Due to the unrest for the 77th edition of the festival, the national and municipal police are deploying a “coordinated system” with additional forces and security measures in the pedestrian areas.
The Avignon Festival, one of the largest theater events in the world, begins today with a new director – Thiago Rodriguez, and increased security measures due to the unrest in France, AFP reported.
Every year in July, the City of the Popes becomes a city of theater, divided into an “inside” part – the official festival, and an “outside” part – the largest market for live performances in France.
Due to the unrest for the 77th edition of the festival, the national and municipal police are deploying a “coordinated system” with additional forces and security measures in the pedestrian areas. A jamming system will be in place in the air to enforce the ban on drone flights over Avignon.
The Avignon Festival has around 40 stages in the city and beyond, and the festival outside the city has 140 locations and welcomes nearly 1,200 theater companies.
Thiago Rodríguez, who succeeded Olivier Pi, chose to open his first edition with Prosperity, a social spectacle by Julie Delique, the second director to present a play in the Court of Honor of the Papal Palace after Ariane Mnushkin.
The other performance that opens the festival is “G.R.O.O.V.E” by French hip-hop pioneer Bintu Dembele, who organizes a dance walk.
Thiago Rodríguez has decided to invite one language to each edition. This year, the honor is given to English “in response to Brexit”.
“At a time when walls are being built to keep us away from our British friends, we need to build bridges. It’s a kind of cultural diplomacy,” says Rodriguez, noting that after years of absence, the Edinburgh Festival management will be on place to trace French achievements.
Even before the festival started, the new director had to deal with two unpleasant surprises. A long-awaited performance was removed from the program, and the cost of reopening one of the legendary stages of the festival – the “Carrier de Bulbon”, about fifteen kilometers from Avignon, turned out to be very high.
Polish director Christian Lupa’s Emigrants, co-produced by the festival, was canceled a month ago by the Comédie de Genève, where it was due to premiere, due to a confrontation between the director, accused of bad treatment, and the technical team. It was replaced by a play directed by Thiago Rodríguez.