Every year, in order to celebrate la Journée international de la Francophonie (International Francophonie Day), lovers of French around the world are invited to celebrate the language of Voltaire in all its diversity during the la semaine de la Francophonie, a week dedicated to Francophone events. Having become, according to London Mayor Boris Johnson, ‘France's sixth biggest city', it comes as little surprise that this festive Francophone gathering has etched its place in the British Capital’s calendar of events.
To mark the Journée international de la Francophonie a number of events will take place in London from 16 to 22 March, 2015. The programme of events will include literary evenings, a stand-out music performance, a Big Screen feature film and last but not least, on 20 March a hilarious evening of theatre comedy improvisation (Le Match d’Improvisation) at the Ciné Lumière in South Kensington.
Le Match d’Improvisation is returning to London after its riotous success last year. Originally conceived in Québec, this theatrical genre is best described as a cross between improvisational theatre and ice hockey, mixing humour and ingenuity to win the favour of the public, through improvised acts lasting anything between 30 seconds and 20 minutes. After each act, the audience votes for the winner by holding up cardboard signs displaying the colour of the team they are rooting for. A referee can also subtract points from a team's score if members break the improvisational theatre rules. If a team protests a ruling, the referee must then justify that decision. The audience can also boo decisions they disagree with.
Two Québecers, Robert Gravel and Yvon Leduc, founded the Ligue nationale d’improvisation (LNI) in 1977 and 35 years after its creation, this original concept is played in more than seven languages and in over 30 countries.
With its 300,000 French natives, it was only a matter of time before London set about putting together its very own league. The vibrant French British Improvisation League (FBI) is led by its co-founder and director Emilie Perraudeau, and regularly performs in the capital.
This year, professional actors and comedians from Québec (LNI), Canada, France (FBI), Switzerland, Belgium and Tunisia will enter the arena and engage in a battle of wits and creativity.
Tickets £10 (£8 concession)
Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT
020 7871 3515
Other events include:
- An evening with writer Ying Chen with the Québec-French Library at the Québec Government Office on 17 March (www.quebec.org.uk )
- Le Vent du Nord in concert at Kings Place (+ launch of their 8th CD Têtu) on 18 March.
- ‘Guillaume Apollinaire and French poetry of the First World War’ at Europe House on 18 March.
Please keep an eye on www.semaine-de-la-francophonie-au-royaume-uni.com/francophonie-2015.html for additional events.