The 70th edition of the Festival... The past, the present, and the future collide to create this theatrical series in sixteen episodes that will chronicle the adventure that the Festival d'Avignon was, is, and will continue to be. Uninterested in institutional commemorations and in chronological recreations, the troupe of the Piccola Familia has answered the wishes of the Festival and will lead audiences, throughout this 70th edition, through the twists and turns of this artistic, cultural, political, and human adventure. An adventure that has always been first and foremost about the relationship with the public, that has always defended a popular and challenging theatre, open to all, regardless of the forms it takes. Spectacular moments and quotidian events, successes and failures, visits of mythical places, human tragedies, festivalgoer accounts, critical texts... Everything will be used to create stories, images, songs, and improvisations. To refrain from nothing in order to preserve what has made the Festival d'Avignon what it is, such is the idea the Piccola Familia has had in order to tell the story of this celebration of theatre, of this unique moment of sharing. Of course, through the crises that have punctuated this history, it is another, vaster history that is reflected, that of mentalities and of our relationship to art. It is by accepting to change that the Festival has endured, and it is the children of Avignon who will be tasked with telling us how to continue to dream it for years to come.
La Piccola Familia
In 2006, ten years ago, a group of young comedians discovered they shared affinities and decided to work together. What they mostly rejected was the inherent isolation of their profession, deciding instead to create a small family in which they would do research together, build together, unlearn and learn again together. From those desires arose a common language that has since structured every single one of their artistic projects. Aged 20 to 25 then, they also enjoyed individual adventures that would then enrich their work together. It isn't a collective but a family Thomas Jolly thus created: La Piccola Familia. Since then, over 70 people have taken part in their different shows: Marivaux's Arlequin poli par l'amour (Harlequin, Refined by Love); Sacha Guitry's Toâ, which received the audience award at the Festival Impatience 2009; Mark Ravenhill's pool (no water); H6m2, based on William Shakespeare; Shakespeare's Henry VI, an eighteen-hour-long odyssey that played at the Festival d'Avignon in 2014; Julie Lerat-Gersant's L'Affaire Richard (The Richard Affair); the digital installation R3m3, based on Shakespeare; and Shakespeare's Richard III (2015). Through those shows, the Piccola Familia has always wanted to reiterate the political role of the theatre, its mission as a public utility.
In 2015, the Festival d'Avignon launched Alain Badiou's series Plato's Republic. This project, which brought together artists and people from Avignon around a public reading, transformed the Ceccano garden and turned The Republic into a daily philosophical event. For its 70th edition, the Festival d'Avignon asked the company la Piccola Familia to conceive an original project that would take place in this public square. Using Antoine De Baecque and Emmanuelle Loyer's L'Histoire du Festival d'Avignon (The History of the Festival d'Avignon) as a springboard, the Piccola Familia imagined a series in 16 episodes to reinvent the past and offer a glimpse of a possible future. The professional performers of this adventure enlisted the help of amateurs from Avignon to create some of those episodes: writing workshops with children and teenagers led by Damien Gabriac in order to weave the future together, and acting workshops with adults led by Charline Porrone, based on accounts of past editions.
Conception La Piccola Familia
Text collective work
With Bruno Bayeux, Gilles Chabrier, Alexandre Dain, Damien Gabriac, Julie Héga, Thomas Jolly, Hector Manuel, Charline Porrone, Clémence Solignac, Jean-Marc Talbot, Manon Thorel, Ophélie Trichard
And the participation of extras and citizens
Production Festival d'Avignon
Co-production La Piccola Familia
With the support of SNCF Foundation, Adami, Drac Normandie, SACD, Normandie Region and City of Rouen
With the artistic participation of School of Théâtre national de Bretagne
Histoire du Festival d'Avignon, by Antoine de Baecque and Emmanuelle Loyer is published by éditions Gallimard (2016).
Le Festival d'Avignon, 70e édition is subject to a Pièce (dé)montée, pedagogical file created by Canopé.