Bernard Faivre d'Arcier was appointed artistic director from 1980 to 1985, and from 1993 to 2003, interrupted by Alain Crombecque between 1986 to 1992. During this time, the Festival modernizes and institutionalizes. The faithful public always comes in numbers. The Avignon Festival is a window on theatral creation in France and in Europe. The task of the artistic director is to conciliate the public with the demand of quality and open a large place to contemporary directors and creators.
Mahabarata au Festival d'Avignon 1985 © G. Méran
In 2003, the Festival is canceled at the last moment, for the first time since 1947, because of a strike. The following years reveals that the public is still there. More than the Avignon Festival, the economic model of theatre and performing arts is in crisis and during the Festival the tensions are in their climax. The Festival focuses the tensions of our society.
Festival d'Avignon 2003 © VF
Since 2004, Vincent Baudrier and Hortense Archambault took the succession as directors of the Festival. They asociate each year an artist to the choice of shows. It was the german theatre director Thomas Ostermaeier in 2004, the controversial flemish artist Jan Fabre in 2005, the dance choreographer Josef Nadj in 2006, and Frederic Fisbach, a french theatre director in 2007.
It is still early to get lessons from the experience, we can however say that the Festival is not declining. Certainly the enthousiasm of the golden age , the idealism of the 60's and 70's dimed. But the Festival is still a sensitive witness of the society evolution, as dreamed Jean Vilar.