In Montpellier, the Spring of comedians, a colorful festival, led since 2011 by Jean Varela, does not hide its desire to expand. Cramped in its seasonal calendar (from 1er to June 21), the director wants to make the theater shine from summer to winter. It now has the means: Michaël Delafosse, mayor of Montpellier, has officially merged all the teams – festival and public establishment – located in the Domaine d’O, where the event has historically been held.
In 2024, Jean Varela will switch from the artistic management of Printemps to that of a 23-hectare estate comprising several performance halls. Suffice to say that the future looks bright, and even conquering for this satisfied boss: “We will now be able to produce the shows ourselves. » No sooner said than done: the opening performance, signed by the Belgian Ivo van Hove, benefits from this expanding future. After Rehearsal/Personaby Ingmar Bergman, is the first major international production financed by the institution.
Beyond its year-round deployment in the form of artist residencies hosted in optimal technical conditions, the new version of the Spring for Comedians prefigures the establishment in Occitanie of“a powerful regional center of creation”. For Jean Varela, this “European city of theatre” will help boost Montpellier-Sète’s candidacy for the title of European Capital of Culture 2028.
Occitanie, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: in these effervescent regions which, on fine days, multiply the cultural high masses, the time has come to “stop looking at each other like faience dogs” and to federate the energies present on each side of the Rhône. “We had a fragmented vision from a geographical point of view, continues Jean Varela. If we take a little distance, we realize that, between the festivals of Aix, Arles, Montpellier and Avignon, we have here what is best done on a perimeter and in a limited calendar time. »
Not to mention that this concentration of events can curb anti-ecological excesses by allowing the establishment of “reasoned” tours of creators, rather than their anarchic comings and goings from one end of the country to the other. This is why one of the headliners announced this summer (Julien Gosselin, director ofExtinctionaccording to Thomas Bernhard) will play in Montpellier before going to the Festival d’Avignon a month later.
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