Ariane Mnouchkine

Ariane Mnouchkine born in Boulogne, on 3 March 1939, is the artistic and managing director of the theatre company Théâtre du Soleil, which she founded in 1964 with her friends from ATEP (The Theatre Association of the Students of Paris). In 1970, Théâtre du Soleil produced 1789 performance at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, where Giorgio Strehler warmly welcomed and supported the young company. The company then went on to choose its home at the Cartoucherie, a former military camp, abandoned and isolated, in the forest of Vin- cennes, on the outskirts of Paris. The Cartoucherie enabled the group to expand more on the notion of theatre than an architectural institution, being rather a place of shelter than a theatrical edifice, and all this, at a time when urban change and development in France was transforming the place of man and theatre in the city. Théâtre du Soleil successfully creates theatre for the elites, as well as for the common people. Even back then, the purpose was to establish a new relationship with the audience and to distinguish itself from bourgeois theatre in order to create a high quality theatre for the people. From the 1970s onwards, the troupe became one of France's major theatre companies, both because of the number of artists working there (more than 70 people a year), and because of its national and international growing reputation. Attached to the notion of the theatre group as family, Ariane Mnouchkine established the ethics of the group based on basic rules: everyone working at all levels, equal pay, and everybody has to work on the wellbeing and functionality of the theatre (daily maintenance, welcoming the audience, etc). Théâtre du Soleil is one of the very few European theatres functioning based on these rules. The adventure of Théâtre du Soleil has been ongoing for more than forty years, thanks to the loyalty and affection of a large audience both in France, and abroad. Its development has been marked by a ceaseless questioning of the place of theatre in society and of its capacity to stand for its times. This commitment in treating the great political and human questions from a universal perspective goes hand in hand with its research on the great theatrical forms and the convergence of Asian and Western arts.

Constantin Chiriac:
''A landmark of World Theatre, the director of Théâtre du Soleil Paris, Ariane Mnouchkine, receives this star for the unique community phenomenon created in the field of theatre and film and for excellence in dialogue between artists and cultures. On behalf of Mrs. Ariane Mnouchkine, Jean Jacques Lemetre attends this ceremony.''

Star offered with the support of: BRD Groupe Société Générale