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French Artists/Companies
In the United States


The Cultural Services of the French Embassy and FACE Foundation, are pleased to announce the 2018 grantees of FACE Contemporary Theater: 

This year, 13 institutions received grants for projects that include artists' residencies and tours in France and in the U.S. for a total amount of $155,000. FACE Contemporary Theater especially honored female artists and artists from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East represented by French cultural institutions.

Special attention was given to the projects developed by directors such as Elise Vigier with Harlem Quartet, a collaboration with Kevin Keiss and slammer Saul Williams,  Fanny de Chaillé with Gonzo Conference, and David Geselson withDoreen inspired by Letter to D. by Andre Gorz, all three productions presented by Princeton French Theater Festival 2018; Blandine Savetier and Waddah Saab for their theatrical adaptation of Snow by Ohran Pamuk at CUNY-Martin E Segal Center, New York, this fall; Marion Schoevaert for her multidisciplinary theater project Iphigenia in Lesvos in collaboration with American playwright Lisa Schlesinger and Syrian-U.S. based composer Kenan Azmeh at University of Iowa;  David Geselson and Mohamed El Khatib whose epistolary-themed work, Unwritten letters (Geselson) and Finir en beauté  (El Khatib) will be presented by FIAF Crossing the line festival this fall. 

Contemporary circus and puppetry arts were also encouraged with grants towards the U.S. tour of  Chambre Noire by the puppeter-director Ingvild Aspeli, Compagnie Plexus Polaire, at The Public Theater-Under the Radar Festival and Chicago International Puppetry Festival in January 2019 and to the tour of the circus artist Raphaëlle Boitel with When Angels Fall at Montclair State U., NJ,  Art Emerson, Boston, MA, and Lafayette College, Easton, PA, in February 2019.

FACE Contemporary Theater also supported two artist's residencies: David Geselson at Harlem Stage, New York, for the development of an ensemble piece  with American Actors about the life of Nina Simone and Rwanda-born artist Dorothée Munyaneza who after a successful U.S. tour in 2017 will be in residence at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago in 2019.

In France, support went to Theatre Garonne, Toulouse, in partnership with a network of French theaters, for the tour of Paradiso by Richard Maxwell and the developement of two new theater works until 2021,  and to Villa Carmago, Cassis, for theCultural Diaspora project bringing four African-American and four African playwrights together in residence this June. 


Residency of French author & director David Geselson
Development of Silence and Fear - Nina Simone

Harlem Stage, New York
July 2018


Author-Director David Geselson, Compagnie Lieux-dits and his team will be in residency at Harlem Stage mid-July 2018 for the development of the project Silence and Fear based on singer, songwriter and activist in the civil rights, Nina Simone with a group of African-American actors. A first collaboration with Harlem Stage, the two-week residency will culminate with an open rehearsal to the public and professionals.
Silence and Fear is co-produced by a several French theaters including Theatre de la Bastille, Paris, in partnership with Harlem Stage and will premiere in France early 2020. Presentation at Harlem Stage and in the United States will follow.


Performances by Elise Vigier, Fanny de ChaillE, and David Geselson
Festival Seuls en scEne - Princeton University - Dept. of French and Italian & Lewis Arts Center

Princeton, NJ
September 2018


The sixth edition of Seuls en scène Festival at Princeton University organized by Florent Masse, Professor and curator, will run from mid-September to mid October 2018 at Princeton Lewis Center for the Arts. It will highlight new artists never presented including to women directors with two performances of Harlem Quartet by Elise Vigier, a theatrical adaptation of James Baldwin’s famous book of the same name developed in collaboration with the musician and slammer Saul Williams and Kevin Keiss; two performances of The Gonzo Conference by Fanny de Chaillé, an artist at the intersection of dance and theater. Bypassing the form of conference, de Chaillé embraces the cause of rock in a passionate discourse; and two performances of Doreen by David Geselson, a theater production for two actors revisiting the exceptional relationship between André Gorz and his wife Doreen before committing the ultimate gesture, suicide.


David Geselson and Mohamed El Khatib
FIAF - Crossing the line festival

New York
September 2018


The multidisciplinary annual FIAF festival Crossing the line will open with two epistolary-themed theater projects, one by director David Geselson named Lettres non écrites. The project brings to life unwritten letters whose authors have shared orally the contents with Geselson. Letters are re-composed, approved by the authors who remain anonymous, and then read in English to audiences in an intimate setting.
The second, Finir en beauté by Mohamed El Khatib addresses the loss of a close person through a delicate reconstruction of written exchanges (letters, emails…) with his mother before her death. It examines relationships, death and the experience of grieving (with English surtitles).


Iphigenia at Lesvos: Story of a refugee by Marion Schoevaert, In Parentheses
University of Iowa, IO
Jersey City Theater, NJ

October - November 2018

Iphigenia at Lesvos: Story of a refugee is a documentary film opera about a woman’s experience of 21st century wars and the refugee crisis. Loosely adapted from Euripide’s Iphigenia plays, the text and film footage are continuously updated in this transdisciplinary performance to keep the refugees center stage in real time. The creative team includes French director Marion Schoevaert, U.S. playwright Lisa Schlesinger, Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh, Russian filmmaker Irina Patkanian, and French-Lebanese Paris based violinist/actress Layale Chaker.
The production will premiere at University of Iowa, Thayer Theater early November 2018 and will travel to Jersey City, NJ in 2019.


Theatrical adaptation by Blandine Savetier and Waddah Saab of Snow based upon the novel by Orhan Pamuk
CUNY Martin E. Segal Center, New York

October 2018

Development production workshop and stage reading of an abridged version of the theatrical adaptation of Snow by Orhan Pamuk by French director Blandine Savetier and French-Lebanese Waddah Saab will take place this fall in New York in partnership with CUNY-Martin E. Segal Center. The staged reading will be followed by a talk with Orhan Pamuk and the creative team about the life of Snow on stage. The adaptation will be developed an ethnically diverse cast four to five New York based actors.


U.S. Tour of Chambre Noire by Puppetry Company Plexus Polaire – Ingvild Aspeli The Public Theater-Under the Radar Festival, New York Chicago Puppetry International Festival, IL
January 2019

In January 2019, The Public Theater- Under the Radar Festival in New York and Chicago International Puppetry Festival will present the new production Chambre Noire by French company Plexus Polaire conceived by puppeteer Ingvild Aspeli offering a visibility to the company as never before.
In New York as well as in Chicago, Plexus Polaire will participate in Festival symposia that gather numerous professionals and presenters from the world as well as in training and educational programs in Chicago.
Chambre noire is a wild hallucination at the time of the death of Valerie Jean Solanas (1936-1988) and a complex, plural, outrageous portrait of Solana, a complex, multi-sided, radically feminist, author of the "SCUM Manifesto", and the woman who shot Andy Warhol without being able to kill him.


U.S. tour of La chute des anges (When Angels Fall) by Raphaelle Boitel
Peak Performances, Montclair U., NJ
Art Emerson, Boston, MA
The Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, Easton, PA

February 2019

The U.S. premiere of a new work La chute des anges by aerialist and circus artist Raphaelle Boitel will take place at Montclair State University, part of the Peak Performances series. Boitel’s extended stay will allow engagements activities and workshop with communities and students (Feb 9-17). Then, the production will tour to Boston at ArtsEmerson (February 18-24) and Easton, at Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, Easton, PA (Feb 25).
La chute des anges, a look at the fragility of balances, the manipulation of the masses and the place of technology in modern society will premiere in France in October 2018.


Caribbean Theatrical Actions – Playwrights from the Caribbean
CUNY-Martin E-Segal Center, New York, and Compagnie Sijay, Guadeloupe

May 2019

English language translations, publication and staged readings of contemporary plays by six authors, from Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haiti will be developed during the course of the spring 2019 and culminate with a series of staged readings, talks and workshops at CUNY Martin E Segal Center in May 2019. Developed in partnership with Compagnie Siyaj, Guadeloupe, it includes plays by emerging and established authors. Pre-selected authors include from Haiti, Syto Cave, Guy Régis Junior, from Guadeloupe, Maryse Condé, Gerty Dambury and from Martinique, Daniel Boukman, Gaël Octavia.


Bout à Bout by Clan des Songes
The New 42nd Street /The New Victory Theater

New York
May 30-June 9, 2019

The puppetry company from Toulouse, Le Clan des Songes, led by Marina Montesfusco will be back at The New Victory Theater -- the leading presenter of young audience productions in New York -- for 19 performances with its latest piece Bout à bout.
Using simple sections of rope to create lifelike characters in whimsical vignettes, Bout à bout is a 35-minute performance for the youngest aged 3 to 5.


Residence of performer-director Dorothée Munyaneza
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

May-July 2019

Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago has invited the Rwanda-born performer, singer, director Dorothée Munyaneza for a 3-month residency during spring-summer 2019 to explore and devise the early phases of a new work exploring subject of body and memory while connecting with the people of Chicago’s South Side. Concentrating in developing new ways to tell the stories of the black communities, especially women, she will collaborate with several Chicago-based artists such as composer-vocalist Ben Lamar Gay, dance artists Keyierra Collins Brianna Heats, designers Norman Teague and Folayemi Wilson, among others.


Hidden stories by Begat Theater
Boom Arts, Portland, OR
July 2019


The producing and presenting organization, Boom Arts, Portland has invited the street art company Begat Theater from Marseille with its site-specific performance to the first edition of a new contemporary outdoor festival Acting Out. In Hidden Stories that will be presented in English language in the Director Park area, Downtown Portland, audience members follow four discreet and interweaving narratives through public spaces, listening to characters’ inner thought through in-ear devices and experiencing the everyday environments anew. This invitation follows an extensive curatorial research by Ruth Wikler in France where she visited Aurillac street art festival as well as the contemporary circus festival CIRCA in Auch.



American Artists/Companies
In France


Cultural Diaspora: Residency of four African-American playwrights from the U.S.
Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France

June-July 2018

Four mid-career African-American playwrights, all women: France-Luce Benson, Haitian-American living in New York; Kara Lee Corthron; Genevieve Jessee from the San Francisco bay area, and Kimberly C. Ellis, -- will join four African playwrights -- Zainabu Jallo, Blessing Hungwe, Osofinsan Femi, and Bode Asiyanbi -- for a four-week residency in June at Villa Camargo, Cassis. The residency will offer the opportunity to share understandings of experiences, cultures and creative processes while developing new works and expanding networks. Readings of plays and public talks will take place at the end of June. Collaboration with Festival de Marseille, Radio France International (Theater program), Kennedy Center for the performing arts, and other institutions in New York are in development for future exchanges. Director Chuck Mike and playwright Carlyle Brown from the United States who conceived the program with Carmago Foundation will accompany the eight playwrights during the entire residence.


A three-year project with author and director Richard Maxwell in France
Theatre Garonne, Toulouse
Theatre Nanterre-Amandiers, Paris
Festival des Arts de Bordeaux
La Commune, Aubervilliers
Festival ActOral, Marseille

Fall 2018-2021

A three-year association with American playwright and director Richard Maxwell will start with the presentation of his recent production Paradiso at Théâtre Garonne, Toulouse, Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers, part of Festival d’automne à Paris, and Festival des Arts, Bordeaux. Maxwell will then embark in the development of two new works to be presented during the season 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 in partnership with a network of French and European presenters.
While Maxwell’s work has already been seen in France in theater institutions, this is the first long-term commitment toward the artist, one of the most adventurous directors and playwrights of his generation renowned for his bare approach of text and direction eliminating all excess to go the essential.



Nicole Birmann Bloom
Program Officer




FACE Foundation

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New York, NY 10075