Florent Masse has been teaching in the Department of French and Italian since 2001, and has directed the program of French theater of L'Avant-Scene, the French Theater Workshop ever since. He is the Artistic Director of Seuls en Scène, Princeton French Theater Festival that he has curated annually since its creation in 2012. Alongside his studies in American Literature and Civilization at the University of Lille, he trained as an actor and director at Lille National Theater and later pursued his theater studies at Amherst College, MA as a Levy-Despas Fellow and teaching assistant in the Department of French (1999-2001). This is when he created the program of L’Avant-Scène, which originally mixes linguistic and dramatic training. At Princeton since 2001, Florent Masse has been able to develop and enrich L’Avant-Scène’s curricular and co-curricular programs. He has directed about sixty full-length productions of popular and celebrated plays in the French theatrical canon, including plays by Feydeau, Molière, Racine, Corneille, Claudel, Marivaux, Musset, Ionesco, Lagarce, Koltès and Pommerat. He has collaborated to Princeton University Center for French Studies, and has lectured on the program of L’Avant-Scène at various institutions. He has initiated several theater enrichment programs for his students abroad, and has brought to Princeton a list of prominent French theater artists to perform, direct master classes or teach for a semester.
In January 2017, he was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by French Minister of Culture Audrey Azoulay for his attachment to French culture and his action in favor of its promotion in the United States.
Professor Masse can be found on most week nights rehearsing in the Rocky Common Room, which has been home to L'Avant-Scene's evening rehearsals since 2002. On some nights you may even find him rehearsing in English as he is directing an acting workshop in English: "The Rocky/Mathey Actors' Studio," that's he was excited to launch in the fall of 2008. Professor Masse's dream of turning Holder Courtyard and the Rocky Common Room into theater stages has been realized on two occasions: when L'Avant-Scene performed Cyrano de Bergerac in May 2009 in Holder courtyard, and when he produced Others by contemporary French playwright and director Pascal Rambert in May 2019 in the Rocky Common Room.
He hopes to soon reiterate this dream as he finds Rockefeller College to be a wonderful place to do theater.