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Ariane Mnouchkine

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Ariane Mnouchkine
Born (1939-03-03) 3 March 1939 (age 85)
Years active1964 – present

Ariane Mnouchkine (French: [aʁjan nuʃkin]; born 3 March 1939) is a French stage director.[1] She founded the Parisian avant-garde stage ensemble Théâtre du Soleil in 1964.[2] She wrote and directed 1789 (1974) and Molière (1978), and directed La Nuit Miraculeuse (1989).[3] She holds a Chair of Artistic Creation at the Collège de France,[4] an Honorary Degree in Performing Arts from the University of Rome III, awarded in 2005[5] and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Oxford University, awarded 18 June 2008.[6]


Ariane Mnouchkine is the daughter of Jewish Russian film producer Alexandre Mnouchkine and June Hannen (daughter of Nicholas Hannen).[2] Mnouchkine's paternal grandparents, Alexandre and Bronislawa Mnouchkine, were both deported from Drancy to Auschwitz on 17 December 1943, where they were both murdered. Ariane is the namesake of the production company Ariane Films that was founded by her father.[7]

Mnouchkine attended Sorbonne University in Paris, France, where she studied literature. On a year abroad at Oxford University in England, studying English literature, she joined the Oxford University Dramatic Society, and decided to return to her roots in theatre.[8][9] She founded the ATEP (Association Théâtrale des Étudiants de Paris or Parisian Students’ Theatrical Association) in 1959 when she returned to the Sorbonne.[10] She continued theatre studies at L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, where in 1964 she founded Théâtre du Soleil (Theatre of the Sun) with her fellow students.[11] The theatre collective still continues to create social and political critiques of local and world cultures. Théâtre du Soleil's productions are often performed in found spaces like barns or gymnasiums because Mnouchkine does not like being confined to a typical stage.[12] Similarly, she feels theatre cannot be restricted with the "fourth wall".[13] When audiences enter a Mnouchkine production, they will often find the actors preparing (putting on makeup, getting into costume) right before their eyes.[2]

In 1971, Mnouchkine signed the Manifesto of the 343, publicly announcing she had an illegal abortion.[14]

Mnouchkine has developed her own works, like the political-themed 1789, as well as numerous classical texts like Molière's Don Juan or Tartuffe.[9] Between 1981 and 1984, she translated and directed a series of William Shakespeare plays: Richard II, Twelfth Night, and Henry IV, Part 1.[2] While she developed the shows one at a time, when she finished Henry IV, she toured the three together as a cycle of plays. Similarly, she developed Iphigenia by Euripides and the Oresteia (Agamemnon, Choephori, and The Eumenides) by Aeschylus between 1990 and 1992.[15]

While mainly a stage director, she has been involved in some films. She shared an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay for L'Homme de Rio (That Man from Rio, 1964).[16] Her movie 1789 (filmed from the live production), which dealt with the French Revolution, brought her international fame in 1974.[17] In 1978, she wrote and directed Molière, a biography of the famous French playwright, which earned her a Palme d'Or nomination at Cannes.[18][19] She collaborated with Hélène Cixous on a number of projects including La Nuit miraculeuse and Tambours sur la digue, two made-for-television movies in 1989 and 2003 respectively.[20] In 1987, she was the first recipient of the Europe Theatre Prize for her work with the Théâtre du Soleil.[21]

In 1992, Mnouchkine criticized the EuroDisney as cultural Chernobyl and was very much against about the decision to open the European branch of the theme park in Paris.[22]

In 2009, Mnouchkine won the Ibsen Award.[23] The prize was awarded to her at a ceremony at the National Theatre in Oslo on 10 September 2009.[24] Mnouchkine received the Goethe Medal in 2011.[25]

In 2019, Mnouchkine was awarded the Kyoto Prize[26] for Arts and Philosophy (Theater, Cinema).


  1. ^ "Mnouchkine, Ariane 1939- | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com.
  2. ^ a b c d Dickson, Andrew (10 August 2012). "Ariane Mnouchkine and the Théâtre du Soleil: a life in theatre" – via www.theguardian.com.
  3. ^ "Ariane Mnouchkine". BFI. Archived from the original on 6 October 2019.
  4. ^ Collège de France website Archived 20 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine; accessed 18 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Uniroma3.it :: Laurea Honoris Causa a Ariane Mnouchkine". 4 July 2013. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Ariane Mnouchkine: The Castaways of the Fol Espoir". thesegalcenter.org.
  7. ^ "Les Films Ariane". BFI. Archived from the original on 20 July 2017.
  8. ^ Dickson, Andrew (10 August 2012). "Ariane Mnouchkine and the Théâtre du Soleil: a life in theatre". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b Zarin, Cynthia (14 December 2017). "All the World's a Stage: Ariane Mnouchkine and Théâtre du Soleil's "A Room in India"" – via www.newyorker.com.
  10. ^ "Histoire – ATEP3" (in French). Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  11. ^ "World Theatre Day – International Theatre Institute ITI". world-theatre-day.org.
  12. ^ Dundjerovic, Aleksandar Saša (25 November 2008). Robert Lepage. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-18764-5 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ White, Gareth (26 February 2015). Applied Theatre: Aesthetics. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4725-1177-5 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ "manifeste des 343". 23 April 2001. Archived from the original on 23 April 2001. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  15. ^ Rose, Lloyd (11 October 1992). "THEATER" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  16. ^ "The 37th Academy Awards | 1965". Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  17. ^ "1789 (1973)". BFI. Archived from the original on 6 October 2019.
  18. ^ "MOLIERE". Festival de Cannes.
  19. ^ "Molière (1978) – Ariane Mnouchkine | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie.
  20. ^ "Ariane Mnouchkine | Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
  21. ^ I Europe Theatre Prize/Reasons Europe Theatre Prize, premio-europa.org; accessed 18 January 2016.
  22. ^ "Disneyland Paris celebrates 20th birthday €1.9bn in debt". The Guardian. 11 April 2012.
  23. ^ "2009: Ariane Mnouchkine". The International Ibsen Award.
  24. ^ "Mnouchkine wins The 2009 International Ibsen Award". The Norwegian American. 22 September 2009.
  25. ^ Flood, Alison (21 June 2011). "Germany honours Le Carré with Goethe Medal". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  26. ^ "Ariane Mnouchkine | Kyoto Prize". 京都賞. Retrieved 12 May 2021.


  • Kiernander, Adrian Ariane Mnouchkine (1993) ISBN 0-521-36139-7
  • Miller, Judith "Ariane Mnouchkine".
  • Thompson, Juli Ariane Mnouchkine (1986) {Doctoral Dissertation, UW}
  • Williams, David Collaborative Theatre: The Théâtre du Soleil Sourcebook (1999)

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