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Théâtre Des Bouffes Du Nord © Coyau Wikimedia Commons 06

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The Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord


As resident company at the 2018 International Festival, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord brings three contrasting yet equally daring works to Edinburgh.

In 1974, British director Peter Brook came across the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris. Though it was a dilapidated building that hadn't been in proper use for about sixty years, Brook saw the beauty of its decay and decided to save it from destruction. 

Fast forward forty years, and the Bouffes du Nord has been transformed into a world-renowned centre for pioneering theatrical exploration, where many of today's great theatre-makers have presented work. 

The whole of the theatre is about being together...and that's the meaning of the Edinburgh [International] Festival as well.

Peter Brook

At the heart of the Bouffes du Nord's success is the belief that the stage itself is pivotal to telling a story. Relying on the power of an audience's imagination, the theatre becomes a space of limitless possibilities. 

The Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord bring these core principles and their acclaimed work to the International Festival as a resident company. They will present three contrasting pieces with three different directors, including their now former artistic director - Peter Brook himself. 

The Prisoner © Simon Annand

The Prisoner

Co-written and co-directed by Brook and long-time collaborator Marie-Hélène Estienne, The Prisoner draws on work and research across several countries and continents. 

Asking profound questions about justice, guilt and who gets to decide what they are, The Prisoner brings together a multinational cast of acclaimed actors from countries including Sri Lanka, Rwanda, India and the UK. This is a provocative exploration of some of the most compelling issues of our times.

Watch Brook discuss his work, and a video trailer of the production below:

The Prisoner

Peter Brook on The Prisoner

The Prisoner - video teaser

La Maladie De La Mort © Stephen Cummiskey

La Maladie de la mort

One of the UK’s most significant theatre makers Katie Mitchell makes her International Festival debut with an uncompromising adaptation of Marguerite Duras’s La Maladie de la mort. Mitchell has reshaped the culture of theatre in a body of radical work across Europe since the 1990s.

Duras’s 1982 psychological thriller focuses on an unnamed man who hires a woman to spend several weeks with him in a hotel by the sea, hoping to experience love. She may only visit him at night, and cannot speak to him unless invited to.

This radical reworking reveals the inner landscapes of both characters in a live cinema and theatre experience. It combines a theatre production performed live, with a film generated and edited in real time, and projected on a large screen above the set.


La Maladie de la mort

Katie Mitchell on La Maladie de la mort

La Maladie de la mort - video teaser

The Beggar's Opera © Patrick Berger

The Beggar's Opera

The Bouffes du Nord also present a new production of John Gay’s classic The Beggar’s Opera - the work that inspired Kurt Weill's cabaret hit The Threepenny Opera. 

Directors Robert Carsen and conductor William Christie strip back the piece to its popular song inspired origins, using music theatre voices in lieu of an operatic ensemble, plus period musicians from Les Arts Florissants. 

Swarming with highwaymen, thieves, jailors, pimps and prostitutes, John Gay’s savagely satirical and wildly entertaining ‘ballad opera’ invites you into a world of greed, crime, poverty, inequality – and outrageous comedy. 

The Beggar's Opera

Robert Carsen on The Beggar's Opera

The Beggar's Opera - video teaser (strong language)

This August, let the Bouffes du Nord show you how a space can tell a story. Tickets are on sale now for all three productions, make sure you catch this world-renowned company at work!

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