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Standing out in Avignon: The Swiss Selection

Online press review (in French)

Articles cited

I/O – La Gazette des festivals: La Suisse est la nouvelle Belgique. Vive la Suisse!

Libération: Milo Rau reprend le théâtre à zéro

Le Temps: Suisses sur orbite au Festival d’Avignon

I/O – La Gazette des festivals: Un voyage extraordinaire

Le Bruit du Off: «Knusa / Insert Coins», Une danse photogénique

Libération: «Knusa», danse machine à sous

Selection of other articles and reports

swissinfo.ch: «Les productions théâtrales suisses ne sont pas faciles à vendre» (interview with Laurence Perez, director of the SCH)

La Tribune de Genève: La scène suisse bat pavillon en Avignon

Le Temps: Laurence Perez, directrice de la Sélection suisse en Avignon: «Les artistes suisses peuvent gagner la bataille»

RTS (radio): Les arts de la scène suisse à la conquête du Festival d’Avignon

Plus de Off: «Quitter la Terre», au 11 Gilgamesh Belleville

L’Express: Un été en couleurs à la Collection Lambert

TouteLaCulture.com: Un Sujet C eschatologique au Festival d’Avignon

Le site de la Radio Télévision Belge Francophone: La Reprise de Milo Rau – Avignon KO debout. Revue de presse et impressions

The Avignon Festival ended on 24 July. And with it the «Sélection suisse en Avignon (SCH)» – The Swiss Selection in Avignon–, which this year included four companies in the «Off» Festival, a reading, a co-production with the «In» and a photography exhibition. The work and talent of Swiss artists, from a «small country with great ambitions», as the I/O festival gazette put it, were praised by the press.

«An intense moment that makes you escape from the world in overheated Avignon»: this quote from the daily Le Bruit du Off about the performance of Geneva-based choreographer Cindy Van Acker sums up the general impression of the French press on this year’s Swiss productions in Avignon. Beginning with the almost unanimous praise for Milo Rau’s international co-production «La Reprise, Histoire(s) du théâtre», which featured a sordid incident that occurred a few years ago in the Liège region of Belgium: «A show about everything the theatre can and should do and how it manages to do it», observed the French daily Libération. The Bernese director was the only Swiss participant in the official programme of the 72nd Avignon Festival, which this year focused on gender and transidentities.


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SCH: The four Off companies

The programme of the Off Alternative Festival, for its part, dealt with an array of themes and styles. with over 1500 shows, it also set a new record! Four of these performances formed part of the Swiss Selection in Avignon. Dedicated to the promotion of Swiss artists, the SCH was organised for the third time by Corodis – «Commission romande de diffusion des spectacles» – and by Pro Helvetia.

«Quitter la Terre» by Joël Maillard. With: Joël Maillard and Joëlle Fontannaz © Simon Letellier

Fribourg-based Joël Maillard’s metaphysical and deceptively bizarre display transported the audience into a universe made up of circularity and infinity, themes dear to the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges whose name and work are cited several times during the performance as a source of inspiration. Le Temps hailed «Quitter la Terre» as «a wonderfully whimsical space odyssey».

«These are my principles…If you don’t like them I have others» by Phil Hayes. With: Phil Hayes and Nada Gambier © Niklaus Spoerri

Addressing the principle of playing with dilemmas in the form of questions (e.g. «would you rather be blind or deaf?»), the performance by Zurich artist Phil Hayes plunged us into deep questioning: for instance, would you choose a tattoo with an effigy of Berlusconi on your backside or one of Macron on your chest? The disco-like, funky scenography of «These are my principles…if you don’t like them I have others» added to the lightness of this playful verbal game, which plays with our incoherent principles and decision-making.

«Hocus Pocus» by Philippe Saire. With: Philippe Chosson and Mickaël Henrotay-Delaunay © Philippe Weissbrodt

According to I/O – the gazette of the In and Off festivals – Philippe Saire’s «Hocus Pocus» is «as much a children’s show for adults as an adult show for children». The Lausanne-based choreographer has re-used and adapted for young audiences a device he developed for his previous show «Vacuum», an image-box of sorts that creates exhilarating optical illusions at whose centre a dancing duo evolves acrobatically. Efficacy guaranteed for young festival-goers.

«Knusa/Insert Coins» by and with Cindy Van Acker © Simon Letellier

«Photogenic dance» is how Le Bruit du Off titled the performance of dancer and choreographer Cindy Van Acker at the Collection Lambert in Avignon, one of the cultural hotspots of southeastern France. «Knusa» is an echoic dialogue with «Insert Coins», a photography exhibition by Geneva artist Christian Lutz that takes viewers behind the scenes of Las Vegas and its slot machine addicts. The dancer’s movements, both robotic and sensual, become assimilated in Libération with those of a «cyborg endowed with incredible, disturbing and refined motor skills».


In addition to these four shows, SCH invited Vaud actress Tiphanie Bovay-Klameth to perform her one-actor «D’autres» at its official opening on 11 July. As part of «Les Intrépides», a programme organised by the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD), actress Latifa Djerbi represented Switzerland with her contribution to «Basta!», a collection of short plays written by six different authors on the theme of male domination. Actor Pierre Mifsud, elected as a SHC representatives in 2016, was one of the «Sujets à vif» at the «In» Festival. Besides collaborating with Cindy Van Acker, photographer Christian Lutz will also be featuring at the Lambert Collection until 4 November 2018 with his exhibition «Anatomies du pouvoir», supported by Pro Helvetia’s Visual Arts Division.

Visit selectionsuisse.ch for comprehensive information about the 2018 SCH artists and the follow-up to Avignon.

Some photo impressions