In 1966, when he was completely rethinking the Festival d'Avignon that he had created 20 years earlier, Jean Vilar wrote: “A work and repetition place is what we lack the most at this time.” The necessity of this venue came directly from the founding idea of the Festival d'Avignon: being both the place for artistic creation and that of its access to the greatest number of people. Forty-seven years later, the Festival will open with the inauguration of the FabricA, a repetition and rehearsal venue in Avignon, located at the juncture of the Monclar and Champfleury districts. This venue will be able in the future, throughout the year, to welcome the Festival's guest teams. They will rehearse their creations there and can be involved in actions to raise the awareness of Avignon's inhabitants on art, and specifically the FabricA's neighbours. We launched this project eight years ago. It was designed by the architect Maria Godlewska, equally financed by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the city of Avignon, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region and the Vaucluse department, and built in a year by about 20 firms under the project leadership of the Festival.
If we have been able, these last 10 years, to turn our dreams into words and our words into acts, it is because we have been part of a strong history full of a “necessary utopia” to use Jean Vilar's words, because we moved to Avignon to work with and from this territory, and because there were several of us.
For our 10th Festival, it is in the company of two associate artists, Dieudonné Niangouna and Stanislas Nordey, through their viewpoints and our conversations, that we built a programme decidedly turned towards the future and young people. We invited artistic words that come from the outskirts of our cities or our continent that, in a dialogue with a certain European melancholy, powerfully represent today's world and make it possible to live in it.
Through his committed positions and risk-taking, as much artistically as politically, Stanislas Nordey has marked French theatre. Both a discoverer of texts, a director, actor and pedagogue, he always puts the actor at the centre of his approach. Also an actor, director and head of a troupe, Dieudonné Niangouna, from Brazzaville, is equally an author. He proposes a theatre of urgency, enriched by today's reality in the Congo after years of internal conflicts. Eruptive and carnal, his theatre writing is based on lively, scathing and reinvented words, a living language for the living.
The peripheral “districts”, Africa, young people... In preparing this Festival we were marked by these territories of otherness, enriched with an “other” energy: the one that provides the capacity of adaptation, that the shift and awareness of the expanse of the world, its possibilities and its future offer, that of those who create and move forward despite crises and conflicts. Territories often ignored because they force us to ask questions that should be clearly answered: why do we let the ferociousness of prevarication and abuses of power everywhere express themselves in this way? How does it happen that we are sometimes so struck with amnesia faced with history? What reflection of ourselves do we wish to ignore in denying the existence of the other?
Yet, it is sometimes a good thing to picture ourselves elsewhere, to reinvent practicable paths, to open windows and stop being afraid. We must continue to be able to express our anger, laugh at our fear, and vomit injustice. We must continue to dream of utopias and create them. We must continue to assert that things are still, always, unquestionably possible and put an end to this acknowledgement of impotence that lets us believe that there is no alternative in any domain – economic, political or personal.
Art, whether we practice it or look at it, gives us back this place of subject, which authorizes us to think about a destiny for and by ourselves.
We want to share incarnated and responsible words, which engage the one who utters them just like the one who listens to them. Words that flow to express the anger that sometimes invades us when we look at the world deep down, and that reject the bitterness of only being consoled by the existence of a greater destitution in our neighbour.
Poetic, melancholic or furious words, that wash away the feeling of malaise that is ever more perceptible, that reassure because we recognized something inexpressible in the other, that make it possible to once again and always feel alive, capable of loving, loudly protesting and inventing life.
Over the last few years, the Festival has grown alongside the many artists who have accompanied us and who have helped to give it its current face. Its success is due to their courage to come and premiere their shows here and the strong and active participation of the spectators, sharing the risk of their creation.
We would like to thank you for your confidence and your curiosity and we will be happy, with the entire Festival d'Avignon team, to experience this 67th Festival with you.
Hortense Archambault and Vincent Baudriller, directors
Avignon, 7 April 2013