One of the most important cultural and artistic events in France will be at its 70th edition this year. Being also one of the biggest attractions of the city of Avignon, the Festival d’Avignon attracts thousands of art and culture enthusiasts from around the world. During the month of July, the Avignon Festival offers among other things, plays, dance, music and video performances, art exhibitions, etc.
Birth and evolution of the Festival d’Avignon
Before becoming one of the most important events gathering many creations and spectators from all over the world, the Festival d’Avignon has had a modest beginning, born by the initiative of Jean Vilar who created in 1947 “Une semaine d’Art en Avignon” (A Week of Dramatic Art in Avignon) in order to get people to love art and culture again. Crowned with success, Vilar continued to direct and develop the Festival for over 20 years, bringing more plays, performances… and participants.
Jean Vilar, the man behind the Festival d’Avignon
Born March 25, 1912 and died of a heart attack on May 28, 1971, Jean Vilar was best known worldwide as the founding father of the Festival d’Avignon which he created and directed until his death. But besides this role, the man was also an excellent stage and cinema actor, a stage director and also director of the Théâtre National Populaire (TNP) and the French theatre. He organized the first edition of the Festival d’Avignon in 1947, from 4 to 10 September, during which he presented three theatrical creations that took place in three important places of the city including the famous Cour d’Honneur of the Popes’ Palace.
An event related to the Popes’ Palace
Since its creation, the Popes’ Palace was the birthplace of the Festival in Avignon. Opening shows are held every year in the Cour d’Honneur of the Popes’ Palace, but it is also the main place where the plays are represented. For the inauguration of the first edition of the “Semaine d’Art”, Jean Vilar chose to stage The Tragedy of King Richard II from Shakespeare, a play that was again represented at the 64th edition of the Festival d’Avignon.
A preview of the Festival d’Avignon 2016 program
This year, the Cour d’Honneur will welcome new plays, including Les Damnés by Luchino Visconti, Nicola Badalucco and Medioli, but also dance, music and video performances, including Prima Donna by Rufus Wainwright and Babel 7.16 represented by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet. In addition, the Festival will invest other key locations in the city, including the Gymnasium of the Saint-Joseph high-school, the Gardens of the University of Avignon, the Grand Avignon Opera, the Pénitents Blancs chapel… It will last 3 weeks, from 6 to July 24 and the tickets will go on sale from June 13, 2016.
Your hotel during the Festival d’Avignon