Jean Vilar

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Jean Vilar
Jean Vilar au festival d'Avignon 1967 en compagnie d'Antoine Bourseiller et François Billetdoux.jpg
Jean Vilar (right) in Festival d'Avignon 1967 with Antoine Bourseiller (left), and François Billetdoux.
Born25 March 1912
Sète, Hérault, France
Died28 May 1971 (1971-05-29) (aged 59)
Sète, Hérault, France
OccupationActor and director

Jean Vilar (25 March 1912, Sète, Hérault – 28 May 1971, Sète, Hérault) was a French actor and theatre director.[1]

Vilar trained under actor and theatre director Charles Dullin, then toured with an acting company throughout France. His directorial career began in 1943 in a small theatre in Paris. In 1947, he accepted an invitation to direct the first annual drama festival at Avignon.

Frustrated with what he felt was the narrow élitist horizons of the theatre, he devoted himself to creating a "people's theatre" and became a dominant force in the decentralization of theatre. He created two major theatrical institutions, the Festival d'Avignon and the Théâtre National Populaire. His policy was to make theatre accessible to the greatest possible number of people.

Like Paul Valery, he is buried in the Cimetiere Marin, Sete. On 18 July 1979 the theatre department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the city of Avignon and the Association Jean Vilar opened the Maison Jean-Vilar in the Hôtel de Crochans in Avignon to further Vilar's work, the Festival d'Avignon, the 'OFF' and theatre and performance in Avignon and the surrounding region.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1946 Gates of the Night Le clochard / La fortune
1947 The Sharks of Gibraltar Percy Carters
1948 Les frères Bouquinquant Le prêtre
1948 Carrefour du crime Inspecteur Dominique
1948 Bagarres L'innocent
1949 Les eaux troubles Ulysse
1949 La ferme des sept péchés L'homme gris / Grey man
1950 Thirst of Men Le typographe
1950 Justice Is Done Le prêtre à l'imprimerie
1951 Pirate Submarine Submarine Commandant Jean L'Herminier
1951 Les mousquetaires du roi
1952 Jocelyn Le supérieur du nouveau séminaire
1956 Les Aventures de Till L'Espiègle Le duc d'Albe
1958 Arènes joyeuses
1961 Enclosure Narrator Voice
1969 Des Christs par milliers Jean
1971 Raphael, or The Debauched One Horace
1971 Le petit matin Paul (final film role)


  1. ^ Drain, Richard (1995) Twentieth-Century Theatre: A Sourcebook, Routledge
  2. ^

Other sources[edit]

  • Bardot, Jean Claude (1991) Jean Vilar. Paris: Colin.
  • Shevtsova, Maria (2005) Jean Vilar in Fifty Key Theatre Directors, eds Mitter, S., & In Shevtsova, M., Routledge
  • Téphany, J., & Barthes, R. (1995). Jean Vilar. Paris: Editions de l'Herne.