Testing a new support system

To answer all of these questions, le phénix scène nationale has come up with an innovative project : the European Creative Hub.

The selected associate artists are deeply involved and have a desire to work in the Hauts-de-France region, together with le phénix scène nationale with which they’ve been building a relationship based on trust.

Julien Gosselin, the Amicale de production, Halory Gorger and the XY company will enjoy our support programme from 2016 to 2020.

In addition, the Campus – the art research lab – enables us to identify and welcome new comers hand in hand with associate artists. A dozen emerging artists will have the opportunity to enjoy our artist-in-residence programme (from the preproduction stage to the performance). The supported artists are coming from the region, the country and/or abroad.

Since 2009, le phénix has proven its ability to encourage and gather the required professional skills : artistic, administrative and technical skills. Today, the Hub is ready to respond to the companies’ existing difficulties. The phénix’s public partners wish to participate in developing the Hub. In 2016, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Hauts-de-France region and Valenciennes Métropole confirmed their will to financially support the project from 2016 to 2020. The official launch took place on the 18th June 2016 with Xavier Bertrand, president of the region, Laurent Degallais, president of Valenciennes Métropole and Laurent Dréano, minister’s adviser for the performing arts.

The objective of the Hub is to be pragmatic and address the artists’ needs for development. For instance, we decided, together with the Bureau Prémisses, to carry out the executive production of Damien Chardonnet’s Andromaque, les Héritiers. The project is very promising, yet the company is not strong enough to produce it all by itself. Independence and flexibility pave the way to companies’ success instead of putting them in the most risky situation. Besides, having the right skills at the right place in the production process enables to increase the artistic activity.
During four years, the objective is to bring permanent solutions to artistic teams and help them reduce risks regarding production and distribution :

1. Support programmes destined to associate companies may be extended to two years, which is the time needed to fully produce a show. This support programme may also be requested by other artistic teams or productions centres. Artists supported by the Campus will also benefit from important coproduction shares.

2. Promoting artistic work and enabling associate artists to work on the Phénix’s stage during one to four months is another objective. Accommodation, logistics and technical needs will be taken care of. Together with the ECH’s public partners, we are currently working on providing accommodation to artists. It will be the finishing touch to a centre of artistic creation, recognized at European level.

3. A position of production manager has been opened to manage the ECH’s activity and help artists and companies, first during their creative work and then during touring. The ECH’s support program supplements the companies’ system of production and distribution.

4. Mindful of the widest audience, le phénix scène nationale has been developing since 2009 a number of innovative digital tools necessary to a European production centre : web TV, educational webcast in collaboration with theatrecontemporain.net, bilingual English version of the project. Le phénix is one of the few French theaters that can handle professional video recording of the shows.

These various skills are made available to the associate artists as well as the artists from the Campus. It enables them to build in their turn innovative cultural tools and improve both national and international circulation : production of artists’ video portraits, video recording of shows, making of teasers, surtitling of shows and videos.
As far as the critical dimension is concerned, we produce every year a book dedicated to the cabarets of curiosities. It gathers critical texts, portfolios and interviews with artists. Such an initiative is pretty uncommon and undertaken by only a few national theaters. We also created and co-published with the Centre Georges Pompidou a book about the Amicale de Production. Les Solitaires Intempestifs publishing house is also working with us. It is in charge of distribution. All of our publications are also available in digital version.
Once every two years, we publish a bilingual publication about the artists of the ECH and their work. Edited by Romaric Daurier, this publication brings together French and European thinkers and art critics to put the performing arts in a contemporary aesthetic context. Critical reflection on the artistic works is necessary to enlighten them and successfully back their national and international circulation.

In 2013, le phénix designed a global digital pilot project named Rekall. This free online software enables companies to gather digital material about their work (videos, technical patches, drawings…). The pilot version was completed on the 14th November 2014 and supported by Pictanovo, Ma scène nationale Montbéliard, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, Direction Générale de la Création and Appel à Projets Culturels Numériques Innovants. The software is a great success in the eyes of the international scientific community (Symposiums Cuni NYU, Hexagram Concordia Montreal, IRCAM, EHESS, Googlelab, International Federation of Theatre Research, Warwick, Digital Humanities Lausanne, ENSAD Paris, Labex Patrima, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Renew Riga, Archives spectacle vivant Rennes…). The ECH’s artists are given the opportunity to take a training course to master this amazing tool and help them in their artistic process. In addition to the software, web documentaries in the shape of augmented reality video recordings are also produced. A partnership with Arte Creative may be considered.

5. Promoting and increasing European and international reach together with institutional partners.
A hallmark, a characteristic featured by the artists’ works to increase the ECH’s international visibility and influence the French artistic landscape.

The ECH’s activity will consist in European projects developed within the framework of Europe Creative. A few projects have already been carried out (Interreg, Openlatitudes, Van den Vos, les Bienveillantes). On this occasion, we collaborated with famous theatres like berliner festspiele/foreign affairs, Vooruit Kunstencentrum, Cialo Umysl Foundation in Warsaw, Sin Arts and Culture in Budapest, Materiais Diversos in Minde, the Arsenic in Lausanne, MIR festival in Athens… A partnership between le phénix and the Festival Transamériques in Montreal is getting the support of the CPCFQ to develop a transatlantic platform of artistic research and creation. Four companies from Montreal and Valenciennes are being supported for two years in their artistic process.

To the Institut Français, the Circles plan is a relevant partner of the ECH. Four associate artists will be supported during their collaboration with the phénix. Julien Gosselin and the Amicale de Production’s latest works were completed thanks to this support programme. Travelling expenses are covered by the Institut Français in exchange for a commitment to artistic production. The Institut Français is also ready to consider signing a three-party convention with the Hauts-de-France region and le phénix to bring specific support and promote the artists’ international influence.

Le phénix is also deeply involved in artistic cooperation networks like the IETM and the ONDA.

6. As the ECH wishes to work as a pilot platform, an academic point of view on the artistic projects is essential. It is about pointing out strengths and weaknesses to be able to spread its model abroad. A special comity will be created to invite public partners and leading figures to get involved.

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