Olivier Py

The author, director and actor, Olivier Py was born in 1965. After studying at the National Superior School of Theatre Arts and Techniques (Ensatt), he entered the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art Paris in 1987, while studying theology.

His first play, Oranges and Nails, was created by Didier Lafaye at the Essaïon Theatre in 1988. The same year, Olivier Py founded his own company and staged his own plays, including Gazpacho, A Dead Dog, The Adventures of Paco Goliard, The Servant, An Endless Story, a twenty-four hour cycle performed at the Avignon Festival in 1995, as well as The Face of Orpheus, created in Orleans and presented at the Festival d’Avignon in the Cour d’honneur of the Popes’ Palace in 1997. At that time, Olivier Py also staged texts of Elizabeth Mazev and Jean-Luc Lagarce.

Appointed in 1998 Director of the Orleans National Drama Centre, he created Requiem for Srebrenica, The Water of Life, The Joyful Apocalypse, Epistle to Young Actors, To the World as it doesn’t exist... Other directors staged his plays: Theatres by Michel Raskine, The Exaltation of the Labyrinth by Stéphane Braunschweig, The Servant by Robert Sandoz... In 2003, Olivier Py presented The Satin Shoe by Claudel. He wrote and directed a trilogy, The Winners, in 2005. The same year, he directed A Cry from Heaven by Vincent Woods in Dublin. In 2006, at the invitation of Jean-Michel Ribes, he presented “The Great Py Parade” in Paris at the Théâtre du Rond-Point - six shows he wrote and directed five reruns and a new creation: Comedy Illusions also performed in all of France.

In 2006, on the occasion of the closing of the 60th Avignon Festival, Olivier Py staged a tribute to Jean Vilar, The Vilar Enigma, in the Cour d’honneur of the Popes’ Palace. It was also at the Avignon Festival, in 1996 that he performed the character of Miss Knife for the first time, whose singing tour was presented in Paris, Lyon, New York, Brussels, Madrid, Athens, and was the subject of two discs published by Actes Sud. In 2012, Miss Knife went on the road again in France and in the world with a new show.

As an actor, Olivier Py has also starred in shows by Jean-Luc Lagarce, François Rancillac, Eric Sadin, Pascal Rambert, Nathalie Schmidt, as well as in the films of Jacques Maillot, Cédric Klapisch, Michel Deville, Laurent Bénégui, Peter Chelsom, Martin Provost or Noemie Lvovsky. He has also directed two films: Eyes Closed in 1999 for Arte and Mediterraneans in 2011 for Canal +.

Appointed in March 2007 Head of the French national Odeon-Theatre of Europe, he created the Oresteia by Aeschylus in 2008, The Water of Life, The Girl, the Devil and the Mill and The True Fiancée. From 2009 to 2012, he translated, adapted and directed a trilogy of Aeschylus (Seven against Thebes, The Suppliants, The Persians), played outside the walls as “street theatre” for the non-public. In 2009, he took up The Satin Shoe by Claudel at the Odeon and also created The Children of Saturn at the Ateliers Berthier. In 2011, he created Adagio [Mitterrand, the hidden things and his death], presented Romeo and Juliet at the Odeon, which was taken on tour in France and abroad, and created Die Sonne in German, which was commissioned by the Volksbühne in Berlin. In 2012, he completed his full works of Aeschylus with Prometheus Bound.

In April 2011, despite a track record praised by all, the French Minister of Culture and Communication announced that Olivier Py's contract would not be renewed for a second term: the latter left the Odeon in March 2012 after five seasons. Shortly after this announcement, given the magnitude of reactions, Olivier Py has been entrusted with the management of the Festival d’Avignon starting with the 2014 edition. A position he is holding since September 2013.

From March 2012 to September 2013, in addition to a new album and a tour of Miss Knife, he staged Vitrioli by Yannis Mavritsakis in Athens, at the request of the National Theatre of Greece, and several operas in Europe. For a dozen years, Olivier Py has indeed regularly tackled the opera with, among others, The Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach, Tristan and Isolde and Tannhäuser by Wagner, Britten's Curlew River, Pelléas and Mélisande by Debussy, The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky, Hindemith's Matthias the Painter, Meyerbeer's The Huguenots, Carmen by Bizet, Claude by Robert Badinter and Thierry Escaich, Alceste by Gluck, Verdi's Aida or Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites.

Most of his work is published by Actes Sud, including a Full Theater in three volumes. It was translated into English, Italian, German, Slovenian, Spanish, Romanian and Greek. He published a political essay, Cultivate Your Storm with Actes Sud in 2012 and in 2013, The Thousand and One Definitions of Theater and Siegfried by night.

Olivier Py will write and direct a new production.
Production Teatro de La Abadía, Festival d'Avignon, Théâtre National/Bruxelles.