A central figure in the theatre and culture of our country, Molière, born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, was baptized in Paris on January 15, 1622. This year, we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of his birth: it is an extraordinary opportunity to celebrate and pass on his legacy, through a rich and lively programme that highlights all its current events.
The Ministry of Culture is proud to support the proliferation of initiatives that will make up this cultural year. It will allow everyone to discover or rediscover their universal and timeless masterpieces. A fine analyst of the human condition and an innovative comic, Molière left his mark on the francophone world, to the point that our French language is often referred to as the “language of Molière”.
The Molière year, which coincides with the European Year of Youth, will be the subject of a programme dedicated to young people, both in and outside schools. Thus, the Culture pass is associated with the celebration of this 400e anniversary by proposing four playlists dedicated to the work of Molière: a national list of books, a list of Molière shows geolocated, a list of national digital offers, to discover in video the plays of Molière, as well as a list dedicated to the specific programming of the Comédie-Française (https://pass.culture.fr/le-dispositif/).
Opened by the Minister of Culture this Thursday, January 13, at the Monnaie de Paris, on the occasion of the minting of a commemorative currency (https://www.monnaiedeparis.fr/en/boutique/l-art-de-la-plume-moliere), this season has nearly 200 shows programmed around the work of Molière, in the first half of the year alone, representing nearly 500 performances.
“Maison de Molière”, the Comédie-Française will be at the forefront, with no less than 13 shows in its three venues (https://www.comedie-francaise.fr/en/evenements/moliere-2022). On January 15, the troupe will present the original and unpublished version of Tartuffe (https://www.comedie-francaise.fr/en/evenements/le-tartuffe-ou-lhypocrite). The troupe will also return to celebrate Molière with the video format “Theatre at the Table,” which was a huge success (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV8g6sxt3SU).
Thanks to the support of the teams of the Ministry of Culture, and in particular, all the Directorates of Cultural Affairs, the National Drama Centres, the National Scenes, The National Interest Convention Stages and the City Theatres will allow all of our citizens, regardless of their age, in all the territories, to live this symbolic year for our theatre, closer to the works of Molière.
Some examples: Tartuffe, directed by Macha Makeïeff, will be performed during a major national tour, from the Théâtre national de Nice to the Comédie de Caen-CDN in Normandy, including Angers, Villeurbanne, which is the French Capital of Culture 2022, Toulon, Rennes, or Bayonne and Créteil (https://www.theatre-lacriee.com/programmation/saison/tartuffe.html).
In Pézenas, the city of Occitanie where Molière has stayed several times, a whole weekend of festivities will celebrate the 400e birthday of his birth (https://www.ville-pezenas.fr/pezenas-2022/).
Brittany, meanwhile, is mobilizing with many shows supported by the Direction régionale des Affaires culturelles, including, in particular, Mission Molière, an original creation by Johann Sauvage that will be performed in May and June (https://www.casusdelires.com/mission-moliere/). A colloquium with international influence, under the name of “Molière et les acteurs comiques: art et technique de la création” will be organized by the theatre department of the University of Rennes II, from 17 to 19 November (https://www.fabula.org/actualites/moliere-et-les-acteurs-comiques-art-et-techniques-de-la-creation-scenique_102095.php).
In homage to the universal dimension of the texts of Molière, the city of Bastia organizes the translation in Corsica of four of its pieces. L'Avare will be revisited under the name “Rancicone” by the company “Unita teatrale” and its director Jean-Pierre Lanfranchi (https://www.francetvpro.fr/contenu-de-presse/22736559).
The overseas territories are fully involved in this programming. Starting in May, Dom Juan, directed by Jean-Luc Moreau, will be represented at the Caudan Arts Center in Port Louis (Île-Maurice), before a regional tour, including Reunion Island.
Exhibitions and symposia will also be organized around the figure of Molière, by the Palace of Versailles, the National Library of France and the Sorbonne. These events will help to better understand in its context the personality of the famous playwright and the innovative character of his work.
After the international colloquium «Retour sur Molière» and the projection of the restored version of Ariane Mnouchkine’s Molière, the various exhibitions prepared by the Bibliothèque nationale de France will shed new light on Molière’s creative process, as well as its heritage through the ages. They will mark the highlights of this cultural and scientific activity (https://www.bnf.fr/sites/default/files/2022-01/CP_Moliere_BnF_2022.pdf).
From September 27, 2022 to January 15, 2023, the Richelieu site will host the exhibition «Molière, le jeu du vrai et du faux», with many works and archival pieces from the national collections. The Opera Library and Museum will explore the influence of the playwright on the music and composers of his time, with «Molière en musiques».
In Moulins, the Centre national du costume de scène (CNCS) will present more than 150 costumes and sets of mock-ups, photographs and audiovisual recordings (https://www.cncs.fr/prochaines-expositions-mai-2022-%C3%A0-avril-2023).
On the very site of his exploits in front of the Sun King, the Royal Opera of Versailles celebrates Molière with pomp, through the staging of three of his masterpieces, two CD releases and concerts of the finest musical pieces written for him, where the interpretations of Guillaume Gallienne and Comédie-Française respond to the play of William Christie (https://www.chateauversailles-spectacles.fr/tag/moliere_t218/1).
Finally, to celebrate the French language, "language of Molière", as part of the next week of the French language and the Francophonie (12 - 20 March), a "Francophone" dictation inspired by "L'Avare" will be broadcast on all French-language radio stations in the world. The comedian Michel Boujenah will be the godfather of this edition.
This tribute is open to all ages and audiences. The public service audiovisual service will play a leading role by offering numerous programs and podcasts (https://www.francetelevisions.fr/et-vous/notre-tele/a-ne-pas-manquer/moliere-9511) while the Pathé live will allow you to attend the screening of performances of Molière’s plays, both in France and abroad. The original and unpublished version of Tartuffe, played on the stage of the Comédie-Française, will be broadcastLive on 15 January.
Multiple, generous and creative, this program will allow all our fellow citizens to celebrate Molière as it should this year.