and women aged 10 to 77 who volunteered to read and share this unique philosophical, literary and political selection. Articles, poems, essays, fiction, written by men and women of letters or power, philosophers or judges, were read and embodied by citizens within a public garden turned auditorium, amphitheatre, and platform made of trestles, to become the place where politics and theatre are brothers. The Ceccano garden became the stage and agora where a series about the struggle through words could unfold… We’ll have everything brought together over 8,000 spectators. Extracts made available online for those who couldn’t attend the series were seen over 8,500 times.  

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We'll have everything

72nd edition // Ladies, Gentlemen, and the rest of the world

David Bobée chose to unfold in the Ceccano garden the misinterpretations, taboos, and preconceived ideas about a useful concept to rethink the right to non-discrimination, that of gender. Working from sociological research and a corpus of literary and poetic texts, the director invited over 70 citizens aged 13 to 84 to embody this most vibrant modern debate. When sensitivity and personal histories are told to help understand daily constraints and learned and unconscious “norms,” but also and above all to celebrate the beauty of diversity, to un-gender to be free together. 6,700 spectators came together in the Ceccano garden, while the series had over 156,000 hits on Facebook Live over the course of three weeks.

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Ladies, Gentlemen, and the rest of the world

73rd edition // The Odyssey

In 2019, the Festival d’Avignon asked Blandine Savetier to direct its dramatic series. For this project in 13 episodes, she chose Homer’s Odyssey, which fit the theme of that edition perfectly. Along with actors from the Ier Acte programme, she worked with ordinary citizens and theatre lovers. In order to give many different voices a chance to speak, as in Ulysses’s own adventures, she worked with amateurs with the help of the Rosmerta association, the Maison pour tous Monfleury, the Réseau Éducation Sans frontiers, the Mission locale, and the Centre social Croix des oiseaux.

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The Odyssey

For the past 4 years, this project of the Festival d’Avignon has been conducted in collaboration with colleges, secondary schools, and associations from the region, with the Aix-Marseille and Nice regional education authorities, and thanks to the support of the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, of The Préfecture de Vauclsue, of the Fondation SNCF.

Straight To the heart

A teacher and psycho-motor therapist by training, Thierry Thieû Niang is first and foremost a choreographer who has long created spaces in which everyone is free to exist with everyone else. For the 70th edition of the Festival d’Avignon, he surrounded himself with young Avignonnais aged 8 to 18, with whom he worked throughout the year. Straight to the heart was presented in three venues of the Festival: the Chartreuse of Villeneuve lez Avignon, the Collection Lambert, and the chapelle des Pénitents blancs.

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2014 as possibilities

2014 as possibilities is the second part of a series begun in 2013 focusing on the theme of “Adolescence and Territory/ies,” in which Didier Ruiz saw his intuition confirmed: the territories at stake in words are much more personal than geographical. Moving this project to Avignon’s southern neighbourhoods created possibilities that transcended the simple inside/outside dichotomy. The ramparts on which stood the fifteen teenagers from Avignon weren’t made out of stone. They are the walls that make mental spaces smaller, that trap thought within prejudices, that make the young think that the questions they ask themselves aren’t shared by people of all ages, or that they don’t deserve to be heard. After a year of workshopping, the show was performed at the 68th edition of the Festival in the Chartreuse of Villeneuve lez Avignon.

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A Lad's Word

A Lad’s Word is about those words men use when they have been taught not to be a gonzesse, a chick, but a gonz, a lad, a man, a warrior. By bringing together paroles and the slang term gonz, Nadjette Boughalem knew exactly what she was looking for: to collapse two realities which rarely cohabit. Working with amateur actors, she asks us this question: how to “be” without being disowned by your own? In the Champfleury and Monclar neighbourhoods in Avignon, where she used to work as a community organiser, the director brought many inhabitants to the theatre. The Maison pour Tous de Champfleury, residences at the FabricA and the programme of the Festival d’Avignon are her favourite playgrounds. A Lad’s Word played at the Maison Jean Vilar during the 72nd edition of the Festival d’Avignon.

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