July 29, 2021

Cultural war at the Arles Theater

Could this be a new version of the earthen pot versus the iron pot? In Arles, the city’s pretty Italian-style theater, built in 1838 and nestled among the café terraces on Boulevard Georges-Clemenceau, is the subject of a bloody battle between its current director, Valérie Deulin, and the mayor. of the city, Patrick de Carolis, former president of France Télévisions, elected in June 2020 at the helm of the city of Arles.

At the head of this 293-seat room since 2007, Valérie Deulin has offered a high-quality program, focused on contemporary creation, accompanied by a solid work of cultural mediation on the territory, Arles being, with its 760 km2, the largest municipality in France. In particular, we saw the whole brilliant new wave of French and European theatrical flair pass at the Arles Theater, from Julien Gosselin to Caroline Guiela Nguyen via Tiago Rodrigues, who this year opens the Avignon Festival in the Cour d honor of the Palace of the Popes.

A public service work, corresponding to the status of a conventioned scene of national interest, labeled Nouvelles Ecritures, from which the theater has benefited since the end of the 1990s, when the city of Arles decided to operate a public service delegation and entrust the management of the theater to an association. However, thanks to the end of the six-year mandate of this delegation and that of Valérie Deulin, the city of Arles has decided to take over the theater under direct control and to lower its subsidy by 200,000 euros.

“Diversify the entertainment offer”

“If we took this decision, it is above all to make the theater more accessible, exposed Patrick de Carolis during the municipal council of May 27. More accessible to Arlésiens, of course, by expanding and diversifying the range of shows, but also more accessible to local and regional companies. While it is important to us to keep the New Writings label, a true guarantee of quality and excellence, it seems important to us to develop, in this municipal theater, quality events for the general public: theater, dance, circus or music. , whether it is the classical repertoire, young artists or the music hall. In short, we want to give the Arles Theater back to Arlésiens ”, he concludes.

Le Syndeac: “Doing more with less, as the mayor implies, is an unrealistic and demagogic equation”

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