Swiss Theatre Award 2019
2b company – François Gremaud
Witty and playful theatre
François Gremaud was born in Bern in 1975 and grew up in Fribourg. He studied at the École cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) before training as a director at the Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle (INSAS) in Brussels. After graduating in 2002 he performed for and assisted Philippe Adrien, Nicolas Rossier, Geneviève Pasquier, Gisèle Sallin and Sylvaine Tille. He set up 2b company in Lausanne in 2005, which has been managed since 2006 by Michaël Monney. “KKQQ”, first produced at the Les Urbaines festival in 2009, marked the start of a collaboration with Tiphanie Bovay-Klameth and Michèle Gurtner. Between 2009 and today the collective’s productions included “Récital”, “Western dramedies” and the film “Vernissage”. “Phèdre!” (2017), a solo with Romain Daroles based on Jean Racine’s tragedy, has been selected to appear at the Swiss Theatre Encounter 2019. François Gremaud also teaches regularly at the La Manufacture drama school in Lausanne.
François Gremaud’s very first work, 2006’s “My Way”, which was enthusiastically received by critics and audiences alike and featured an actor using sign language, revealed his interest in the playful fusion of genres, ideas and audiences. In 2011 “Re” received the first Label+ romand arts de la scène. “Conférence de choses” (2013), an encyclopaedic monologue developed with Pierre Mifsud that meanders wittily through topics ranging from Descartes to Haribo and can last anything from 45 minutes to eight hours, was performed at the first Sélection suisse en Avignon in 2016. In parallel with his work with 2b company Gremaud has produced a wide range of projects, for example directing “Comme un vertige” (2011) at the Comédie de Genève with 2013 Hans Reinhart Ring winner Yvette Théraulaz. In 2014 and 2015 the Schick/Gremaud/Pavillon collective developed “X minutes”, a project that adds five new minutes at each new venue. In between, François Gremaud composes minimalist and even festive songs – a Christmas number each year since 2008 under the label Grema & Mirou – and writes books, such as together with Martin Schick “This Book is Great”, marking 30 years of the Belluard Festival.
“Behind the majestic simplicity of François Gremaud’s work lies the entire history of theatre, and that’s what I like about his way of offering up and embracing surprises; transmitting, displacing images, words and sounds surreptitiously or through clichés. For all their routine themes, everyday situations or classic texts, the seeming innocence of his performances shifts towards questions that are genuinely existential, be they humorous or dramatic. François Gremaud invites us into his playful and encyclopaedic universe to discuss the density of the world.”
Thierry Luisier, jury member