In 2013 the festivals will take place
5th to the 26th of July for the "In"
8th to 31st for the "Off".
The "IN" Festival is the traditionnal one.
A bit too intellectual to my taste but nice plays (also dance) and famous actors.
The plus is the place where the shows are performed such as the Pope's Palace inside courtyard
info in English :
The "OFF" Festival is more my cup of tea.
Young actors, troups, performing in order to promote them. (The Off is extremelly famous with Press and Theatre managers as they come to festival "fishing" for their next year's programation)
The site usually start giving out information only around mid June.
(on the top right of the page click on "EN" to get info in English (if it works...)
Otherwise, once in Avignon, you can grab the paper program at the Tourist Office and other spots in the city (rather heavy) and it is free.
On the paper program (and probably on the net as well) there is a little icon telling people which shows are accessible to non speaking french viewers (usually an eye sign)
Nice maps are provided in order to locate easily the venue you're looking for (117 venues and 1 161 shows programed in 2012)
All sorts of places are turned into theatres (some restaurant, old church, any place really) and some of them will only welcome as much as 30 spectators when other can do 350.
Shows are programed from as early as 9am until 1am. They last no more than an hour (with exception) so that up to 10 differents shows are programed in the same theatre.
Some of our French stars like to perform as well as enjoy the proximity with the public and the feel of the festival.
The "UNDER OFF" Festival as I call it is the free festival on the street.
All the troups will parade throughout the day handing out leaflet and performing part of their show in order to promote it.
The troups not rich enough to rent a proper venue will do their show in the street (some are listed in the guide).
So you can just sip a coffee or pastis and watch the world go by...
A Big Parade is organised prior the opening (normally the thursday preceding the official opening)
and a big ball is organised on the last saturday of the festival.
A market is organised by the Rhone River in the Allee de l'Oulles. Called the "Marché du Monde" and there is also a "grande roue" where you can have a wonderful view of avignon roof top.
But beware that Avignon is extreeeeemmmmelly busy during that time !