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October 5, 2022
ARTS & LEISURE

France, guest of honour at 20th Sibiu International Theatre Festival

Over 300 events will unfold at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival (FITS),
June 7-16 – theatre, street performances, conferences, seminars and book launches. Aside from France, this year’s guest of honour, theatre companies from Japan, Belgium, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Israel, Russia and the UK will be featured.

At yesterday’s press conference in Bucharest, French Ambassador Philippe Gustin welcomed France being chosen guest of honour at this year’s event, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of Romania jointing the International Francophone Organization.  “I thank you for celebrating these two anniversaries by giving France a privileged place, and the entire Francophone theatre as well,” the French ambassador said.
In his turn, the cultural adviser and director of the French Institute, Stanislas Pierret, spoke of Sibiu as an “example of a success story for all of Romania’s candidate cities for European Capital of Culture 2021, pointing out that Sibiu won the cultural bet in 2007, when the city got this title. No fewer than 11 French theatre companies are on the festival bill, among which Ariane Mnouchkine, founder of Theatre du Soleil.  “The French season” at the FITS proposes to the Romanian audience  for the first time emblematic institutions including Theatre de l’Europe Odeon,  Theatre du Soleil, street theatres, Alain Buffard dance company,  U Teatrino de Corse, along with numerous surprises including plays by Richard Demarcy with Naif,  a theater play based on La Farce by Maitre Pathelin, performances by Les Goulus, Divine Quincaillerie, Kabaret de poche or  U Teatrino, Musicomicale de le SNOB, as well as a Declan Donnellan stage adaptation of Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry.
The international presence at the festival is quite significant, too, with Japanese theater performances, among which a play perform in both the noh and kabuki styles of traditional theatre, as well as a play played by the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. The German theatre is represented, among others, by the “Continue” dance show of Sasha Waltz&Guests, Belgian theatre (“Clear Tears, Troubled Waters” by reputed choreographer Thierry Smits), as well as some of the best Polish, Czech and Israeli theatre performances. FITS will also have a “Russian season” joining some of its most important creators promoted by the Golden Mask Russian Performing Arts Festival and Chekhov International Theatre Festival.
According to FITS Director Constantin Chiriac, the Festival have grown from three participating countries and 8 theatre shows on its first edition to 350 events in 66 spaces and 70 participant countries at this 20th edition. With a daily audience of 60,000, the festival is the third-largest in the world, after Edinborough and Avignon. The Romanian state only provides 15 pc of the Festival budget, with the remainder supplied by private partnerships, some of them 20 years old. Organizers expect over 600,000 visitors this year, more than 4,000 overnight stays provided by the festival logistic bureau alone.
The FITS 20 anniversary edition will be marked by a gala ceremony at Thalia Hall in Sibiu, Saturday, June 15, when there will also be inaugurated the Walk of Fame with the first seven stars to Arian Mnouchkine (director), Eugenio Barba (director) Sasha Walz (choreographer), Silviu Purcarete (director), Declan Donnellan (dirctor), Geoge Banu (theater personality) and late Nakamura Kanzaburo 17th (a Kabuki actor).

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