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The Festival d'Avignon, or Avignon Festival, is an annual arts festival held in the French city of Avignon every summer in July in the courtyard of the Popes' Palace as well as in other locations of the city. Founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar, it is the oldest extant festival in France and one of the world's greatest. The festival consists of two parts, "In" and "Off".
In 2008, some 950 shows were performed during three weeks.
The Birth of a Festival
1947, The Week of Scenic Arts
Art critic Christian Zervos and poet René Char organized a modern art exhibition held in the main chapel of the Pope's Palace in Avignon. In that setting, they asked Jean Vilar, actor, director and theater director, to present Meurtre dans la cathédrale which he adapted in 1945.
After refusing, Vilar proposed three plays: Shakespeare's Richard II, a play well known in France, La Terrasse de midi, by Maurice Clavel, then unknown author, and L'Histoire de Tobie et de Sara by Paul Claudel.
The "In" Festival
The festival is organised by a non-profit organisation (since 1980), which is administered by a board of trustees composed of: the French state, the city of Avignon, the Département of Vaucluse, the Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, and seven public figures competent in the field of theatre. Amongst other places, the "In" Festival is performed in the "Cour d'Honneur" - the honours courtyard - of the Palais des Papes, the place of residence of the Avignon papacy during most of the 14th century.
The "Off" Festival
The "Off" festival is also organised by a non-profit organisation composed mostly of theatre companies and is performed in theaters schools, streets and all places suitable for performing.
- Avignon "In" Theater Festival website
- Avignon "Off" Theater Festival website
- Festival d'Avignon 2011 Dossier by Radio France Internationale English Service
- Avignon Festival on Vimeo
- Festival d'Avignon - The official website of France (in English)
- Guide to the Avignon Festival - in English
- « Histoire », Site of the festival d'Avignon
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