Philippe Quesne

Philippe Quesne is a director, scenographer, and plastic artist. He likes to compare his shows to a series of entomological studies in which human beings can be observed moving, as in under a microscope. With his company, which he made the point of calling Vivarium Studio, creating shows which explore utopian worlds, as in the dreams of flying of La Démangeaison des ailes (2003), the whimsical amusement park of La Mélancolie des dragons (Festival d’Avignon, 2008), or the musical moles of La Nuit des taupes (2016).

He explores a theatre in which the text is a composition element among others, sculpting his themes more than writing them, finding inspiration in painting and graphic arts as well as in the vagaries of the real and the collective creation. A plastic artist by training who started his career as a set designer, Philippe Quesne turns the stage into a natural milieu that contains a power of reference and with which a group of characters, placid or idealistic artists, often accompanied by a dog, are confronted. Whether in shows, performances or installations in the public space and on natural sites, he constantly queries the political power of the group, bringing together people having the same ideals as his. Running counter to any classic dramaturgy, Vivarium Studio's plays work on a theatre presence whose organic nature covers a teeming life whose contours are almost fantastic. Composed of insignificant gestures and ordinary rituals, they present small, derisory, playful ceremonies but ones that are highly symptomatic of our society's failings.

Spectators already discovered the theatre of Philippe Quesne and Vivarium Studio at the Festival d'Avignon in 2004 with Experiences, in 2008 with The Effect of Serge and The Melancholy of Dragons, in 2010 with Big Bang and finally Swamp Club in 2013. Director of Nanterre-Amandiers from 2014 to 2020, Philippe Quesne is now the director of the Ménagerie de Verre.

Portrait of Philippe Quesne © Amélie Blanc