71 NATIONAL PERFORMING ARTS CENTRES : A MINISTRY-APPROVED CERTIFICATION SHARED MISSIONS
« A result of the French cultural policy of post WWII decentralisation, National Performing Arts Centres (Scènes nationales) have thrived in the past 50 years under the auspices of a cultural programme launched by André Malraux, France’s first ever Minister for Culture.… If this network has developed persistently over the years, it may be due to the fact that the humanistic and artistic principles at the core of the project and the political choices supporting it, were strong enough to overcome or anticipate the evolutions and changes France was facing at that time. »
Committed to supporting contemporary creation, the network for National Performing Arts Centres is composed of 71 venues in Mainland France and French overseas territories, in locations ranging from smaller cities and mid-scaled conurbations to urban areas of up to 200,000 inhabitants. These art centres are financially supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and by their local authorities: town councils, departmental councils and regional councils. Each different in size and with a distinctive project to carry out, they reflect France’s cultural diversity whilst sharing the same guidelines set out by the Ministry of Culture and Communication in order to uphold their certification as National Performing Arts Centre. Their assignments are to support artistic creation, to deliver a challenging programme of multidisciplinary-arts events year round, and to develop a cultural offering for all local audiences. National Performing Arts Centres therefore play a crucial role in arts provision and territorial development throughout France and overseas. They all implement their unique cultural project thanks to outstanding architectural complexes, a home for all performing arts to meet (theatre, dance, music, circus, etc.) and, for most venues, visual arts also (fine arts, cinema, etc.). Their production tools and skills in-house enable them to support artistic projects and artists in their research and creation. They also take an active part in presenting and touring work throughout the various national performing arts networks. In this way, they contribute to the renewal in aesthetics, artistic languages and talents presented on the French, European and international art scene.
All National Performing Arts Centres also place creative learning at the heart of their work, putting together a programme of outreach arts and education events in order to bring all members of their communities closer to high quality art experiences and culture, especially amongst young audiences. These activities are held all year long and take the form of workshops, artist discussions, exhibitions, decentralised performances, artistic and mediation work in prisons, hospitals, schools, in partnership with associative, student, and social networks, thereby strengthening their cultural coverage across territory and in time.
SHARED MISSIONS AND CHALLENGES
Every Scène nationale organises its activities around a framework of missions based on three areas of responsibility and expertise set out by the Ministry of Culture.
– All Scènes nationales deliver a challenging programme of arts events showcasing main trends in the current creation, may it be in the disciplines of performing arts, cinema, visual arts, etc.
– They support artistic projects and artists, assisting them in their research, creation and production phases.
Each venue’s distinctive project is led by its ongoing consideration of its local community and territory, which can range from the size of a mid-scaled conurbation to a full French department, sometimes even beyond.
– At first, all Scènes nationales played an exemplary role in the cultural and territorial development in France and overseas. Gradually, they’ve also become a driving force and reference in arts provision and facilitation in terms of creation, production and touring.