Europe’s foremost experimental theatre director, Ariane Mnouchkine, met with members of the press at the Institut Français en Inde on 4th December 2015, as a run up to the theatre workshop that she, along with twelve artists ofThéâtre du Soleil, will be conducting at Puducherry from 14th to 30th December. This wonderful initiative has been made possible by the Embassy of France in India and its cultural network (Institut Français en Inde and Alliance française de Pondichéry), in collaboration with the Department of Tourism, Government of Puducherry, and Indianostrum Theatre, who have invited Ariane Mnouchkine to tour India with her École Nomade. Rajeev Sethi was also present at the event.
Theatre enthusiasts from across India have been encouraged to apply for these workshops. Auditions will be held for shortlisted candidates to select about 80-odd participants. These selected artists will participate in workshops to hone their skills and exchange creative processes and ideas. A production should follow the programme, which is scheduled to be showcased in France by the end of 2016 and in India early 2017 as part of the festival of France in India, “Bonjour India”.
Deeply inspired by Asian Theatre since the beginning, (essentially Indian, Balinese and Nô), Ariane is Europe’s foremost experimental theatre director, an Ibsen awardee and also one of the most known theatre directors globally. While speaking at the press event, she said, “ When I understood my life would be in theater I was wise enough to know and understand that I must make my initiation in travel and I left for a long journey and arrived in 1963 in India.” She further added, “I felt that India and Japan would be my treasures. I knew I would learn probably the basics of what to do without even knowing what I was going to do. My debt toward different sorts of traditional theatre, I will never be able to pay it back to India and Japan.
These traditions of acting have been absolutely my gurus. The Ibsen citation to her declared: “to enter a Mnouchkine production is to enter another world”, while noted critic Judith G Miller proclaimed that she was nothing less than a “nomad of the imagination”. In 1987, she created L´Indiade or The India of Their Dreams, based on a text by Hélène Cixous. Since several years now, she has been regularly hosting actors, musicians and other Indian artists in residence at the Cartoucherie in Paris.
Théâtre du Soleil is an avant-garde stage ensemble founded by Ariane Mnouchkine, Philippe Léotard and theatre students in 1964 as a collective of theatre artists in Paris. The company creates original theatrical works using a devising process based on physical theatre and improvisation.
Indianostrum Theatre in Pondicherry is an eight-year-old theatre company founded by Koumarane Valavane, along with a few actors who were ready to pursue theatre with single-minded dedication. A Franco-Indian who started practising theatre at a very young age, Koumarane left for France in his early years for his studies, where he worked as an actor at Theatre du Soleil in Paris. With the rich experience of contemporary theatre gained from France, Koumarane returned to India in 2006 with the decision of exploring theatre at home by forming his own group. It was thus that Indianostrum came into being in 2007.
Tags :Ariane Mnouckine, Théâtre du Soleil, Puducherry, Embassy of France, India, Institut Français en Inde, Alliance française de Pondichéry, Department of Tourism, Government of Puducherry, Indianostrum Theatre, Ariane Mnouchkine, École Nomade, Rajeev Sethi, Bonjour India