Practical Informations What is Créarc

Créarc’s History

From Théâtre action… to Créarc

Théâtre Action 1972-1982

The association created in 1972 by Fernand Garnier and Renata Scant was known as Théâtre Action. It assembled cultural militants, communities, teachers… The main objective was to create a structure as close as possible to people in order to make possible an access to theatre and culture. Théâtre Action was founded not only with the objective of working in every neighbourhood across the city, but also with the aim of creating a cultural action related to the community.
That is how performances and different projects related to cultural development were set very fast. For instance, since 1972, Théâtre Action had participated in" Jeunesse de Grenoble” (The Youth of Grenoble) project whose town took the initiative and encouraged the association to lead theatre workshops for children, youngsters, adults, women from Mistral, Teisseire and Abbaye’s districts and social centers. This would be part of the project called “Action culturelle dans les grands ensembles” (Cultural Action in suburbs) established in 1974 with the Cultural Intervention Fund and thanks to the financing of the Ministries of Education, Health, Culture and Justice with the aim of working with the ones called “young offenders”. It would be led thanks to the close collaboration of the social and socio-educational structures of the town.
At the same time, Théâtre Action set up different performances created from topics related to the social transformation which was set in motion in 1968. For example, the association created “La femme aux ciseaux“(Woman with scissors), a theatre play about abortion, played by Renata Scant and written by Fernand Garnier. We should take into account that abortion was illegal at that time. The play was clandestine. The play was part of the movement which, after Annie Ferrey-Martin’s accusation, culminated into the law of Interruption Volontaire de Grossesse (Interruption of Pregnancy). This performance was mounted with the collaboration of “Planning familial de Grenoble“(Family Planning of Grenoble) and it was played throughout the region Rhône-Alpes, in France, as well as in London. The other main part of the creation was the performance to young public, a very important one. To a town like Grenoble, the cultural offer seemed to be very rich and varied. However, the child’s background was extremely neglected and only a limited number of children went to theatre. It still is to a certain extent today.
Therefore, this association organized itself in a pragmatic way with few means. Little by little through projects, performances, it obtained the community and ministries’ recognition and it would continue during 10 more years.

Théâtre Action Créarc : 1982-1993

In 1982, the association changed its name into Théâtre Action Créarc. Indeed, besides its activities of theatrical creation and cultural development projects, the association created a literary field in which poetry evenings’ organization was the main expression. Créarc was an acronym and we can read it like this :

  • “creation”: due to theatrical and writing creation.
  • “research”: through projects of cultural development, the association lead a reflection about cultural issues, about the relationship between social standing or cultural standing.
  • “cultures”: because the association implemented a local work, in partnership with numerous associations which united foreign people (Algerians, Moroccans, Greeks, Armenians, Poles…) and also due to its work with people from all over the world through its poetry’s evenings.

In addition, the association initiated poetry’s evenings at the beginning of the 1980s and poets from all over the world, who were not only involved in their countries on a writing level but also in the fight for democracy, joined. For instance, the association received Breyten Breyttenbach (South African poet against the Apartheid), Abdelaatif Laabi (came to Grenoble after leaving Moroccan prisons), Gaston Miron, Edouard Glissant, Juan Gelman... These evenings had a huge impact and they caused the transformation of Théâtre Action. Since 1985, the association had developed its activities in European theatre due to the creation of the “Festival de Théâtre Européen” (European Theatre’s Festival). On the first one, the festival was itinerant. Four companies with sixty participants joined. It was a very modest project without subsidies. However, the result was very positive and during the following years, this festival became a sedentary Festival of European Theatre done in Grenoble (the itinerant formula was so heavy to manage). This festival got bigger progressively, not only because there was already a public but also because with the aid of the articles written by Monde édition Rhône Alpes. In 1989, the association founded the “Rencontres de Jeunes Théâtre Européen” (Young European Theatre Rencontres), which were named “Théâtre et jeunesse pour l’Europe” (Theatre and youth for Europe). The aim was to support this festival and to show to a big public the theatrical work done through the theatre workshops which were multiplying at that time. Anrat (National Association of Research and Theatrical Action), whose vice-president was Fernand Garnier and its correspondent in Grenoble, Agathe, helped them. Among Agathe’s responsible people, Michèle Lacoste, Jean-Pierre Sovignet and Michèle Planès were very active. It seemed important to set up a parallel public to the festival (always thinking in public’s education). Young people played their shows in the afternoon and they went to the performances of the Festival in the evening. An extremely interesting mixture was created, since youngsters practiced their own theatre and they constituted a very well-informed, specialized and attentive international public.
All the projects were related together as a symbol: they were at the same time the axis of a very identifying work, having different types of financing, but nurturing one another. However, the association’s activities tended to form a polymorph structure whose harmonious whole was being more difficult to manage. A difficulty which was corroborated when the founder couple separated and when they tried to follow their own professional itineraries alone. Renata Scant decided to found her own company and she put an end to the adventure called Théâtre Action Créarc. Therefore, in 1993, the association changed its name, for the second time, into Créarc.

Créarc, from 1993

In 1994, Créarc is directed by Fernand Garnier. Since Renata Scant decides to found her own company, being the stage director of Théâtre Action Créarc and all subsidies belonging to her and not to the association itself, Créarc becomes a small association again. Créarc continues with the project of Young European Theatre Rencontres and it also keeps a closely collaboration with the European Theatre’s Festival until 2002 (a festival managed by Renata Scant’s new company). However, the Festival becomes more professional and at the same time, the Rencontres evolve and become more autonomous, until the separation of the two projects.
From now on, Créarc continues its itinerary around four axes :

  • The International Young European Theatre Rencontres and the foundation of Young European Theatre’s Network.
  • Theatrical Creation.
  • Performances and Companies’ welcomed at the Petit Théâtre.
  • Projects of Cultural Development.