63rd Festival d'Avignon
7-29 July 2009

The festival programme has been conceived together with this year's associate artist: playwright and director Wajdi Mouawad. During our dialogue over the last two years we talked about the importance of telling stories and about memory, about theatre, painting and literature, we explored our respective relationship with a world in turmoil. We also travelled together to significant places of his own story, from Beyrouth to Montreal, he told us about his Lebanese childhood during the war, his exile to France then Quebec, about the anger burning inside him when confronted to the incoherence of the world.

Enriched by this dialogue, we invited artists to come and create new pieces of work for the 63rd edition of the festival. Now, as each one of these projects is coming to life, strong resonances emerge with the issues raised by recent events; the upheaval in Madagascar, the youth protests in Greece, the deaths in Gaza, the financial crisis and its serious social consequences, the election of Barack Obama.

Telling stories makes Man more human and helps him comprehend the world and fight the temptation of amnesia. Stories have inhabited theatre stages since the origins, they've bound us together but we've also learnt to be wary of them, particularly when they carry nothing but certainties, or when the emotions they generate are instrumentalised by economic, political or religious powers.

Our experiences as an audience, this summer, will be fed by multiple stories, fictions and documentaries. Artists from different geographical -Canada and the Mediterranean- as well as artistic territories, will come to share with us their questionings on the state of the world. We'll hear many languages: Polish, Arabic, Spanish... and French spreading several continents. We'll see texts - from Greek tragedy to contemporary drama - cross with choreography, visual arts and also, this year, with cinema.

In the difficult times our societies are going through, we want this festival to be creative and impertinent, angry and enthusiastic and, in all cases, alive. We are expecting you, artists and audiences, in Avignon this summer, to make theatre happen and testify together of its necessity, its diversity and its vitality.

Hortense Archambault, Vincent Baudriller
Avignon, March 12th 2009