The Festival d’Avignon is an annual festival of arts. It is held every summer in France in the city called Avignon and its stunning old castle by the name of Palais des Papes (which is the main stage), as well as other locations all around the city. Jean Vilar founded this festival at around 1947.
Jean Vilar presented his first play “Murder in The Cathedral by H.S.’ and it was success! On the same day there was exhibition of sculptures and paintings in the Popes Palaces, which was organized by C. Zervos who is a collector and art critic; Rener Char was the poet reading his poems at the same place and time.
When the first festival was organized, Vilar suggested 3 plays: Tobie and Sara, The Midday Terrace and Claevel’s second play; and in September more modern and unknown artists came to showcase their work and that was the beginning of Avignon Festival.
It is one of the most popular places for artists to be in summer time. In 2008 there were more than 950 shows that were performed in 3 weeks. Every year young, rising talents and known actors and actresses come to Avignon, including Georges Wilson, Jeanne Moreau, Maria Casarès, Philippe Noirot,Charles Denner, Jean Deschamps, and Gérard Philipe, Jean Le Poulain, Daniel Sorano, Monique Chaumette.
Festival duration is three weeks, it has forty venues and sixty shows, that means the curtains rises around 200 times. Debates, screening and encounters all day every day. There are paid and free admissions that comes up to more than 155 thousand. 33 employees are working whole year long to organize unforgettable event. Around 700 volunteers and temporary workers are helping too. Budget for this festival is thirteen million euros, 56% come from public donations and subsidies, the rest from revenue from previous festival as well as sponsorships and partnerships.
600 journalists from radio, TV channels and social media channels come from all the world to take interviews, pictures and make reports. Festival’s website has more than four million-page views per year. Festival also organizes tours. Now it is going to be the 73rd edition. It is held in 33 different countries and more than 900 shows will be performed, 222 of them in France and the rest shown around the world.
It is not one, but two festivals are happening. They are called IN and OFF. IN is the original and historical version, plays are old remakes and classics. OFF is the modern version. Most of the shows are performed in the city center and program is far more interesting for younger audience. Traditional festival cannot be organized without the more fun version. Parties, dancing, celebrations of art as free as possible comes with OFF part. City becomes alive when those two parts come together.
Ticket prices starts from just 12 euros. You must visit this peaceful town before and during the festival to see and feel the atmosphere. The ticket is active for a day, but in that time you can see bunch of performances and be filled with cultural experience.