Theatre, music, dance, opera, circus, cinema...
Since 1946, Les Nuits de Fourvière has been dedicated to the performing arts and endeavoured to let different art forms share the stage. Every summer, in June and July, the festival presents about 60 shows for an audience gathering over a hundred and thirty thousand people. If multidisciplinary is a criteria, it is not an absolute rule. The festival cherishes its opening and modernity by avoiding fixing set rules or themes. Les Nuits has built a unique artistic project whose sole reference is the artistic quality of the presented pieces and their importance on the international stage.
"Year on year, driven by its director Dominique Delorme, the festival Les Nuits de Fourvière asserts its desire for daring and originality. Behind its conventional aspect a vast array of initiatives are to be found, all contributing to a rich two-month programme (theatre, classical music, dance, rock, world music...)"
French Newspaper Libération, 2010
COMPLICITY WITH THE ARTISTS
Creations and co-productions
By producing shows and inviting the artists and craftsmen who build them, by introducing new stories to the audience, Les Nuits is showing its desire for creation. Besides hosting guest performances, Les Nuits participates, both financially and in terms of production to the artistic creation. Sometimes, the festival commissions the creation of original shows or encourages artists to meet.
The artistic principles of the festival are:
to produce high-quality pieces of art aiming at the largest possible audience
to gain the loyalty of internationally renowned artists
to support beginners or artists still unknown in France
“We try to walk away from the production plans which traditionally apply in show business. We often ask artists what projects they did not get the opportunity to produce within their usual environment. Thus, enabling us to present to a large audience, original material that has not been highly publicised yet.”
Dominique Delorme in Les Inrockuptibles, 2011
A WARM WELCOME, A GENEROUS AUDIENCE
Les Nuits gathers every summer over 130 000 spectators. The average attendance reaches 83% of the full capacity of the theatres.
"It’s a unique place: a big ancient theatre, really impressive... From the stage, we have almost the impression to face a wall of people; it looks like the audience stands upright! Indoors, it could feel stifling, but outdoors in Fourvière, it feels like singing into each spectator’s ear. It creates an incredible proximity and a unique sound quality. But my best memory of Fourvière remains the famous "lancer de coussins"! At the very end of performance, if the audience enjoyed the show, they throw the small cushions they have been provided to sit on towards the stage. I have never seen a place with such a collective manifestation of codified joy."
Les Nuits seen by Olivia Ruiz
ABOVE ALL, A POLITIC WILL
Les Nuits de Fourvière has been directly administered by the Département du Rhône until 2005. On the 1st of January 2006, the festival became an EPIC (a category of public undertaking) and is now legally and financially independent. Bringing life to an archaeological heritage, improving the links between this heritage and performing arts are the leading aspects of a public policy willing to support art and culture.
For every edition, Les Nuits de Fourvière produces or coproduces creations of international scale, in partnership with institutions and festivals such as the Barbican Centre or the Sadler’s Wells in London, the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, the Lincoln Center Festival in New York, the Athens Festival, the El Greco festival in Barcelona, the Théâtres de la Ville in Luxembourg, the Théâtre de la Place in Liege ... With its evenings called NUITS, the festival also dedicates a part of the programme to artists coming from all over the world: Benin (Nuit au Bénin), Spain (Nuit du Flamenco), Bali, Argentina (Nuit Tango), Beijing (Opéra de Pékin) ...
For over a decade, Les Nuits de Fourvière has been building privileged relationships, based on trust and exchanges with businesses. Thanks to their strong and constant commitment, these businesses support the creation policy held by the festival. Les Nuits de Fourvière aims at working on tailor-made partnerships in order to meet expectations of every company. Themes, amounts and counterparties are decided and precised according to the needs, possibilities and wishes of every partner. Many other businesses are also supporting the festival by subscribing to evenings organised during the whole festival period in the Village of Les Nuits de Fourvière, an open-air restaurant located behind the Gallo-roman theatre.
A PLACE, A HISTORY
The archaeological site of Fourvière is often considered as the artistic heart of the city. Starting excavations in this site has been for a long time one of the major archaeological issues of Lyon. To answer the demand, Edouard Herriot, mayor of Lyon at this time, ordered the first excavations in 1933. After a break related to World War II, the Grand theatre appears in 1946. Its inauguration takes place on the 29th of June, with a remarkable speech of Herriot himself, followed by a performance of The Persians from Aeschylus by the Groupe de Théâtre Antique de la Sorbonne. The Odéon officially opens on the 25th of June 1952 with the Concertos Brandebourgeois, directed by Karl Münchinger. From the beginning, reviving the site, livening it up by presenting shows has been an absolute dream and a shared ambition. The idea to name « festival » this new meeting between the city and artists, happening a week before the first artistic week of Avignon, had not occurred to anyone at this time. Since then, the festival gathers the population every summer around a programme of international scale, both artistic and popular. The ancient site displays, in the very heart of Lyon, two adjacent spaces: the Grand theatre (4400 seats) and the Odéon (1200 seats).
Les Nuits de Fourvière benefits from many assets. Above all, the location: this bucolic hill of Fourvière overhanging Lyon, and where the Romans decided to found Lugdunum.
Le Monde, 2010