Media Release: A feast of theatre in French at the Institut francais for La Semaine de la Francophonie

novecento2_Liliane Anjo

THE Institut français d’Ecosse is proud to welcome two theatre productions in French La Voix Humaine and Novecento: Pianiste in Edinburgh to celebrate the International Week of French Language and Francophonie on 19 and 20 March 2013.

In La Voix Humaine, a theatre play written by Jean Cocteau in 1931 and first staged at the Comedie française in 1931, a middle-aged woman (Helene Hiquily) is on a phone call with her lover of the past five years.

He is to marry another woman the next day which causes her to despair. Taking place in Paris, this one-act monologue explores the end of a love story through one voice and many silences.

Wires are crossed, truths are twisted and words misinterpreted in a desperate final effort to connect.

This production of La Voix Humaine by French company Theatre du Matin commemorates the 50th anniversary of Cocteau’s death in 1963. The performance will be followed by a Q&A with Hélène Hiquily who has been teaching French through theatre when living in Australia and touring in the UK.

La Voix Humaine will be performed at the Institut français d’Ecosse in Edinburgh on Tuesday 19 March then at the Alliance française in Glasgow on Wednesday 20 March and at the Institut français du Royaume-Uni in London on Thursday 21 March.

On Wednesday 20 March, the Belgian artists of Collectif Blauw are presenting their production of Alessandro Baricco’s Novecento: Pianiste with Emmanuel De Candido (narrator) and Pierre Solot (pianist).

In the first monologue written by Baricco we meet Novecento, a young man born and abandoned on The Virginian, a cruise liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean that he has never left.

Adopted by the ship crew he grows up in this early 20th century microcosm that gathers social backgrounds and nationalities from both continents.

Now 30, Novecento is a pianist virtuoso who creates music that he only is capable of playing.

Since its creation for the Asti Festival (Italy) in 1994 Baricco’s monologue designed as a contemporary musical tale has been performed widely by different companies and in various forms.

Adapted, shortened, illustrated, this versatile text and wonderfully evocative story was ideal for Collectif Blauw to express their creativity.

Collectif Blauw’s visit to Scotland is supported by Wallonia Brussels International. Novecento: Pianiste will also be performed at the Alliance française in Glasgow on Thursday 21 March.

Vincent Guerin, director of the Institut français d’Ecosse, says: “Every year a lot of new French-speaking companies are emerging and staging new productions in French.

“As the promoters of French culture and language in Scotland, it is only normal that we showcase this vitality.

“This International Week of French Language and Francophonie gives us the perfect opportunity to invite these companies to perform on Scottish stages.”

- ENDS –

Free to use images: Novecento: Pianiste / Collectif Blauw © Liliane Anjo

For further information, interviews and more images, please contact Vanessa Bismuth: 0131 2207751 or



Direction: Jacqueline Ordas / Cast: Hélène Hiquily / Production: Theatre du Matin / 70 mins + Q&A / In French

- Tuesday 19 March, 6.30 pm / Institut français d’Ecosse, 13 Randolph crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7TT / £8 (£5) / Box office: 0131 225 5366

- Wednesday 20 March, 6.30 pm / Alliance française in Glasgow, 3 Park Circus, Glasgow G3 6AX / £5 (£3) / Box Office: 0141 331 4080

- Thursday 21 March, 6.30 pm / Institut français du Royaume Uni, 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT / £8 (£6) / Box Office: 020 7871 3515


Direction: Collectif Blauw / Translation: Françoise Brun / Cast: Emmanuel De Candido (narrator), Pierre Solot (piano) / Production: Collectif Blauw (Belgium) / 85 mins / In French

- Wednesday 20 March, 6.30 pm / Institut français d’Ecosse, 13 Randolph crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7TT / £8 (£5) / Box office: 0131 225 5366

- Thursday 21 March, 6.30 pm / Alliance française in Glasgow, 3 Park Circus, Glasgow G3 6AX / £5 (£3) / Box Office: 0141 331 4080


Note to editors

- This programme of theatre shows in French is co-organised with le Réseau des Alliances Françaises.

- Every year around 20 March, the International Week of French Language and Francophonie is a unique opportunity to celebrate the richness and diversity of the French language, and to discover all that it has to offer. It is coordinated by the International Organisation for La Francophonie, whose mission is to embody the active solidarity between its 75 member states and governments, which together represent over one-third of the United Nations’ member states and account for a population of over 890 million people, including 220 million French speakers.

- Wallonia-Brussels International is the public body representing Francophone Belgium abroad. It is in charge, among other duties, with Francophone Belgian international cultural policies. Through its delegations and permanent centres worldwide Wallonia-Brussels International promotes Francophone artists in collaboration with local agencies from the public and the private sector.

- The Institut français is the agency of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs with responsibility for cultural activity outside France. In Scotland, the agency is represented by the Institut français d’Ecosse (Edinburgh) which promotes French language and culture by providing French courses and organising events (film screenings, talks, exhibitions, concerts, etc.). It also aims to encourage cross-cultural exchange between France and Scotland, in cooperation with Scottish Francophile institutions. Additional information is available on or follow us on Twitter @ifecosse.

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Contact: Vanessa Bismuth