Afghan voices heard loud and clear in Limoges

On the night of 2-3 October, CompagnieMia, 360 Music Factory, Daniel Pennac, the Ethical Fashion Initiative, and more than 100 spectators stood in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan. Blending Afghan literature, music and Sufi dance, Aube Afghane embodied the power of the arts to shine a light in dark, uncertain times.

Conceived by the French-Argentinian stage director, Clara Bauer, the event concluded the Limousin Festival, Francophonies. This one-of-a-kind international theatre festival has been bringing together French-language writers and directors for the last 40 years. Earlier in the evening, Ms Bauer’s play, Pierre de Patience, inspired by Atiq Rahimi’s eponymous book, played to a full house. Women’s voices permeated the play: the intimate, desperate whispering of an Afghan wife and mother-of-two at her injured husband’s bedside; and Ms Bauer’s own poignant autobiographical notes. The play was moving, its theme universal, echoing the first line of Rahimi’s book: “Somewhere in Afghanistan or elsewhere”.

Aube Afghane embodied the power of the arts to shine a light in uncertain times in Afghanistan.

Aube Afghane provided another artistic platform for Afghan voices. Candles and poppy flowers illuminated the stage where dozens of actors, writers, narrators and musicians recited eternal Afghan poets, with musical interludes from master percussionist Humayoun Ibrahim and his sons, singer Aida Nosrat accompanied by Khaled Arman and Siar Hashimi, and Jesus Dupaux’s mesmerising Sufi dance. 

Photographed by Margot Simmoney

Mantoe Restaurant brought the vigil to a close with a delightful Afghan breakfast: saffron tea to warm the body and the soul, and for the bravest spectators who stayed until the very end, at five in the morning: delicious Afghan nut cookies.

Photographed by Margot Simmoney