World Crisis Theatre

Project: European artistic and civic cooperation between Germany, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy Portugal and Sweden on the theme of the financial crisis and its consequences in Europe

Website: worldcrisistheatre.com

Period: 2012-2014

Main partners:
The Transplanisphere (France, coordinator)
Ledra Studio (Greece)
Ex Quorum (Portugal)
Vera-Liv (Iceland)
International Theater (Italy)
Teatermaskinen (Sweden)
Bildung & Integration (Germany)

Support:
EU / Culture Program Strand 1.2.1 – Cooperation projects
Region Ile de France
Hippocrene Foundation
Paris City Hall (Paris Europe Label)
Spedidam
OFAJ-DFJW
DG Artes

Partners FR:
Carreau du Temple (Paris)
Institute of Political Studies of Paris / section Culture – collective projects
Young National Theater (Paris)
Ensatt – National School of Theater Arts and Techniques (Lyon)
ESAD (School of Dramatic Art, Paris)
Fijad
European Youth Parliament (Paris – Europe)

 

 

The 2008 financial crisis turned into an economic crisis, a crisis of states and a crisis of society. The consequences of the crash were at work in Europe and in the world in a variety of forms, economic, social and political.

How to find a meaning, how to appropriate a subject as vast and elusive? Why design an artistic and civic approach to react to this world that often inspires us feelings of fear, injustice or revolt?

 

The European Crisis Games, designed and directed by Bruno Freyssinet, on Tour, Evora (Portugal)

World Crisis Theater proposed to associate artists, young people and representatives of civil society from 7 European countries: Germany, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy Portugal and Sweden, all affected by the crisis to a high degree. These are structures of different size, status and artistic practices that have come together around this project

The aim was to lead a joint reflection through an investigation and an artistic experience. Among the results of the project: the creation of a play about the origins of the financial crisis associated with the writing and the representation of a second play on the consequences of this crisis. Other coins have also been created in some participating countries (Italy, Portugal, Sweden)

The project started in 2011 and then took on a European dimension from 2012 to 2014.

Through this experience, European citizens have questioned a phenomenon that has disrupted their economies, their societies and their perception of the world. Together they have resulted in the creation of an open, positive and stimulating work.

 

 

Genesis

In September 2009, we wanted to include the exploration of the financial crisis in the projects of the company Transplanisphere. At that time, we had the example of The Power of Yes written by the English playwright David Hare, whose company had staged Stuff Happens in 2008 at the Amandiers de Nanterre.

The unique documentary approach adopted by David Hare to write his play inspired the World Crisis Theater project then conducted by the Transplanisphere. In 2011, we organized a student meeting in Nanterre that was already looking to question the crisis, involving 25 young Europeans from the London School of Economics, Frei Universitat Berlin, Galatasaray Istanbul and Sciences Po Paris. This project was associated with workshop work with high school students and students from Nanterre. These experiments had already resulted in theatrical proposals.

As a result, we launched an international cooperation initiative that brought together artistic teams from 7 European countries to question the crisis together. We then widened the lines of work in order to tackle the debt crisis, the social crisis and the radicalization of relations between Europeans following this crisis (notably North / South). This second project was supported by the Culture program of the European Commission. It ended in June 2014.

For Ile de France, we have devised a specific proposal for the year 2014 that has associated partners and regional participants. With different public high school students, students and adults, we experienced the wealth of artistic creation confronted with political expression, against the backdrop of the project’s relationship with Europe and the world. Concretely, World Crisis Theater in Ile de France allowed a series of workshops with the public and performances in Ile de France of a show The European Crisis Games as well as a La Crise au Ventre installation.

 

The World Crisis Theater project


The prefiguration student project
with the support of Youth Delegation 92 and the European Peja Program

 

World Crisis Theater proposed, in February 2011, the one-week meeting between professional artists and young students from 4 European countries (Germany, France, Great Britain and Turkey). Their common ambition was the creation of a small theatrical form on the financial crisis. The project was based on David Hare’s play The Power of Yes, a documentary investigation at the heart of the financial crisis in Britain.

 

workshop and presentation at Nanterre-Amandiers, debate at the Agora de Nanterre, presentation at Sciences Po Paris, feb. 2011

 

The student component of the project was designed with a group of Master students from Sciences Po Paris as part of the World Crisis Theater Collective Project. With the support of the Transplanisphere, they obtained a European Youth Aid (PEJA) to organize with the Transplanisphere a meeting of students from 4 European Universities of Berlin (Freie), Istanbul (Galatasaray), London (London School of Economics) and Paris (Sciences Po). The meeting took place in February 2011 in Nanterre and Paris.

A high school component was also organized by Transplanisphere. It brought together a group of 15 high school students volunteers from several schools of the Academy of Versailles. This project was funded by the Ministry of Youth and Solidarity under the Culture 2010 call for projects. Common times allowed the meeting of high school students and students.

 

 

The first international cooperation project 2012-2013

 

Building on the experience of the first World Crisis Theater project in 2011, the 2012-13 project proposed this time to bring together professional artists, young people and civil society representatives from Portugal, Italy and Iceland. from Greece, Sweden, France and other European countries invited. The overall objective was to conduct an investigation, provoke a common reflection and initiate artistic and documentary proposals on the theme of the crisis.

This materialized in particular through various workshops and the creation of several plays, one of which brought together artists from different partner countries. Through this experience, citizens of Europe have questioned the crisis, a phenomenon that disrupts their economies, their societies and their perception of the world, and have given birth to both artistic and citizen proposals.

 

The action schedule has made it possible to achieve these objectives and to give them the expected reach, as much for the amateur and professional participants involved in the project.

Indeed, this phase of the project allowed to combine investigations and actions in the field. Partner countries have been able to build teams of amateur and professional participants of different ages and backgrounds (the Portuguese team included for example a young performer, a young photographer, two young writers, another example, the Italian team gathered together professional actors of various ages and artistic worlds, associated with young people, the Swedish team was mainly composed of young students from a disaster area …). From the field surveys and / or the writing work, the various partners developed a common corpus of texts in which they then drew for the writing and the creation of short theatrical forms. These plays have been called “Answers” in that they took over from the play “The Power of Yes” written in 2009 by playwright David Hare on the financial crisis in Britain – source inspiration for the documentary approach of World Crisis Theater.

This first year has thus associated research on European sites, meetings, local surveys and communication of results at a distance, then work period in Greece.

 

> European Sifnos Crisis workshop on Sifnos Island (July 2013) with 65 participants from 12 countries, organized in cooperation with Mezzanines Spectacles and the Panteion University of Athens.

> rehearsals of The Power of Yes in Athens (one week in August). In the Versidepsio room (alternative place recently opened in a waste industrial area). It allowed to compare the original text dating from 2009 focused on the financial crisis with the various surveys carried out during the project. This phase resulted in the representation of a first theatrical model then represented at Epidaurus, in the small ancient theater.

One of the first artistic teachings of this period was to ask the question of the adaptation of the original text. The Power of Yes showed its limits in debates between artists of the team, in that its content did not allow to include the European dimension satisfactorily. At the end of the experiment, the artists agreed on a rewriting inspired by The Power of Yes and whose final title will be The European Crisis Games.

> 3 days of performances in the framework of the international festival of Epidaurus (end of August 2013). The festival of Epidaurus was the opportunity to represent a first model The Power of Yes freely inspired by David Hare, gathering on stage artists from the different participating countries, as well as theatrical forms created locally: Cyclops’ survival, Panteion Drama Center (Athens, Greece) / Esposti a tutto, The International Theater (Rome, Italy) / A Reposta, ExQuorum (Evora, Greece) / The Satyr play, Bildung und Integration (Berlin, Germany)

 

3 days of World Crisis Theater, International Epidaurus Festival, Greece, August 2013

 

The Panteion University of Athens had obtained from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage the availability of the venue as part of the traditional Epidaurus International Festival. For all the partners of the project, this event integrated in the framework of the youth meeting was a bonus as extraordinary as expected, as the Epidaurus festival has an international reputation (comparable to Avignon or Edinburgh). Thus, after work carried out in their respective countries and two weeks of joint work in Greece, the participants were able to show their artistic and civic proposals to the Greek public, who came from both the neighborhood and Athens (200 km from Epidaurus). In an often conflicting international crisis context, it was an opportunity to show a possible way of European cooperation through artistic creation. The Greek press and media moved to attend the various proposals and offered a nice coverage to the event.

The activities in Greece in the summer of 2013 were a key moment for the results of the World Crisis Theater project. The partners sent teams to represent them to share local experiences and present the results of their work on stage. They conducted workshops together with the participation of local amateurs and young students. In Greece, the experience is greeted in the sense that it brings together on stage European artists and citizens who are trying together an artistic proposal whereas for several months on the streets of Athens and in the European public opinions the positions were radicalized. and oppose.

 

 

The project path

 

From April to October 2014, the project proposed a journey that is both citizen and artistic, but also a geographical experience since it took place in many places in Ile de France.

It was an opportunity for unprecedented meetings between high school students and students, adult amateurs of all ages, experts (teachers, researchers) and artists (theater and visual arts). The meetings created common, better empathy between citizens of different groups, artistic proposals (installations and theater) for the general public and multimedia web publications to expand the audience reached by the project.

⇢ The first half of the project, from April to June 2014, specifically questioned the European debate on the crisis through workshops, conferences and public presentations involving citizens of Ile de France and European artists.

 

These activities included:

high school students from 4 institutions: Joliot Curie, Nanterre (92) – Montesquieu, Herblay (95) – Turgot, Paris 3rd – Parc de Vilgénis, Massy (91). In total, 6 classes of second and two classes of first will participate (245 pupils and 10 teachers)
students from Sciences Po (Collective Master Project) and the University of Orsay (master). (12 participants)
amateur citizens of the Île-de-France region (30 participants)

 

 

These workshops were co-facilitated by the artists and experts associated with the project

They took place in very different places in the Paris region:

4 high schools, 2 universities, a national school, a place of art and science (NeticLab Orsay), cultural venues (theater of Cormeille and Herblay, Carreau du Temple, Capital of the Fountain Images).

⇢ A site dedicated to World Crisis Theater (worldcrisistheatre.com) was set up and served as a dissemination tool to the public. Participants also used their social networks to publish.

⇢ This first part was a highlight with the meeting of all the participants during the Days of the Economy Spring in Paris (Turgot High School, Cnam, Min of Finance). Specific evenings were organized at the Carreau du Temple (even before the inauguration) which allowed the restitution of the workshop work of the high school students, the students and the participating amateur citizens, as well as the conference of the participating scientists. A day of meeting, workshop and public performance was also held at the Chapiteau de la Fontaine at Images de Clichy sous Bois.

It allowed the meeting of amateur Seine Saint Denis with students of Sciences Po Paris, as well as European artists associated with the project.

Each presentation was made in the context of an evening where images of the web documentary were made throughout the project, followed by a debate involving the public who participated upstream. Upstream or downstream of the presentations, a meeting of volunteer participants with high school classes who have already attended a presentation.

⇢ Then, a “mid-term review” day was held on June 24 at Carreau du Temple, with a new audience meeting. It made it possible to set benchmarks (which participants, which axes of work?) On the workshop of the month of July which opened the second part of the project.

 

 

⇢ This July workshop “Crisis in the Belly” involved volunteers from different experiences of the first part as well as artists and experts. The goal was to lay the foundations together a visual and theatrical installation on the crisis. (see attached the story of this workshop by a student of Sciences Po internship at the Transplanisphere at this time).

⇢ The installation “crisis belly” was designed in September on the basis of research workshop proposed to the public amateur Carreau du Temple in July. Ikse Maître and Bruno Freyssinet have created a device involving a video avatar capable of interacting, mirroring the audience.

Faced with two human-sized plasma screens. The viewer of the installation was able to discover interactively its reflection inside the mirror-screen. He was able to explore his various sensitive areas that responded to the crisis, such as the brain or the digestive system (second brain). He was also able to “cross” his reflection and thus feel the impact of the crisis on his body.

The installation was presented in various events at Orsay (University Paris Sud), at Proto 204, in September 2014, and again at Carreau du Temple as part of a great day of meetings between artists in residence and the general public (We are the Carreau).

⇢ In November, a collective project was initiated with students of Sciences Po Master 1 (promotion 14-15) in order to evaluate, with hindsight, the whole approach. They thought about a new project that could transform this experience into video teaching support that could be used in the future by other audiences. This project was named Polart Circle, it actually started in 2016 with the help of the Erasmus + Strategic Partnership Program

 

> about the project Wolrd Crisis Theater The Transplanisphere provided artistic coordination, European administration and logistics, the search for funding in France, and co-organization of periods of representation in France.