France - Paris


La grande Baronnade (30 and 31/10/04)

Festival « Itinérance rue »

La Jonquière district (Paris 17th arrondisement)


Caroline Loire of the Onze Bouge Festival contacted us about this new Parisian festival (organised by the Town Hall of Paris) in which the objective was to work with the people of a local area over a period of several months, and to come up with a performance at the end of that period. We had been chosen by the 17th arrondisement in the north west of Paris, through its very likeable local mayor with special responsibility for culture, Claude Risac.

We decide to work in one of the poorer areas rather than in the more 'yuppified' area known as the Batignolles. The initial idea is that we should involve all the local orchestras in our show : the choir, the primary school wind band, the senior citizens' club...

The idea is to 'plant' all these people in amongst the real audience, or somewhere else in the town.

We're lucky in that the Town Hall of the 17th arrondissement lends us a room and we are able to rehearse there about ten times.

During this time Antoine, our composer, writes a piece specially for a local primary school where 2 classes in this educationally deprived area are fortunate to be able to play music on a regular basis (they have a whole wind band already set up).

We spend lots of time checking out suitable sites and having meetings with the local residents, and Caroline Loire is on the ball the whole time...and continues to be so right till the end.

On the big day, when there will be two performances, we have all of our many 'plants' hidden in various places and the brass band leads the large audience on a walk round the 'quartier' where they are treated to numerous surprises:

- A female spectator singing opera.

- A café waiter singing reggae.

- An resident of the third floor of a building playing flamenco guitar.

- A senior citizens' dance club which organises a small ball.

- A bad-tempered resident in a courtyard who finally bursts into song.

- A motorist washing his car who begins to soak everyone with his hose-pipe.

- And at the end, the finale with the choir « Toujours les mêmes ».

The Grooms play along with all the various groups.

The show lasts for 2 hours, which is too long but nevertheless a promising first effort. It's a real pleasure for us to work with the children and with the choir.

A huge amount of work, but a fantastic experience.

Unfortunately, Caroline Loire and Christine Picon, who have organised everything so well, discover that the festival will not be continuing in this form, and that their services will no longer be required. A new concept based on circus is envisaged.