The Théâtre des Célestins in the heart of Lyon is directed by Claudia Stavisky and Pierre-Yves Lenoir, and is one of the city’s major cultural institutions as well as being an iconic monument. The first building, dating back to 1792, was erected on the remains of a monastery belonging to the Celestine order. The theatre boasts a rich and distinguished cultural history: alongside the Comédie Française and Théâtre de l’Odéon, it is one of very few theatres in France to have presided over more than two centuries of the performing arts.
The Théâtre des Célestins re-opened in 2005 after two years of renovation work. The original splendour of the 1881 building by Gaspard André was restored, meaning the theatre could take its place as one of Europe’s most beautiful – and most advanced – Italian-style theatres. In addition to the spacious auditorium with room for 700, the theatre now has a second 135-seat auditorium, the Célestine, that can be adapted to cater for different events. The Théâtre des Célestins is a national heritage site, and has recently been included in France’s Route of Historic Theatres.
The Théâtre des Célestins is an innovative, outward-looking production company. It has a growing number of partnerships across Europe, and its invitees include not just the top international stars but also new talent. Its programme is driven by the constant quest for artistic excellence, offering a combination of key works from France’s classical tradition and the most modern theatrical productions. This diverse artistic perspective reflects the wealth and breadth of the theatre, meaning there is something for people of every age and taste.
The programme at the Théâtre des Célestins is decidedly eclectic, and is geared as much towards newcomers as the already-converted. In fact, access to culture and the theatre for everyone has been a big part of the project at the Célestins since 2001. Various initiatives encourage as many people as possible to discover the vitality of the theatre in all its forms, with special emphasis on contemporary work: 50% discounts for young people, cultural mediation activities, meetings with performers, courses and workshops devoted to artistic practice.
Claudia Stavisky is the stage and theatre director at Lyon’s Célestins Theatre.
Born in Buenos Aires, she came to France in 1974. After attending France’s national drama academy, the Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique, where she was taught by Antoine Vitez, she began her acting career under his direction, and also worked alongside Peter Brook, Stuart Seide, René Loyon, and Jérôme Savary, amongst others.
In 1988, she moved on to directing at some of France’s most prestigious theatres, producing work from over fifteen contemporary writers including Thomas Bernhard’s Eve of retirement, Elfriede Jelinek’s Nora , Lars Noren’s Munich-Athens, and Edward Bond’s Tuesday … She has directed several operas, amongst them Nino Rota’s The Italian straw hat, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet…
Claudia Stavisky has been the director of the Célestins, Lyon’s iconic theatre, since the year 2000. She has created and directed over thirty pieces which have toured in France and abroad, including: Carlo Goldoni’s The Mistress of the Inn, Thomas Bernhard’s Minetti, Enzo Cormann’s Cairn et Le Bousier, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Arnold Wesker’s The Kitchen; The Woman Before, Arabian Night, and The Golden Dragon by Roland Schimmelpfennig, David Harrower’s Blackbird, Alfred de Musset’s Lorenzaccio, Anton Tchekhov’s, Uncle Vanya, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Penelope Skinner’s The Village bike, Octave Mirbeau’s Business is Business, Howard Barker’s Scenes from an Execution, Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire, La Place Royale by Corneille and Life of Galileo by Berthold Brecht, programmed for September 2019 in La Scala, Paris.
She has been involved in training actors from the beginning of her career. She runs regular workshops attended by students from the Conservatoire National in Paris and Lyon’s National School for Performing Arts
and Theatre Techniques (ENSATT), as well as professional actors.
She has completed over two hundred hours of cultural programming for Radio France Internationale.
She was invited to direct Alfred Musset’s Lorenzaccio in Saint Petersburg by Lev Dodine, with Russian actors from the prestigious Maly Drama Theatre, and then directed Blackbird by David Harrower, at the invitation of the Shanghai Dramatic Art Centre – she is currently working on David Hare’s Skylight with Chinese actors from the national company.
She is well aware of how hard getting into the jobs market can be: between 1976 and 1983, she ran several literacy workshops, using drama to teach adults in the Fresnes prison and in immigrant workers’ homes. She has helped young marginalised people to get into work by teaching them about the professions involved in live theatre.
She has run artistic practice workshops with adults and young people at the Célestins and in the more disadvantaged areas of Lyon.
From September 2014 to February 2017, Claudia Stavisky managed a project involving mediation and artistic practice workshops for people living in Vaulx-en-Velin, which took some inspiration from Philippe Dujardin’s «La
Chose publique» ou l’invention de la politique. This project led to her writing and creating Senssala, shown at the Centre Charlie Chaplin in Vaulx-en-Velin and at the Célestins Theatre.
Claudia Stavisky’s artistic work follows the path of the greatest human adventures, in a realm midway between the personal and the political.