First Avignon Festival directed by Tiago Rodrigues starts today

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The shows “G.R.O.O.V.E”, by Bintou Dembélé, and “Welfare”, based on the film by Frederick Wiseman, directed by Julie Deliquet, are on the first day of the 77th edition of the Avignon Festival, the first with artistic direction by Tiago Rodrigues.

Bintou Dembélé’s dance performance will take the stage at the Opéra Grand Avignon while the theater piece directed by Julie Deliquet, which is adapted from a documentary by Frederick Wiseman, will be performed at the Cour d’Honneur of the Palais des Papes.

From today until July 25, more than 250 performances are on the program of the 77th edition of the Avignon Festival, taking place in this French city.

In this edition of the Festival, the first text and staging by Tiago Rodrigues to be performed is “Dans la mesure de l’imposssible” (“In the measure of the impossible”), on the 13th, at the Opéra Grand Avignon.

The show is based on interviews with about 30 staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders about life in refugee camps and the life and death choices that are required. This show will have three more performances on the three consecutive days.

Performing will be Beatriz Brás, Isabelle Caillat, Baptiste Coustenoble, Adama Diop, and musician Gabriel Ferrandini, who signs the compositions. With translation by Thomas Resendes, the show has scenography by Laurent Junod, Wendy Tukuoka, and Laura Fleury.

Forty-four stage performances fill the program, which also includes parallel activities such as visual arts exhibitions, readings, film screenings, radio creations, as well as the Café des Idées social space and Mahabharata, the festival’s artists’ bar, open to all audiences.

In the countdown to the beginning of the festival, Tiago Rodrigues has been highlighting some of the performances on social networks, as the opening ones, and also “The bride and the good night Cinderella”, by Brazilian Carolina Bianchi, “Exit above”, the new creation by Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, “Inventions”, by Spaniards Mal Pelo, by Pep Reims and Maria Muñoz, the text “All of it”, by the British Alistair McDowall, interpreted by Kate O’Flynn, and the two creations of the also British Tim Crouch, “An oak tree” and “Truth’s a dog must to kennel”, “a delirious trip” around Shakespeare’s “King Lear”.

At the 77th edition of the Avignon Festival, the English language is invited to “build bridges where others would like to impose walls,” reads the program of the event. “We are not content with a world divided by borders,” stresses the text.

In an interview, in April, when the festival’s program was released, Tiago Rodrigues said that the presence of Lusophone theater and dance will have “strong space” in the future, for its “enormous quality.

“Perhaps, in this first year, the fact that I am Portuguese has negatively influenced the presence of Portuguese creation or Portuguese language creation by a kind of modesty, very Portuguese, but that will not be taken to exaggeration, because it is not the fact that I have Portuguese nationality that should harm Portuguese creation,” he said then.

“By heart”, a creation dated 2013 by Tiago Rodrigues, is the show that closes this edition of the festival. The work was inspired by the story of one of the grandmothers of the director and playwright, who sought a last book to learn by heart, when she went blind. “By heart”, at the Cour d’Honneur of the Palais des Papes, is long sold out, according to the program of the event.

Actor, director and playwright, Tiago Rodrigues was the founder, with Magda Bizarro, of the production company Mundo Perfeito and, in 2014, he became artistic director of Teatro Nacional D. Maria II.

In July 2021, he was appointed artistic director of the Avignon Festival, a position he has held since last September, becoming the first non-French to direct this festival.

The schedule is available at https://festival-avignon.com/.

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