At a press conference at the Grand Théâtre on Monday 8 May 2022, the Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg presented their programme for the 2023/24 season, which will kick off on Saturday 9 September 2023.
The press conference started with a one-woman expressive dance performance with intensifying modern piano music.
Lydie Polfer, Mayor of the City of Luxembourg (Ville de Luxembourg – VdL) and President of the programme committee (Commission des programmes), opened the press conference with a welcome address, discussing the fact that the past three years post-pandemic have been a challenge for the theatre, as last year was still partly affected by certain seating limitations. From 2023, she added, the theatre has been seeing very similar numbers to those in 2019 and a 35% increase in subscriptions. This year the theatres are planning on increasing the number of performances (three to eight per play), bringing them abroad, across Europe and internationally thus bringing more “durability to creation”. She highlighted the addition of the “future laboratory”, a project with twelve European performing arts institutions creating an international partnership and varied projects for the future.
Mayor Polfer added that theatre is “essential” to maintain cohesion in our society, to bring audiences from different backgrounds together to feel the same feelings and create community across cultures and differences.
Tom Leick-Burns, Artistic Director and General Manager of Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, added that the goal for this year is to deepen the exploration of specific themes by more closely involving the artists in the production process. He discussed the aim of finding new stories that may include novel perspectives in order to reach more people. He announced the third edition of the Red Bridge Project, which has community collaboration at its heart.
Lemi Ponifasio, a Samoan theatre artist globally renowned for his inclusive work communities, choir, food events and performative events such as dance battles, was invited to work on four performances with the occasion of the Red Bridge Project. He works with eight Maori performers who will join him. This collaboration has created four performances: Jerusalem (13 and 14 October 2023 at the Grand Theatre), Love to Death (2 and 3 February 2024 at the Grand Theatre), Teata at Mudam during spring 2024, and Sea beneath the skin (based on Das Lied von der Erde – The Song of The Earth by composer Gustav Mahler, combined with tunes from the Pacific Ocean) at the Philharmonie on 14 June 2024. This project will invite people from across the country to participate in a choir of about 150 singers.
Next came a brief presentation of the upcoming theatre plays, and associated artists such as Myriam Muller, Ian de Toffoli, Ella Road and Anne Simon were present to discuss their respective productions.
Anne Simon presented the upcoming play Cock by Mike Bartlett – one in accessible language, about a homosexual couple on a so-called break, and one of them meets the woman of his dreams. Anne Simon noted that this play is topical for its focus on sexual fluidity, for its primary focus on relationships and for its rejection of naturalism on stage (the stage is bare). More details to follow.
Other English-language highlights include performances of The Confessions, by international associate British writer and director Alexander Zeldin, following the story of his own mother, her migration and her struggle to emancipate herself from her dominant husband. The play will take place at the Grand Théâtre, from 3 to 5 May 2024.
Another English-language highlight is A Family Business, by Chris Thorpe, part of a trilogy following the threat of nuclear weapons stationed every day, even throughout Europe. He will treat this difficult topic in a reportedly comical, irreverent way. This production will take place at the Théâtre des Capucins from 24 to 25 January 2024.
In addition, as part of the Shakespeare’s cycle, Macbeth by Richard Twyman will be presented this autumn at the Grand Théâtre, from 25 to 28 October 2023.
An upcoming opera performance will be The Carmen Case, by George Bizet and Diana Soh, focusing on the tragic reality of femicide (women killed by men, oftentimes their partners). More details to follow.
This year’s dance performances will offer some insight into queer flamenco and several other international dance companies. There will be the return of a production that Tom Leick-Burns noted was a success in 2021, namely Message in a bottle - blending street dance, contemporary dance and hip hop (in the past co-produced with Sting). A ballet production from Birmingham will also present the ballet performance We are Malala, the Pakistani female education activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate at seventeen, who recovered in Birmingham from having been shot. More details to follow.
This season will also see the second production of Danse macabre, using testimonials from women in Ukraine, a show by all-female Ukrainian band Dakh Daughters. This 1.5-hour performance will take place in Ukrainian (with English and French surtitles).
This year, the public can once again celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Grand Théâtre with the return of Yaron Lifschitz / Circa. This will be a production of Beethoven’s 9th symphony on Sunday 31 December 2023 and Monday 1 January 2024.
“It’s a very musical season,” Tom Leick-Burns noted. The press conference showed a video presentation of the 2023/24 season, the tagline of which is “L’émotion au pluriel” (manyfold emotions).
The Théâtres de la Villes de Luxembourg have been working to develop further their existing programme framework, for instance reintroducing monthly thematic meetings, all the while adding the possibility for introductions, exchanges with artists and a participatory approach in the creation process. The Talent Lab will accompany artists in their creative endeavours, for an interdisciplinary approach. Another goal for the new season is to reach new audiences and communities, particularly those with disabilities, notably blind and deaf people. Part of this mission will see the inclusion of the addition of vests to experience ballet and the addition of disability-friendly toilets in certain city theatres.
The press conference ended with a one-man expressive modern dance performance.
The full programme for the 2023/24 season is now available online at https://theatres.lu/fr/programmation. Multi-show subscriptions are now on sale, with the general sale launching online on Monday 3 July 2023.