Ateliers de construction des décors du Festival d'Aix-en-Provence
Clément Vial

Workshops

The technical department is an important asset for the Festival and covers the entire range of its technical requirements. The Venelles site located seven kilometres from Aix-en-Provence houses the Festival's permanent creation and construction workshops. Throughout the year, the technical department, which also has its own design office, maintains close links with the artistic creation and production teams.

The Festival's technical department is responsible for organising all the technical, logistics and security aspects involved in implementing the programme. Twelve permanent staff assist the creative processes of several artistic teams, from birth of the project with the first meetings and presentation of mock-ups to final presentation of productions and concerts in the Festival's different venues, together with subsequent performances and tours. It has production and project management tools including set construction workshops, a costume production workshop and two rehearsal spaces, one of which mimics the actual dimensions of the Théâtre de l’Archevêché stage, installed in a 5,200 sq. m. industrial building in Venelles (belonging to the Bouches-du-Rhône Regional Council), 1,000 sq. m. of rented storage premises in Gardanne, and a design office whose manager is responsible for the construction workshops and the design office, plus a CAD technician assisted during the season by two supplementary CAD technicians.


From 12 permanent staff to 300 technicians

Meetings between the technical department and the artistic creation teams, technical visits and meetings with co-producers require frequent travel across Europe and to China, Russia and North America, while the work of preparation, design studies, construction and production continues throughout the year.

Although the volume of staff is generally quite low in September and October, it rises gradually with the start-up of the sets workshop in November, the costume workshop in April and in May, when the teams take charge of the rehearsal and performance spaces, to more than 300 technicians employed in July when the Festival is in full operating phase.


Sets workshop

Five opera productions

In 2015, the team was responsible for construction of sets, props and production of costumes for five opera productions: Alcina, Die Enführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio),  A Midsummer Night's Dream,  Svadba and Be with Me Now, together with the necessary adaptations of other productions for the performances scheduled during tours, notably in Bergen, New York, Dijon, Amsterdam, Munich, Lisbon, Beijing, Nantes and Manama.

  • Décor de La Clemenza di Tito - Ateliers de Venelles
    Décor de La Clemenza di Tito - Ateliers de Venelles
    © Jean-Claude Carbonne - Festival d'Aix-en-Provence 2011
    Décor de La Clemenza di Tito - Ateliers de Venelles
  • Décor de La Traviata - Ateliers de Venelles
    Décor de La Traviata - Ateliers de Venelles
    © Jean-Claude Carbonne - Festival d'Aix-en-Provence 2011
    Décor de La Traviata - Ateliers de Venelles
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Costume workshop

Up to 30 cutters and dressmakers

Alongside two large costume production workshops staffed by some 30 cutters and dressmakers from mid-April to end June, there is a dyeing and decoration workshop, fitting rooms and a storage area. The number of costumes to be produced for each season varies depending on the works programmed and the staging concepts on which the costumiers work. For instance, apart from the number of soloists, the number of people recruited depends on whether an opera includes a chorus, dancers or extras and the number of costumes required for each performer.


Operation of the venues

Five main stages

The 2065 Festival used five main venues: the Théâtre de l’Archevêché, the Grand Théâtre de Provence, the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume, the Cour de l’hôtel Maynier d’Oppède and the Auditorium of the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud, supplemented by the venues used for concerts and by the Academy: the Théâtre du Bois de l’Aune, the Courtyard of the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur, the Abbaye de Silvacane, and outside venues in towns in the Bouches-du-Rhône department.

Figures

5 sets in 2015 including two eco-designed sets
97% of the set for Alcina is recyclable
98,8% of the set for Così fan tutte is recyclable
Die Enführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio): a 30% reduction in the volume of polystyrene and 8 cu. m. of cork using compostable plant-origin dyes
105 costumes in 2015
5 main stages in 2016


Tours

Eight productions in France and abroad

In 2016, the Festival organised no fewer than twelve productions in France and abroad. For these tours, as in Aix-en-Provence, the technical department calls on the services of professionals in general technical, production and stage crafts, together with stage machinery operators, electricians, props specialists, audiovisual technicians, costumiers, hairdressers and decorators, etc.

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