Socio-artistic programme

Work Songs - Cinéma L'Alhambra, 5 mai 2017 - Crédit photo Vincent Beaume
© Vincent Beaume

Socio-artistic initiatives are structured around partnerships with non-profit, social-sector, medical-social, healthcare and culture organisations. Building bridges between professional and amateur artists, and between audiences from different generations and cultures, focusing on the works included in the Festival programme.
In 2018, 2,640 young people and adults took part in these activities, developed in partnership with some 110 social associations and centres across 25 local municipalities.



Marie-Laure Stephan

The Festival’s socio-artistic programme is designed for a public encompassing a wide age range and which, owing to economic reasons, social background or reduced autonomy, can feel cut off from the artistic and cultural offering in their area.

Following contact and discussions with the full range of social actors and partner organisations, many participants become interested and get involved in the socio-artistic projects:

  • Young people who have dropped out of school, or are on training or into-work schemes.
  • Children, young people and families from social housing neighbourhoods, foster children, young people in care.
  • Children, young people and families involved in extra-curricular educational, community or municipal activities (social and community centres, leisure centres, resource centres, media libraries, etc.).
  • Young people and adults who have just arrived in France.
  • Adults on social inclusion schemes claiming earned income support and housed in social accommodation centres.
  • Young people under legal protection, in jail or an open prison,
  • Young people and adults at risk of prostitution.
  • Seniors on the minimum pension or who are isolated.
  • Young people and adults with intellectual disabilities or autism.
  • Adults with mental or psychiatric disorders.
  • Patients or residents of healthcare institutions.

Opera outreach programmes run throughout the year and are designed with partner establishments or target audiences; participants are regularly invited to attend Festival events before seeing the show. The programmes include workshops with artist-educators, meetings to discuss, exchange opinions or workshops about the works, visits to set construction workshops and production venues, sessions with artists and technicians, etc.

Educational performances provide young people and families in particular with an opportunity to discover the many facets of opera in an enjoyable, hands-on way. The Festival Académie’s young participants, young musicians and artists involved in the Festival programme, take Musical Encounters to audiences in hospital settings, social housing projects and isolated areas.

With the support of local job centres and work-integration structures, Parcours Professions Opéra organises meetings with the Festival's technical teams for young people and adults interested in discovering the technical, back-stage disciplines associated with opera.

Artistic practice projects for pure beginners are run as part of festive days, one-off meetings with associations and creative residencies are an opportunity for participants to approach opera sensitively and expressively. These include lyric voice and choral singing, visual and sound arts, intercultural creations focusing particularly on Mediterranean or Afro-American music, and musical and vocal improvisation in public spaces, accompanied by musicians and choreographers.

The Ibn Zaydoun multicultural choir, directed by singer, composer and oud player Moneim Adwan, introduces amateur singers in Aix-en-Provence (Le Jas de Bouffan) and Marseille (Cité de la Musique) and brings together some sixty choral singers performing a varied repertoire that focuses on Arabic-Andalusian songs, popular songs of the Middle East and ancient and contemporary Arabic poems set to original compositions by Moneim Adwan. The Ibn Zaydoun choir gives concerts throughout the region, organised in partnership with cultural centres and for association festivals (6 concerts in 2016).

In 2013, it recorded an album featuring a selection from its repertoire. In 2014 and 2015, the choir produced an operatic work, The Dove, the Fox and the Heron, based on a story from the book of animal fables Kalila wa Dimna, set to music by Moneim Adwan and directed by Olivier Letellier.

In 2018, the Ibn Zaydoun choir will propose a repertoire of love songs consisting of Arabic poetry and traditional songs, which will be presented during concerts within the framework of the opening of the MP2018 - Quel Amour ! cultural season and the Voix de Silvacane.

The Choir has also taken part in La Nuit d’Antigone on 9th June 2018 at Aix-en-Provence Conservatory, within the framework of Aix en Juin. Festival d’Aix, in collaboration with Sciences Po Aix and Seconde Nature, is a partner of “Nouvelles Antigones”, a project at the intersection of politics and art, by the Sublimes Portes collective, which aims to give a voice to committed bloggers from the Mediterranean.

In June and July 2018, the Ibn Zaydoun choir has also taken part in the multi-cultural artistic project Orfeo & Majnun, of which Moneim Adwan has composed the music for the Arabic part. 


2019 Projects 

Awareness-raising programmes tailor-made to each opera at Festival d’Aix 2019, with:

  • Presentations and creative workshops allowing a personal and sensitive approach of the works (choir singing, writing, plastic and visual arts, theatre, puppets, dance, etc.)
  • Meetings with the technical teams with in particular the second edition of the open days at the workshops of the Festival in Venelles and the open days to discover the set of the Archevêché.
  • Musical events and meetings with the Festival artists in social housing districts in towns and villages in the area and festive days to discover a facet of lyric art (in 2018, Voice Days), developed with partner associations.

Two amateur artistic projects:
The Conference of the Birds
: loosely based on the collection of Sufi poems written in 1177 by the Persian poet Farid Al-Din Attar, this new a capella work for amateur chorus was composed by Moneim Adwan. The project brings together the Ibn Zaydoun chorus and the vocal group Antequiem, with a libretto in Arabic (by Fady Jomar) and in French (by Victoria Duhamel, who also took care of the spatial arrangement). Philipe Franceschi, the head of the Antequiem chorus, will be the amateur project's musical director. The project will be performed at the end of June in Aix as part of the Aix en Juin festival, then in Marseille and in a third city in the region to be decided.
- Work Songs 2: a work for a multicultural and multi-generational chorus staged and set to music in public areas by the Marseille company Rara Woulib. The project will feature young people from the region or new arrivals to France who are taking part in the Opera Profession Course, as well as adults with experience in amateur chorus. This year, Work Songs will be a chance to explore New Orleans Jazz Funerals, as an echo to Mozart's Requiem, scheduled for the Festival d'Aix. This new project will be part of a new work for 2020 by the Rara Woulib company. This year, the public will be able to see and hear them in Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and La Roque d’Anthéron between April and June 2019.