Lou Colombani

An international festival is a tool for discovering different perspectives, opening up geography, exploring other paths and considering them as many possible options.

Founder of the Parallèle production centre in Marseille where she is director, Lou Colombani has been involved in emerging practices for 15 years. Her mantra: that contemporary creation should not have to set aside its artistic demands to meet the constraints of production. The festival, which runs from 24 January to 1 February, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. A fine achievement for its director's 40th birthday.

Published on 30/01/2020

2 min

Lou Colombani knows the stage well: she practised dramatic arts as a child before studying drama and stage writing at Aix-Marseille University.

It was to provide solutions to the sector's problems, particularly those affecting young artists, that she decided get involved with programming and set up the Parallèle festival in 2006 after graduating. First a biennial, the now annual Parallèle Festival has gradually been enriched by having a permanent structure. It is celebrating its 10th edition in January 2020.  

Lou Colombani conceived Parallèle as “a space for oxygenation of thought”. This production and broadcasting platform works as much to develop and support the new generation of artists as to renew the forms and languages of live performances (theatre, dance, performance, visual art, music). "Today, we do not restrict ourselves to one discipline: artists have mixed practices, and we must support them as they are.”

Alongside collaborators such as Francesca Corona, the artistic director of L’Officina – a Marseille production workshop which Parallèle has just merged with – Lou Colombani seeks out all opportunities to find new blood, including outside France.

The festival is constantly expanding internationally, both through its programming and through its involvement in various co-operation projects, such as Be My Guest, which brings together 12 European partners who co-produce three or four artists each year, and Festivals of the Future, which brings together five festivals to reflect on new event models.

Lou Colombani has also signed up Parallèle as the lead for More Than This, where five festivals open their programming to others, experimenting with hosting a partner. In January 2020, Parallèle is hosting the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival from Palestine.

  • 2004


    Lou Colombani graduated with a Master 2 in Dramaturgy and Scenic Writing from Aix-Marseille University.

  • 2006


    Lou Colombani launched the first Parallèle Festival dedicated to emerging creativity.

  • 2012


    Parallèle became an annual festival and an international production platform for live shows, with Lou Colombani as its director and programmer.

  • 2014


    Lou Colombani began teaching cultural projects at Aix-Marseille University.

  • 2020


    Lou Colombani merged Parallèle with Officina.

L'Institut français et le projet

Be my guest, European network to which Parallèle belongs, is supported by the Institut français.

L'institut français, LAB