Director of a Storied Paris Theater Is Fired

Director of a Storied Paris Theater Is Fired

She said she would seek legal advice to challenge the decision.

In a short news release, the theater said Mackenzie had left with immediate effect, and a spokesman declined to answer any questions about her departure.

Mackenzie’s time at the Châtelet was not without problems. In 2019, before its official reopening, the theater hosted “DAU,” a much-hyped but poorly executed immersive theater work. Visitors complained of waiting in line for hours to see a half-finished spectacle.

The grumbling continued once the official programming began. Many critics said that the theater’s opening show, “Parade,” a reworking of a famous ballet that premiered at the Châtelet in 1917, was shallow; others complained that it used amateur performers who weren’t paid. The thumping music in “Room With a View,” a dance piece developed with the French electronic music producer Rone, led to noise complaints from a nearby hotel.

Ariane Bavelier, the deputy culture editor at Le Figaro, a conservative French newspaper, criticized several productions from Mackenzie’s tenure in a text message exchange. “Parade,” she said, was “more showbiz than the sophisticated refinement expected in that house,” while she described “DAU” as “a fiasco.” It was “poorly organized, slow, pretentious and without much to see,” she said. Other works in the season, she said, were unoriginal or had already been shown elsewhere.

But, Bavelier said, Mackenzie “wasn’t fired because of her programming.”

Mackenzie said that two employees from the theater’s marketing department had complained about her while the theater was closed during the coronavirus lockdown, which had led to an official inquiry. “I had Covid and then pneumonia, so it was quite tough being interrogated by Zoom,” Mackenzie said.

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