“After this strange Covid storm, which made us go through all the emotions, the thinning is real and now we are ready. “ It is relieved that Sébastien Benedetto, president of Avignon Festival & Compagnies (AF&C) announced on Monday June 14 the launch of the 55e edition of the Avignon “off”. From July 7 to 31, 1,070 shows, including 923 creations, will make up the program of this extraordinary festival which takes place in the city of the Popes in parallel with the “in”, the official event.
Thus, despite the cancellation of the 2020 edition due to the health crisis and the uncertainties that weighed until early spring on the holding of a 2021 edition, 752 companies chose to make the trip to Avignon (including 66 foreign, mainly European) and 116 places will open their doors. If rooms like the Forum, the Cinevox, the Petit Louvre or the Rouge-Gorge will remain closed this year, four new addresses will open in the ramparts.
Admittedly, the inflation of recent years has stopped, the figures are lower than 2019 (1,600 shows in 140 places), but remain impressive in view of the circumstances. They demonstrate, beyond the desire to play after a year of closure, how this meeting remains essential to allow many performing artists to show their work in the hope of securing tour dates. .
No grand inaugural parade
Health instructions require, the “off” 2021 will not quite have the allure of previous editions. While no health pass will be necessary to access the shows, the venues must, on the other hand, respect a forty-five minute beat between each performance, to allow the rooms to be ventilated and disinfected, to limit the crossing of companies in the boxes and of the public at the exit. There will be no grand inaugural parade, but towing will be authorized and official display limited to 150 signs per show. As for the gauge, the prefect of Vaucluse will announce on June 24 if it is unrestricted or limited to 65%.
The places must respect a beating of forty-five minutes between each performance to allow the rooms to be ventilated and disinfected.
“The Ministry of Culture, via its general direction of artistic creation, is committed to supporting companies and places in the event of a degraded gauge”, explains Sébastien Benedetto. The president of AF&C says he is counting on the “Accountability” rooms to respect the health charter drawn up with the prefecture that they will soon have to sign. As for the rules for pedestrian traffic in the narrow streets of Avignon, they are still under discussion with the town hall.
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