Avignon Festival combative against the extreme right

The tone was set as soon as the results of the first round of the legislative elections were announced. “The historical responsibility of the Avignon Festival obliges it to react to the danger of a far-right French government (…)” by organizing a night of resistance and debates, on the night of July 4 to 5, announced on stage the director of the festival, the Portuguese Tiago Rodrigues. Words that have “had a big impact” in the audience, relates The Country. Which is not surprising for such an event, believes the Spanish newspaper.

“Indeed, we had to expect a very clear political position from a festival that has always been financed by public funds, regardless of the government, and that the French consider one of the jewels of their culture. It is no coincidence that it is the most important contemporary theatre event in Europe.” A meeting that aims to be open to the world, for example by putting the Spanish language in the spotlight at this 78e edition, which runs from June 29 to July 21, with a third of the scheduled shows being performed in Spanish.

A model for other countries

If the event “is untouchable, it is precisely because he embodies the values ​​on which French culture is based,” judge The country, which recalls that it has always been a sounding board for social and political issues. Founded in 1947, in the era of post-war cultural reconstruction, the Avignon Festival has been the scene of significant mobilizations and positions throughout its existence, such as, in 2014, that of Olivier Py, its director at the time, who had threatened to move the festival to another city if the extreme right won the municipal elections.

This year, the mobilization in the streets of the city of the Popes takes shape in small demonstrations against the National Rally. The high point is this “night of resistance” in which artists such as Joey Starr and Jeanne Balibar participate.

“When French culture trembles in Avignon, the aftershocks are felt far beyond. All the more so in the face of the risk of (budgetary) cuts in a system of cultural management and production that has been a model for many countries, including Spain.”

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