François-Xavier ROUYER
Stage director

François-Xavier received a production grant for his play La Possession


What is your artistic background?

Let's say that I started with cinema, with an absolute desire for cinema. I was very bored in the modern suburban city where I lived as a child and so I walked around the vacant lots under construction, I read and above all I watched films that I found at the media library on video cassettes. Then at the age of 20, I discovered theatre through a literature teacher and a couple of artists who taught at a conservatory and it was a real discovery. Since then, I have always tried to combine these two major influences and to open myself up to others, to painting, contemporary art and architecture. Then I did a master’s degree in cinema and then I started writing and directing for theatre. I didn't know anyone in this field, so I went to Switzerland; I had been accepted into the first class of the master’s degree in Stage Design at La Manufacture in Lausanne. The discovery of this region, this culture and a certain type of contemporary theatre brought a lot of things into question and into play. I met directors there with whom I started working as an assistant while gradually developing my own projects. 


How do you see your profession today? 

Do you have to spend public money to make theatre? If so, how should it be spent? If not, where do you get the money? Doing it all without money? Which productions for which shows? Do we have to edit texts? Do we have to write? Do we have to do theatre in theatres? Should we do theatre in museums? Should exhibitions be held in theatres? Is it necessary to make outdoor theatre, in the countryside? Should you make films? Do you need holograms? Do you need professionals and amateurs? Do you need actors? Do you need temporary workers? Do we need an Avignon festival? Should we go on strike? Should we save the world? Many questions.


How do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

In five years, I may have answered two or three questions (not the last one on the list, surely) but 100 more will have come along. In 10 years, 10 answered for 1000, maybe. 


This interview was conducted in 2020

Photo credit: Kamila K. Stanley