Pageant d’Avignon delivers theatre to a mediaeval castle in France

The Competition d’Avignon has kicked off in France bringing a month long of theatrical festivities to its mediaeval city place.

Set in the beautiful courtyard of the Palais des Papes, the 14th century castle that homed six popes, right in the coronary heart of southern French town Avignon, the theatre festival returns for its 77th edition this year.

The pageant opens these days and will operate to the 25th of July, with new director Tiago Rodrigues promising strengthened safety measures subsequent the rioting that has eaten France for the previous 7 days.

Riots in France have ongoing considering that the police killing of 17-yr-previous Nahel Merzouk in Nanterre on 27 June. The pageant is doing the job with nationwide and municipal police forces to develop reinforced cellular pressure units, stability measures in pedestrian areas, random identity checks in community areas, and pedestrian and mountain bicycle patrols.

In the air, a jamming method will be deployed to implement the ban on drone overflights of Avignon, with the possible use of drones to watch the largest gatherings.

What to hope from the competition?

The pageant alone is often a stunning showcase of theatre parts in some of the most picturesque settings in France. The Competition d’Avignon has both of those its “In” competition and “Out” pageant. The In festival normally takes location inside the Papal Palace by itself, while the Out festival functions performances across the metropolis, from theatre colleges to the streets of Avignon. This year’s Off pageant features almost 1,200 businesses doing throughout 140 venues.

For Rodriguez’s to start with time as pageant director, he’s preferred to open up the function with two performances: ‘Welfare’ and ‘G.R.O.O.V.E.’.

‘G.R.O.O.V.E.’ kicks off the pageant with a a few-hour dance, tunes and gentle show by French hip-hop pioneer Bintou Dembélé.

Afterwards in the night, ‘Welfare’ is adapted from a 1973 documentary by Oscar-winner Frederick Wiseman by Julie Deliquet, who is the second director to present a play in the Cour d’honneur of the Palais des papes soon after Ariane Mnouchkine. It follows the life of a group of homeless, stateless, workless and single moms to spotlight the injustices of the welfare condition.

“It’s a competition of theatre that is not blind to the injustices of the world”, states Rodrigues, who is inviting a significant the greater part of new faces, some undertaking for the to start with time in France.

He has made the decision to invite 1 language to just about every edition and, this yr, English is in the spotlight, “in reaction to Brexit”.

“At a time when ramparts are remaining constructed to length us from our British buddies, we need to have to build bridges. It can be a type of cultural diplomacy,” he states, pointing out that following years of absence, the Edinburgh Competition management will be on hand to learn French development.

The display should go on

Placing on this year’s festival hasn’t been with out difficulties for Rodrigues. The Portuguese director confronted the cancellation of a single of the even larger exhibits of the competition a thirty day period prior to opening.

‘Les Emigrants’ by Polish theatre maker Krystian Lupa was cancelled immediately after Lupa was accused of abusive conduct in the course of confrontations with the specialized crew.

Facing a prospective economical reduction of €300,000 to the pageant seeking to fill the Opéra Grand Avignon’s 700 seat auditorium, Rodrigues has place a enjoy of his have on in its position.

“I had six sleepless times hoping to conserve the exhibit, but in the conclude it was extremely hard,” Rodrigues explains. I could not question artists, specially rising kinds, to switch a show at the last moment at the Opéra Grand Avignon. It would have been a large hazard and very irresponsible.”

The 2nd problem to plague the competition was the return of a beloved venue. The Carrière de Boulbon was made use of for the initial time in 1985 for Peter Brook’s ‘Mahabharata’ and for the past time in 2016.

It will return for a functionality of ‘Le Jardin des délices’ by Philippe Quesne, encouraged by the portray by Jérôme Bosch.

Restoring the site had been budgeted at €250,000, but pursuing final summer’s fires in the area, an further €350,000 had been additional to the charges to deliver ample hearth-hazard provisions.