director Thomas Jolly appointed artistic director of the opening ceremony

The security system has not yet been decided, but the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games (July 26 to August 11) Paris 2024 has at least one artistic director. The Organizing Committee of the Games (Cojop) made its choice, Wednesday, September 21, on the actor and director Thomas Jolly.

After the choreographer Philippe Découfflé (Albertville 1992) and the director Danny Boyle (London 2012), it is therefore a young artist (40 years old), director of the dramatic center of the Quai, in Angers, who has been selected to animate the various stages arts of a ceremony that will take place in the heart of Paris, with the Seine as a common thread. “For reasons of consistency”advances the Cojop, Thomas Jolly will also be in charge of the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games (from August 28 to September 8) and the two closing ceremonies.

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“Thomas Jolly represents live performance, the young theatrical guard, he has already shown audacity. He is able to mix very sharp classic things with other more mainstream things, like with starmania, which will be relaunched in a few weeks. He has this eclecticism dear to Paris 2024”boasts Thierry Reboul, the director of major events and ceremonies at Paris 2024.

Thomas Jolly was selected from a panel of seventy profiles from the world of culture approached by the Paris 2024 teams. The young playwright is particularly known for his staging in 2010 of the entire trilogy Henry VI by William Shakespeare, which won him a Molière in 2015. His play Thyestesby Sénèque, opened the Avignon Festival in 2018. And his tetralogy of Shakespeare – twenty-four hours of theater – at the Quai this year consecrates him among the prominent directors of his generation.

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“Thomas Jolly is a story of encounters. What struck me was his personality, states Tony Estanguet, the boss of the Cojop. From the first discussions, he took me on board with his ideas on the paintings and universes that we could present during the ceremony. »

On and around the Seine

Experienced in scenic marathons, Thomas Jolly will have the task, in the coming weeks, of surrounding himself with a team of authors and scenographic, choreographic and musical talents in order to create a live show on and around the Seine. He will have carte blanche, assures Tony Estanguet. No limitwithin budgetsays the three-time Olympic canoe champion. I want French artistic creativity to be fully expressed during these ceremonies. »

Artist's impression of a possible opening ceremony of the Paris Olympic Games on the Seine.

The Paris 2024 teams, who claim to have achieved “a lot of work on the national narrative with philosophers and historians”, and Thomas Jolly must now think about the operational staging of this ceremony; in short: knowing what story to unfold along the 12 kilometers of quay. The main narrative lines will be detailed ” in spring “hopes the boss of the Cojop.

The organizers of the Paris 2024 Games want to make the opening ceremony “a moment of gathering and pride for all French people”. Even a marker of the history of Olympism, as the ceremony of the Albertville Winter Games did thirty years ago by Philippe Découflé.

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There remains the thorny question of cost. An envelope of 137 million euros is currently included in the Paris 2024 budget for the four Olympic Games ceremonies. It must be refined by the Cojop board meeting on December 12. An extension is not excluded if the security system of the opening ceremony should be reassessed. In July, the Elysée and the Ministry of the Interior had affirmed that it would be dimensioned when the artistic project of the ceremony would itself be defined. It now remains for the prefect of police, Laurent Nunez, to stage the choreography between the various security services concerned.

From 90 euros to 2,700 euros to attend the opening ceremony

The gauge of the public able to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on July 26, 2024 is still subject to” instructions “ between the teams of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee (Cojop) and the State services, let the various stakeholders know. If it seems certain that nearly 100,000 paying spectators will be able to attend the show on the lower quays, uncertainties remain on the admitted gauge for the upper part of the quays (free entries): 400,000 to 500,000 people are hoped for by the organizers . A figure that must be refined for security reasons.

The price list for tickets to the opening ceremony was communicated on Tuesday, September 20: it will cost from 90 euros to 2,700 euros to attend the show on the lower quays of the Seine.

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