the theatre that has a ... beauty spot

When Dorothy Burillon, general secretary of the Athénée Theatre (Théâtre de l'Athénée), came to see me in 2oo5, she showed me a postcard of Agrafmobile’s ‘Theatre of Questions’ with its typographic wall on the square of Chaumont's City Hall, saying “I love your lettering work”. It had been years since I was searching for a theatre to welcome the letter, the word, the typography as a mean of expression. This corresponded to the approach of Patrice Martinet, director of the theatre, to put the authors at the center of its programming. I then suggested that the Athénée Theatre worked with text, raw material of plays, for it to be read in public space. Typography, with its contrast games, its proposals, could almost give voice to the script, it could direct the words in the subway halls.

Today, Isabelle Stibbe, general secretary of the theatre, shares with us this language, this elegant insolence, which helps the Athénée speak to its audience.

The communication of the Athénée is also comeback of Agrafmobile’s experimentation within the limits of a command. It's this strategy of “low voltage”* experimented in neighborhoods or on the Magenta boulevard, which finds its application in the work of building a visual identity of a cultural venue.

The bright silence of white give voice to the letters in black. The fluorescent fuchsia dots highlight the strength of the black. As stated in the first poster of the 2005-2006 season: “Athénée the theatre with a beauty spot.”

* “The society of the spectacle produced a race leading to an escalation of signs. I have neither the means to shout louder, nor the desire to add noise to the noise. It's therefore in the use of minimum means such as the word, the black, the white, the sober and stripped typography, that I invented the ingredients of my strategy of low voltage.”
‘Prendre la parole’, Malte Martin, Sorbonne, June 2oo7.

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