Philippe Quesne (FR)

The Night of the Moles (Welcome to Caveland!)

herbst opening

Theatre / Performance / Music

This year’s opening production whisks us off to the dream worlds of French theatre wizard Philippe Quesne. For steirischer herbst he digs his way under the surface of the earth, where he encounters a fantastic society.


New – the herbst ticket blocks!

steirischer herbst Opening Party


En Alerte


Late Night




Premiere in the German-speaking region


Fri 23/09 & Sat 24/09, 19.30

Helmut List Halle

24 €


Talk following the performance on Sat 24/09

Shuttle service from Vienna & Linz on Sat 24/09



Opening party & concert
Dorit Chrysler & Infecticide

Fri 23/09, 22.30

Helmut List Halle

Admission free


With Dorit Chrysler (US/AT), Infecticide (FR)

In “The Night of the Moles (Welcome to Caveland!)” Philippe Quesne invites the audience to a mysterious underworld. The cave conjures up associations of primeval grottos, home-made ghost trains and nuclear bunkers, and is home to a community of giant moles living through the cycles of life: Birth and death, eating and being eaten, creation and destruction. Blind but doggedly, Quesne’s creatures grapple with everyday life. Descendants of Sisyphus, they spend their time pointlessly rolling rocks to and from – a perfect metaphor for human beings and their actions. Playful, voracious, lovable and at times deadly aggressive, man’s furry relatives await future events that never happen, thus evoking Samuel Beckett’s absurd characters, and also Plato’s allegory of the cave. In spite of their seemingly aimless existence they never cease to evolve, lining up as a psychedelic rock band or indulging in peculiar rituals.

Quesne’s insights into the molehill turn the theatre into a utopian habitat where dreams and reality become indivisible. He weaves his magic with the simplest of means, humour and a love of the bizarre. Together with artists from the spheres of acting, music and visual arts, he creates impressive low-tech spectacles and grand theatre tableaux. A kind of follow-up to “Swamp Club” ( 2013 ), at the end of which the occupants of an endangered culture centre are saved by a huge mole, Philippe Quesne drafts a truly soul-stirring performance, that is installation, philosophy in motion and opening act in one.

After the premiere the Graz and New York-based artist Dorit Chrysler joins the “mole” Thomas Suire and his Parisian trio Infecticide for a unique opening concert: Electropunk meets experimental pop, in a perfect coupling centred around the theremin, a cult instrument played without physical contact.

Concept, direction and set design Philippe Quesne
With Yvan Clédat, Jean-Charles Dumay, Léo Gobin, Erwan Ha Kyoon Larcher, Sébastien Jacobs, Thomas Suire, Gaëtan Vourc’h
Costumes Corine Petitpierre
Costumes Assistance Anne Tesson
Dramaturgical team Léo Gobin, Lancelot Hamelin, Ismael Jude, Smaranda Olcese
Artistic and technical collaboration Marc Chevillon, Yvan Clédat, Elodie Dauguet, Abigail Fowler, Thomas Laigle
Nanterre-Amandiers technical crew stage Patrick Bonnereau, Joachim Fosset, Alain Gravier, Pauline Jakobiak, Jean-Christophe Soussi
 Nanteree-Amandiers workshop crew Michel Arnould, Philippe Binard, Alix Boillot, Jérôme Chrétien, Jean-Pierre Druelle, Fanny Gautreau, Marie Maresca, Myrtille Pichon, Olivier Remy, Claude Sangiorgi
Equipment assistance Chloé Chabaud, Juliette Seigneur, Amélie Wellan
Costumes production Karelle Durand, Lydie Lalaux

Production Nanterre-Amandiers – centre dramatique national
With the support of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès dans le cadre de son programme “New Settings”
 Co-produced by steirischer herbst, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, La Filature – Scène nationale, Mulhouse, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Théâtre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine, Kaaitheater, Centre d’art Le Parvis à Tarbes
Co-presented by NXTSTP, unterstützt durch das Kulturprogramm der Europäischen Union
General sponsor Legero Schuhfabrik |
Technical sponsor AVL Cultural Foundation

steirischer herbst
Head of Project Management Dominik Jutz
Project Management Kirsten Patent
Technical Direction Karl Masten

Philippe Quesne (FR)

Philippe Quesne, born in Paris in 1970, works as a director, set designer and performance artist. Quesne studied Fine Art, Visual Design and Stage Design, later working as a set designer for theatre productions and exhibitions before finally founding the Vivarium Studio Company in 2003. Together with his interdisciplinary company, Quesne conceives and stages performances in which bodies are closely linked with their surroundings, thus mingling classical theatre with visual art and performance. His first piece “La Démangeaison des ailes“, that premièred in 2003, also draws on these elements, as do his subsequent performances based on music and dance. “Die Nacht der Maulwürfe (Welcome to Caveland!)“ by Philippe Quesne, who was appointed Director of the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers near Paris in 2013, is now set to kick off steirischer herbst.