The Théâtre de Nice embarks on a new adventure between art and science

This Monday, April 25, the capital of the Côte d’Azur has given us an appointment for the opening of the Salle des Franciscans on Place Saint François. A long-awaited inauguration that marked the launch of a series of adventures and new beginnings for the National Theater of Nice. On this occasion, the ‘small’ room full of history received patrons and other guests from TNN for a special evening devoted to creation, adventure and emotion.

The whole culture had the honor of being invited to this cheerful event and to attend the seamstress of Isabella Rosselini’s already sold-out show Darwin’s smile, directed by Muriel Payette-Holtz, the current director of the CDN. The evening continued with a new cabaret piece performed by members of the TNN company, and “after the verses, a drink”!

The Théâtre de Nice reinvents itself

Monday, April 25, 2022 remains a momentous date in the history of cultural life in Nice and for the great artistic revival project of the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who plans to make Nice a European Capital of Culture by 2028. series of actions by the opposition led by the Socialist Party and environmentalists begging for a “financial and environmental scandal”, the TNN founded in 1989 by Yves Bayard and the Acropolis exhibition center will indeed be destroyed to take place make for the “Promenade du Paillon”. In this context, the National Theater occupies new spaces, spread from east to west of the city, to further open up access to culture.

From January 2022, the TNN left its old buildings to go outside its walls to various places such as the Opera, the Francis Gag Theater, the Nice Nord Forum or the Lino Ventura Theater to make cultural proposals to the people of Nice. Many artistic and educational projects have arisen under the direction of Muriel Mayette-Holtz, who has been appointed Head of the Theater since 2019. After joining the Comédie-Française as an actress in 1985, she has since led an astonishing career and has shown unwavering dynamism since the beginning of her tenure at TNN. Around the 2021/2022 season, she has conceived meetings and free educational projects in the heart of the city, with oral classes, meetings with big names from the artistic scene and readings of stories to share with family.

It was therefore a relieved and enthusiastic TNN team that we met this Monday evening, happy to take the next step: “It is an incredible opportunity to inaugurate a theatre, it is unique; and we will be doing it three times this year so the emotion is at its peak. says Muriel Mayette-Holtz. The “little” room of the Franciscans, the result of a gigantic rehabilitation project, is now equipped with all the equipment for the practice of the show once three other spaces (The Kitchen, the Iconic and the Palace of Arts and Culture ). But it is clear that all these demonstrations will not come about without funds, nor without the financial support of the association “Passionnément TNN” launched by Benjamin Mondou and his wife, present at this inauguration. Their speech was intended to promote the endowment fund created in March 2022 to give the youngest access to theatrical performances and to meet distant audiences such as EPHADs, secondary schools or travel in the valleys of the Nice hinterland.

Darwin’s smilea journey between art and science

“We actors can help science”: Isabella Rossellini tries to prove that to her audience in her show full of stories and humor, and it’s quite a successful bet. She slides from one character to another and gives a sort of lecture on Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution, which slowly becomes a great theater lesson. In a calculated and charming tone, she shows how much empathy, necessary for actors, makes an extensive study of animal life and behavior possible. In this play, the Italian-American actress and director succeeds in reconciling ‘the two loves of her life’, seemingly opposite: scientific research and acting. The captivating imaginary box is staged by Muriel Mayette-Holtz, according to a sober and modern scenography with a fair amount of digital interventions, giving way to the heartfelt acting of Isabella Rossellini.

Nothing better to open the stage of the Franciscans than a creation and this face to face between the actress and her audience, “the show that will somehow mark the DNA of the Franciscan program must be beautiful, accessible, touching and really appealing to us, teaches us something,” says the director of TNN. Muriel Mayette-Holtz is committed to pushing the boundaries between science, poetry, philosophy, mathematics and offering appointments that are as emotional as they are interesting. the Franciscan Hall is completely modular and we look forward to discovering more alternative configurations, this first performance was more suitable for a frontal scenography “We must gradually discover the possibilities of this room, and therefore we will position the bifrontal on stage next season. But you have to keep in mind that it is essentially the show that dictates the configuration. confirms the director.

An inaugural cabaret that sets the tone for the adventure of the Franciscan hall

Barely outside of this wonderful journey into the ethological-dramatic universe of Isabella, the audience begins with the company of the TNN for an hour of cabaret. They tell us singing, with humor and emotion, the rich history of their new stage sheltered by stones from the 13th century. It was first a former Franciscan monastery, but was deconsecrated during the Revolution to alternately become a stable, apartments, nightclub, cinema and municipal service building, before finally housing the repertoire of the National Theater of Nice. With a maximum capacity of 300 seats, this emblematic place already reveals a strong identity imbued by Muriel Mayette-Holtz “The Franciscans will be devoted to actors, performers in stripped-down scenographies, with shows based on play, and where dance and music have their place”. An air of beauty felt during this evening, where speaking and singing predominated!

Other rooms open in Nice. At La Cuisine, the shows will be more ambitious from a set and effects standpoint and larger casts will be offered for major repertory events. For the premiere, the masterpiece of the large repertoire will be presented Berenice interpreted by Racine by Augustin Bouchacourt, Carole Bouquet, Frédéric de Goldfiem, Jacky Ido and Ève Pereur, echoing the desire of the director of TNN to “share this beauty with the public, especially to show that it somehow difficult or unattainable”. A third room near the train station, the Iconic, “welcomes magic, local roots through regional businesses, and a focus on the sole performers,” Muriel Mayette-Holtz tells us. It will house solos, laughter and contemporary theater to provide a mixed program suitable for audiences from all places. And finally, a final stage will be set up in the heart of the future Palais des Arts et de la Culture, scheduled for 2025. All in all, the National Theater of Nice faces a series of exciting challenges, gripped by ambition by its director Muriel Mayette-Holtz was determined to revive the theater as close to the audience as possible.

Joining TNN in May:

The Franciscans:

Monday 2 May: Moral course (free by reservation)

From 2 to 6 May From 4 to 7 May at 3 pm or 8 pm: The little one in the deep forest by Philippe Minyana, directed by Pantelis Dentakis

Monday 9 May: Intimate conversation with Michèle Laroque presented by Catherine Ceylac La

Kitchen :

From 20 to 25 May at 8 pm: Bereniceby Jean Racine, directed by Muriel Mayette-Holtz.

Tuesday May 31: Lectures by Albert Camus, Charles Berling

Events for Summer 2022

Find the full program here.

Images: © Virginie Lançon, Darwin’s smileIsabella Rossellinic

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