Avignon Festival

Avignon Festival

July
The month-long Festival d'Avignon was founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar, a well-known French actor and director. Invited to direct the first annual drama festival at Avignon, Vilar selected bold and innovative productions to be performed at the Court of Honor at the Popes' Palace ( Palais des Papes ), a large outdoor stage. This new kind of theater attracted an eager audience. In the 1960s Vilar expanded the festival's offerings to include dance, cinema, and musical theater.
The International Centre for Creative Research, a residence for artists, was established in the 1970s at the site of a 14th-century monastery, with exhibitions and concerts held during the festival. About the same time, fringe theater sprouted in conjunction with the festival. In the 1980s the festival once again reinvented itself by introducing audiovisual media, presenting more international theater productions, and inviting contemporary poets to do readings.
Throughout its evolution, the Avignon Festival has not strayed from the fresh experimentation which was Vilar's hallmark, thus continuing to attract new audiences after more than 50 years of existence. The festival presents a different program each year, with about 40 performances given in 20 venues including the Popes' Palace, cloisters, and churches, and approximately 120,000 people in attendance.
CONTACTS:
Avignon Festival et Compagnies
5, rue Ninon Vallin
Avignon, 84000 France
33-4-9085-1308
www.festival-avignon.com/index.php?lg=en
SOURCES:
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 99
MusFestEurBrit-1980, p. 74
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