Republic of the Bees

Based on Maurice Maeterlinck

  • Theatre
  • Young audience
  • Show
The 2019 archive

Céline Schaeffer

Paris / Created in 2019

A documentary tale, magic and mysterious, performed and dance, about one year in the life of a beehive.

Republic of the Bees © Christophe Raynaud de Lage


For Céline Schaeffer, the space that surrounds us is a world in and of itself, at once matter and colour, image and sound, body and voice, near and fear. It can transform, reconfigure itself, swell with air, or empty itself. Here, the stage is a breathing “super-organism” she calls “the spirit of the beehive,” where thousands of beings are in service of a collective intelligence. What is the secret of the bee, seen today as a look-out who can tell us much about the state of the world as well as its organisation? To tackle this question, the director, who loves art as much as she does nature, imagined a documentary tale, performed and danced, magic and mysterious. A show that plays with the sensations of the audience to better accompany them through the life of this hive which, from swarming to the founding of a new colony, revives the cycle of seasons and reactivates our link to the very small in all its greatness.

After training as a plastic artist, Céline Schaeffer created her first dramatic installation, inspired by the work of Georges Perec. As an assistant director, she worked with Claude Buchvald, then starting in 1999 with Valère Novarina, in particular on L'Acte inconnu (The Unknown Act), created for the Festival d'Avignon in 2007. In 2012, for the Sujets à Vif of the Festival, she directed Stanislas Roquette in Valère Novarina's L'Inquiétude (Anxiety). Today, she continues her work at the intersection of theatre, language, and painting.

 A poet, playwright, and essayist, Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) saw theatre as a place where the soul faces destiny, and symbolism as the poetic form that would allow us to understand the world by looking past appearances. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work in 1911.

La Vie des abeilles de Maurice Maeterlinck is published by Abeille et Castor.


With Étienne Galharague, Marion Le Guével, Polina Panassenko
And the voice of Agnès Sourdillon

Text and direction Céline Schaeffer
Scenography Élie Barthès, Céline Schaeffer, Lola Sergent
Video Élie Barthès
Dramaturgy and artistic collaboration Julien Avril
Music Peter Chase
Costumes, accessories Lola Sergent
Lights Jean-Pascal Pracht
Stage set construction Jérôme Juhel
Paintings Jean-Paul Dewynter
Filmed images of the bee Jean-Michel Poulichot


Production Le MélodrOme
Co-production Festival d'Avignon, Le Grand R Scène nationale de La Roche-sur-Yon, Créa Festival Momix (Kingersheim), Théâtre Montansier (Versailles), Théâtre d'Aurillac, L'Union des contraires, Théâtre Nouvelle Génération (Lyon)
With the support of DRAC Île-de-France, for the 73rd edition of the Festival d'Avignon : Spedidam
With the help of Théâtre Paris-Villette, Théâtre Cinéma de Choisy-le-Roi Scène conventionnée pour la diversité linguistique, Château de Monthelon, Compagnie Sandrine Anglade, Drom Fragrances
With the artistic participation of Jeune théâtre national

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