Simone Mousset / Empire of a Faun Imaginary

Simone Mousset / Empire of a Faun Imaginary


Simone Mousset (she/her) is a Luxembourgish dance artist based between London, Luxembourg, and France, working across wider Europe. Recipient in 2017 of the Lëtzebuerger Danzpräis / Luxembourgish Dance Award, Simone is currently a Work Place Artist at The Place in London, associate artist at the Escher Theater in Luxembourg, and accompanied by the Fondation Cléo Thiberge Edrom (Fondation de France). Her company is accredited and supported by the Ministry of Culture of Luxembourg.

Simone trained in London at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, the Royal Academy of Dance, and the London Contemporary Dance School’s postgraduate dance company EDge, performing works by Sasha Waltz, Igor Urzelai & Moreno Solinas, James Wilton, Tony Adigun, Matthias Sperling, and Rachel Lopez de la Nieta. Simone has since worked with independent choreographers and companies including Anu Sistonen (FI), Jean-Guillaume Weis (LU), Dog Kennel Hill Project (UK), Caracalla Dance Theatre (LB), Provincial Dances Theatre, Olga Pona/Chelyabinsk Contemporary Dance Theatre, Ballet Moskva (RU) and others.

Simone’s work and company, Simone Mousset Projects, is produced by Vasanthi Argouin, working in close collaboration with the artist house Les Indépendances in Paris. The work is developed in conversation with venues such as The Place, Trois C-L Centre de Création Chorégraphique Luxembourgeois, Escher Theater, KLAP Maison pour la danse, Les Hivernales – CDCN d’Avignon, CND Lyon, and others. Recent choreographic commissions include works for London Contemporary Dance School and the Luxembourgish Pavilion, World Expo 2021/2022.

Compagny’s website.


In Empire of a Faun Imaginary, choreographer Simone Mousset creates a cosmos in which things remain in a state of limbo. Triggered by feelings of oppression and emptiness, and against the backdrop of global disaster such as the covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the climate crisis, she asks about possible alternative worlds. How can a melancholic, elusive experience of the world be reopened to the miraculous and the magical? The four dancers create paths that point through the impossible today into an ungraspable future. Their movements give expression to a world that has come apart at the seams. Together they deliver a haunting meditation on living through an uncanny present, and on the absence of and visceral desire for hope.


For me, live performance is a mysterious way of human gathering that disrupts the real world, a testament to rigorous processes of the imagination and strange qualities of presence. In my work, I am interested in asking questions about our relationship to the uncertain, the messy, and the unresolved. I seek to create striking and existential worlds, situated on the border between fiction and a heightened reality, that shift the familiar and open up spaces for the weird, the surreal, the imaginary. My practice spans dance, theatre, performance, magic, visual art, and writing.

Empire of a Faun Imaginary was initially inspired by a growing curiosity about what kind of work would emerge after a pandemic. What atmospheres would it hold? Of which urgencies and thoughts would it speak? I carried within me a sense of the extreme reduction of possibilities, and of a melancholic, claustrophobic, yet also liberating and glorious suspension of time. As time went on, I started to articulate my feelings of being stuck in an emotional state dominated by futility, disconnection, stagnation, and the absence of meaning, where there seemed to be no way out, or forward. Triggered by my growing difficulty to see meaning in things, and not being able to imagine I would ever feel better, Empire of a Faun Imaginary became about dreaming of alternative worlds, and fantasising about feeling differently.

At the roots of this work, there is a desire to gather together and conjure up the power of imagination and the imaginary in mental states of fragmentation, silence, and emptiness. Accompanied by seemingly never-ending cycles of disaster such as the pandemic, war, and economic and climate crises, it also contains a fundamental disillusionment and sorrow around humanity, that asks: How can we go on, and how can we dream again?

Through uncanny silences as well as cries that resonate, unheard, in a vast and mysterious universe, I want to speak of a quiet and erosive kind of violence, that relates to both the impossibility to shift the way I am feeling internally, as well as the trauma that is going on in the outer world. This feels like a world where nothing shifts, where things are stuck in patterns of violence and undoing inexorably. Something needs to break, something so fundamental, that I feel like it needs a phenomenon beyond the human, a force so very other, so unimagined and undreamed-of, that the sky could be cracked open.
Empire of a Faun Imaginary is my fantasy of such a force.
Simone Mousset

Artistic director Simone Mousset
Performers Tasha Hess-Neustadt, Lewys Holt, Eevi Kinnunen, Hannah Parsons, with Jorge Motel / Carine Baccega / Louis Chevalier
Dramaturg Lou Cope
Artistic companion Neil Callaghan
Cultural theory consultant Macon Holt
Sound Alberto Ruiz Soler
Voice work and vocal composition Jamie McCarthy
Lighting Seth Rook Williams
Stage and Costumes Lydia Sonderegger
Stage and costumes collaboration Ariane Koziolek, Anne-Sophie Raemy, Leonie Wienandts
Puppet creation Sophie Ruth Donaldson, Emilie Mathieu
Wigmaker (tights) Birte Meier
Tailoring Cony Jegerlehner

Producer Vasanthi Argouin
Production and stage manager Bryony Byrne
Stage manager Alberto Ruiz Soler
Assistant stage manager Jorge Motel
Company management: Cathy Modert
Development in France Clémence Huckel / Manon Cardineau / Colin Pitrat – Les Indépendances
Attachée de presse (France): Murielle Richard

Production Simone Mousset Projects

Coproduction: Escher Theater (LU) ; Esch 2022 Capitale européenne de la Culture (LU) ; POLE-SUD, Centre de Développement Chorégraphique National, Strasbourg (FR) ; Centre Chorégraphique National de Nantes (FR) ; KLAP Maison pour la danse (FR) ; Les Hivernales – CDCN d’Avignon (FR) ; Atelier de Paris / CDCN (FR) ; Centre Chorégraphique National de Rillieux-la-Pape, direction Yuval PICK (FR)
Financial partners: The Place – Londres; TROIS C-L – Centre de Création Chorégraphique Luxembourgeois; CN D Centre national de la danse dans le cadre du dispositif Artistes en expérimentation à Lyon; Fondation Indépendance by BIL
With the support of Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg (LU)

Residency at La Briqueterie – CDCN du Val-de-Marne
With thanks to London Contemporary Dance School Costume Department

Simone Mousset Projects is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. Simone Mousset is associate artist at The Place and at Escher Theater, and she is supported by the Fondation Cléo Thiberge Edrom.