The performing arts are once again celebrating in Avignon.

After two years of health crisis, the Festival d'Avignon opens this Thursday, even if it remains vigilant due to the epidemic rebound.

The day before the launch of the most famous theater festival in the world, the traditional parade was back on Wednesday, for the first time since 2019. In costumes and to the sound of drums, a compact crowd of artists crossed the streets of the "Cité of the Popes", where many festival-goers were already there.

“We are all going to be very careful” about Covid-19

“It's our first Avignon, we're very happy.

We took advantage of the lockdown to stage our show!

“, rejoices Christophe Gillis, musician and director who came from Belgium to present

Mozart versus Mozart

.

Covid-19?

“We are not going to spoil the festival, we need to be on stage and we are all going to be very careful,” adds the artist, dressed in period costume during the parade.

“We have the impression that we are getting back to normal a little, we hope that it will be the Avignon of the return”, affirms Olivier Schmidt, member of the troupe “Les Joyeux de la Couronne”, which presents

A l’ombre of Oz

, a musical show on the journey of Judy Garland.

It is one of the 1,500 shows of the "off", the largest live performance "market" in France which takes place parallel to the official festival and which has returned to its plethoric offer from before the pandemic.

As for the Festival d'Avignon, more international and more specialized than the "off", we want to be reassuring about health measures, while calling for vigilance.

“The (current) contagiousness is such that, in our teams, we have made wearing a mask compulsory because we cannot afford to have contaminations”, affirms Paul Rondin, delegate director of the Festival.

"There will be hundreds of thousands of people in Avignon for 20 days and we don't want anxiety-provoking measures but we tell people: 'Come to the festival trying to put on the mask in the halls'", he adds. .

Testing and vaccination centers will also be set up in the city.

Py in solidarity with Ukraine

The 2022 edition will also be the last for Olivier Py, at the head of the Festival for nine years, and who will be succeeded by the Portuguese Tiago Rodrigues.

Since 2013, he has invited artists from different backgrounds, with an emphasis on the political side of theater, in the broad sense of the term.

Artists like Kirill Serebrennikov, whom he has invited for the fourth time, in special circumstances: although the idea was born before the war in Ukraine, the Russian filmmaker and director, in exile in Europe since the spring, open this Thursday with

Le Moine Noir

by Chekhov in the Cour d'honneur of the Palais des Papes.

And, as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine, Olivier Py will perform, as a farewell, with the Dakh Daughters, a punk group from kyiv, in his show “Miss Knife”.

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