Willem Dafoe Is The Next Director Of Theatre At The Venice Biennale


Willem Dafoe has been appointed the artistic director of the Venice Biennale theater department for 2025 and 2026.

The Biennale’s theater department was founded in 1934, following the establishment of its art, music and cinema branches. Its previous directors include Renato Simoni, Luca Ronconi, Franco Quadri, Carmelo Bene and Lluís Pasqual, and it is programmed yearly alongside major cultural events like the Venice Film Festival.

“It is an honor to announce the appointment of Willem Dafoe as the Director of Biennale Teatro,” said Pietrangelo Buttafuoco, the chairman of the Biennale board of directors. “Theater is in fact the original home of his lustrous career. One of the founders of the legendary Wooster Group in 1977, the perfect control of his body on stage has always stemmed from discipline, knowledge, passion and a profound awareness of theater. I can’t wait, like everyone else, to be a spectator at the festival he will build as artistic director and – from his lectern as an absolute maestro – to watch the young men and women of the Theatre College grow in their art.”

Added Dafoe, “I was first surprised then happy to receive Pietrangelo Buttafuoco’s invitation to be the director of the International Theatre Festival of La Biennale di Venezia 2025-2026. I realize that I am known as a film actor, but I was born in the theater, the theater trained me and galvanized me. I am a stage animal. I am an actor. Theater taught me about art and life. I worked with the Wooster Group for 27 years, I have collaborated with great directors from Richard Foreman to Bob Wilson. The direction of my theater program will be charted by my personal development. A sort of exploration of the essence of the body.”

Dafoe will be on hand at the Venice Film Festival this year, as his upcoming film “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” is serving as the event’s opening movie.



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