Works · Biography

After higher studies in the field of visual arts ÉRIC VIGNER studied theatre art at the École de la Rue Blanche, then went to the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique of Paris, where he attended classes by DENISE BONAL, MICHEL BOUQUET, GÉRARD DESARTHE and DANIEL MESGUICH. As an actor, he played under the direction of JEAN-PIERRE MIQUEL, CHRISTIAN COLIN and BRIGITTE JAQUES, with whom he cooperated in ELVIRE JOUVET 40. In the field of cinema he worked with PHILIPPE DE BROCA, BENOÎT JACQUOT and MARIA DE MEDEIROS.

"It is better to say what you want than what you're expected to say,
or else I'll keep quiet. The choice is yours.


In 1990, ÉRIC VIGNER founded the Compagnie Suzanne M. Éric Vigner and produced LA MAISON D’OS by ROLAND DUBILLARD in an abandoned factory at Issy-les-Moulineaux as an aesthetic, artistic and political manifesto pleading for the kind of theatre that he longed to create: working from contemporary or classical texts, both dramatic and poetic, he strove to confront them, dialectically as it were, with the reality of the location " the audience a place right at the heart of the text". Invited by the Festival d’Automne in 1991, he staged LA MAISON D’OS once again in the foundations of the Grande Arche de la Défense at Nanterre.

In 1993, he first met MARGUERITE DURAS while working on the adaptation of her LA PLUIE D’ÉTÉ (SUMMERRAIN) for the stage. In the wake of this encounter he staged many of her works: SAVANNAH BAY became part of the repertoire of theComédie-Française in 2002, LA BÊTE DANS LA JUNGLE was presented at Washington's Kennedy Center in 2004, and PLUIE D’ÉTÉ À HIROSHIMA was staged at the 60ème Festival d’Avignon in the Carmelite Convent in 2006. In 2013, he produced, in English, GATES TO INDIA SONG, based on her LE VICE-CONSUL and INDIA SONG. This event, presented by Indian actors on the eve of the 100th anniversary of MARGUERITE DURAS' birth, on 4 April 1914, marked the first confrontation of the India of DURAS' dreams with the reality of the country. The play was shown within the framework of the Festival Bonjour India at Bombay, Calcutta and Delhi. In 2014, ÉRIC VIGNER once more picked up the thread, working on LE VICE CONSUL (TEXTE-THÉÂTRE-FILM) with students in the end-of-studies workshop of the Groupe 41 of the school of the Théâtre National de Strasbourg.

Besides his commitment to contemporary playwrights, ÉRIC VIGNER developed a new approach to the French classics – RACINE's BAJAZET (Comédie-Française 1995), CORNEILLE's L’ILLUSION COMIQUE (Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers 1996), VICTOR HUGO's MARION DE LORME (Théâtre de la Ville 1999), MOLIÈRE's L’ÉCOLE DES FEMMES (Comédie-Française 1999) and SHAKESPEARE's OTHELLO (Odéon – Théâtre de l’Europe 2008). At international level, he staged MOLIÈRE and LULLY's LE BOURGEOIS GENTILHOMME in Korean language at the Korean National Theatre in Seoul (Prix France/Corée 2004), a production that was taken over in 2006 by the Paris Opéra Comique; in 2007, followed LE BARBIER DE SÉVILLE by BEAUMARCHAIS in Albanian with actors of the Tirana National Theatre. In 2008, he directed IN THE SOLITUDE OF COTTON FIELDS (DANS LA SOLITUDE DES CHAMPS DE COTON) by BERNARD-MARIE KOLTÈS at the 7 Stages theatre of Atlanta.

"Today the question is whether we can propose a new form of theatre, a new relationship with the world we live in, through a new type of contact with the audience? This is indeed a very important question, for it affects the future of theatre as an art form."

At the head of the CDDB - Théâtre de Lorient, Centre Dramatique National - since 1996, ÉRIC VIGNER launched an artistic project aimed at discovering and promoting a new generation of authors and stage directors: ARTHUR NAUZYCIEL, ÉRIC RUF, DANIEL JEANNETEAU, LUDOVIC LAGARDE, OLIVIER CADIOT...

In the field of opera, ÉRIC VIGNER has worked with the conductor CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET and the TALENS LYRIQUES on works of the Baroque repertoire: LA DIDONE by FRANCESCO CAVALLI (Opéra de Lausanne 2000), L’EMPIO PUNITO by ALESSANDRO MELANI (Bach Festival Leipzig 2003) and TOMMASO TRAETTA's ANTIGONA (Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris 2004). In 2013, he staged at Lorient HAENDEL's ORLANDO with JEAN-CHRISTOPHE SPINOSI and the ENSEMBLE MATHEUS (Théâtre du Capitole at Toulouse, Opéra Royal de Versailles).

At the same time, ÉRIC VIGNER holds regularly exploratory workshops in schools of dramatic art both in France and abroad: Bruxelles, Lausanne, Montreal, Atlanta, Sydney. This urge to pass on his insights to others inspired him to start in October 2010 a three-year project in Lorient: the Académie internationale de Théâtre, which brought together seven young actors from seven different countries and cultures, with whom he created CORNEILLE's LA PLACE ROYALE, FRANK SMITH's GUANTANAMO and CHRISTOPHE HONORÉ's LA FACULTÉ (Festival d’Avignon 2012).

On the initiative of the Paris cultural centre Centquatre, ÉRIC VIGNER turned back, in 2013, to the court records of the lawsuit BRANCUSI CONTRE ÉTATS-UNIS at the Salle Matisse of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. This manifesto, which he had created for the 50th Festival d'Avignon in 1996 and then staged in 1997 for the inauguration of the Atelier Brancusi at the Centre Georges Pompidou, will be presented in a new version in 2015 in various locations exhibiting contemporary art.

See also "Des journées entières dans les arts"
Portrait by David Sanson

1990 Foundation of his company SUZANNE M. ÉRIC VIGNER
1991 Member of the Académie Expérimentale des Théâtres
1994 Laureate of the Villa Medicis Hors les murs
1996 Direction of the CDDB - Théâtre de Lorient, Dramatic Art Centre of Brittany
1996 Nomination for the Molière Award for his L’ILLUSION COMIQUE
1998 Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres
2002 The CDDB - Théâtre de Lorient acquires national status as the Centre Dramatique National
2003 Regional prize for artistic creation
2004 Cultural Prize France-Korea
2010 Foundation of the International Theatre Academy
2011 Awarded the Festival Bharat Rang Mahotsav Prize, India
2011 Artistic direction of the Théâtre de Lorient
2015 Officier des Arts et des Lettres