In France, outdoor performances constitute a form of artistic takeover in any urban space (from the streets to the gardens, from the supermarkets to the forests…). Since the 60s, and even more since the 80s, the French Minister of Culture has supported arts and culture in public spaces, as they are considered a crucial issue of democracy. The events are connected to broader questions such as social diversity, citizen awareness, and public information.
Since 2018, Villa Albertine has encouraged the presence of French performing arts projects in both indoor and outdoor public spaces in the United States to foster exchanges between the two countries.
Over the past few years, many French installations, all of different in styles and aesthetics, were presented in the United States:
- Appearances/Disappearances by Compagnie Les Souffleurs as part of The Night of Philosophy and Ideas in Washington and Brooklyn, New York, in Jan. and Feb. 2019
- The Marching Band, by Frédéric Nauzyciel and artists from Baltimore and Washington in Jan. 2019
- Pearl by Street arts collectif Plasticiens Volants at ArtPark in Lewiston, New York, and Rochester Fringe, New York, in Aug. and Sept. 2019
- The Parade of The Moles by Philippe Quesne, a street performance presented by NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York in Sept. 2019 ;
- Hidden Stories by the street theater company Begat Theater, presented by Boom Arts, Portland, Oregon and at WOW Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, California, and in Brooklyn, New York in Oct. 2019 ;
More projects are in preparation with artists and companies including Olivier Grossetête, Compagnie Gratte-Ciel, Compagnie Galmae, and Cie Les Hommes Penchés.
Resources and network
The network of institutions in France includes a wide range of organizations, associations, and arts centers, all of which operate within the field of arts and culture. Hailing from all over metropolitan France, the partners include 14 national centers dedicated to arts in public spaces, including the National Federation of Street Art.
ARTCENA, National Center for Circus Arts and Street Theater; ASSOCIATION ÉCLAT – LE PARAPLUIE, Aurillac (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes); SOAR – Quelques p’Arts, Boulieu-lès-Annonay (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes); L’ABATTOIR, Chalon-sur-Saône (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté); LES ATELIERS FRAPPAZ, Villeurbanne (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes); LE FOURNEAU, Brest (Brittany); LE BOULON, Vieux-Condé (Hauts-de-France); LE MOULIN FONDU, Noisy-le-Sec (Paris); L’ATELIER 231, Sotteville-lès-Rouen (Normandy); SUR LE PONT, La Rochelle (Nouvelle-Aquitaine); PRONOMADE(S), Encausse-les-Thermes (Occitanie); L’USINE, Tournefeuille (Occitanie); LA PAPERIE, Angers (Pays de la Loire); LE CITRON JAUNE, Port St-Louis du Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur); LIEUX PUBLICS – National Centre for Artistic Creation in Public Spaces, Marseille (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur).
Key festivals in france
There are several festivals of outdoor performances in France, including the following:
Festival de Chalon dans la rue in July in Eastern France; Festival d’Aurillac in August in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region; Festival de rue de Ramonville, which features a range of performances including music and dance based works; Furies in June which features circus acts; Cratère Surfaces in July which is situated in the three neighbouring regions of Alès, Anduze, and Vézénobres in Southern France; Les Tombées de la Nuit, which features both indoor and outdoor performances in unique public locations including basketball courts, warehouses, and street corners; Festival Extension Sauvages in the Summer; and Plastique Danse Flore in the Fall, which takes place in gardens, forests, and unexpected places.
“We do not see a location as a set design. What interest us is more the dynamic that is being created between a movement and a specific location,” said Latifa Laâbissi and Nadia Lauro, directors of Festival Extension Sauvage
Short selection of key companies in France
Many artists from various disciplines including dance, circus, and theater)have explored outdoor and/or public spaces. Other companies dedicate their work to the practice. Here is a selection of companies:
- Royal de Luxe
- Compagnie Gratte-Ciel
- Les Souffleurs
- Begat Theatre
- Galmae – JuhYoung Lee
- Plasticiens Volants
- KompleX KapharnaüM
- Olivier Grossetête
- Les Grandes Personnes
- Martial Chazallon and Martin Chaput-projet In Situ
- Compagnie Ilotopie
- Association Rhizome – Chloé Moglia
- Compagnie les Hommes penchés
Contact at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy:
- Laurent Clavel, Director of Visual & Performing Arts, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nicole Birmann Bloom, Program Officer, Performing Arts, email@example.com