History of the Company
This is a company of inventors, stuntmen, poets and scrap-dealers all at once, led by Jean-Luc Courcoult. Royal de Luxe are currently considered to be an iconic, almost mythical, street theater company – equal to the Theatre du Soleil for conventional indoor theatre.
This is a company of inventors, stuntmen, poets and scrap-dealers all at once, led by Jean-Luc Courcoult. Royal de Luxe are currently considered to be an iconic, almost mythical, street theater company – equal to the Theatre du Soleil for conventional indoor theatre.
The springboard year
It all started in 1979 in Aix-en-Provence, where Jean-Luc Courcoult, Véronique Loève and Didier Gallot-Lavallée directed, with the help of fellow actors and musicians, their first production “Cap Horn”.
Convinced that it was easier to reach an audience by going outside rather than dragging them into a room, the show was played on the streets and in public open spaces. The trio did not stop there, but increased performances with a new production in 1980, “The mysteries of the large freezer”. The same year, they took the name of Royal de Luxe, a nod to the model of multi-track tape they used for writing their shows.
In 1981 the company moved and settled in Saint-Jean-du-Gard in the Cevennes Mountains, where they created “The infernal trunk” and the children’s show “Croquenitule and Crolenotte”. The following years were also very prolific, and various performances were created: “The blessing of the Cours Mirabeau”, “Terror in the elevator”, “the shoe parking”, in 1981-1982, and “Urban advertising”, “The Waterclash semi-final”, “The cardiac bidet” in 1983.
These shows were played in France and abroad, including Germany and Italy, and started to attract growing attention from the general public and theater programmers.
The titles chosen reflect how important urban culture, objects from modern day life, and a taste for the unorthodox, is for the company.
The three-days, city-scale performance
In 1984, the company developed a show extending over three days: the point was to be able to tell a story to an entire city by adapting to the city. The concept appeared for the first time in “the lake of Bracciano”. It will then reach its peak with the performances from the saga of the Giants.
In 1985, several productions were created following the same concept: “The big mammals or the incredible love story between a horse and a barge” in Toulouse, “The return of Roland de Roncevaux”, and “Remington District Corporation” performed for the Féria de Nîmes.
Another form of theater was invented and known under the name ‘Town Square Theatre’ concept. “Amnesium Perfume” is the first square theatre show created in 1985, better known under the title “Roman Photo”. With this creation, the company was awarded the Golden Rail prize following “Theater Pulls into the Station,” organized by the SNCF (French national railways company) and the French Ministry of Culture. Shows were held in French train stations until 1986.
In 1985, two parades (the first of many), were also emerging in two different cities: “The Barge On The Toulouse Boulevards ” and “The Hamburg Cage”.
The appointment with the public
1985 saw the creation of two astonishing images: “The house in the trees” and “Cars in the trees”. This form is based on the idea of a rendezvous with the audience every day in the same place and at the same time, around an unusual event such as a couple moving into a tree.
During the first two days, masons build a wall topped by a fence around a tree located in the city centre. On the third day, a company installs water inlets and outlets, sinks, water heaters, electricity… The next day, movers arrange the furniture in the branches, suspended like string puppets. When the flat is finally finished, two tenants move in and live there, naturally, for 72 hours. During this time, they will never set foot on the ground.
At the same time, the troupe carries on exploring other concepts, such as the show without notice, also called “Theatrical Accident”. In 1986, they staged “the bus on a spit” in Toulouse and “Desgarrones” in Denmark, a ritual whereby cars are put to death by putting them on a spit in public on a bus or a tram.
The company comes back to exploring the joys of the fifteen-minute production by reviving “The Semi-final Waterclash”.
The first international tour
1987 proved to be a real springboard year for the company. It was at this point that they started to develop a second version of “Photo Novel”, and began a new tour. The recognition granted by the institutions allows the show to be distributed internationally.
The production, based on the ‘Town Square Theatre’ style, brought them back to the more burlesque style of their beginnings. Thanks to its devastating humour and social relevance, it had great success both nationally and internationally. It was performed two hundred and forty times in twenty-two European and Latin American countries, as well as in Africa and the USSR. During the winter of 1991, it toured Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.
In 1988, Royal de Luxe packed up and headed for North Africa. They settled in southern Morocco for ten weeks in order to conduct research and development into the souks and markets. The purpose of this long stay was to find new inspiration and to develop new forms of theater that would differ from what Western audiences were accustomed to. This idea would lead the company to make several more trips abroad during the following years.
Settling in Nantes: a new start for the company
In October 1989, the company was invited by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Mayor of the City of Nantes. He offered Royal de Luxe to stay and accommodate in a disused warehouse on the banks of the Loire River as well as supporting the company in its creative processes.
It is in these new premises that work on “The True History of France” begins – a ‘Town Square’ piece that will be performed five times at the Festival d’Avignon in 1990 in front of the Palais des Papes. This marks the first official programming for the company and the first sign of recognition by the French theater institutions. The festival kicks off with a series of twenty-three performances in a further ten French cities as co-production. Despite the company’s newfound funding and recognition, it clings to its original principles, namely its free performances for audiences.
By 1991, “The True History of France” had been played sixteen times in Europe and nineteen times in France, twice at La Defense in Paris to more than 10,000 spectators.
Cargo 92: A South American adventure
1992 sees the introduction of the Cargo 92 tour, initiated and devised by Royal de Luxe. It is part of the commemoration of the fifth centenary of the discovery of America and receives financial support from the City of Nantes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture.
However, Cargo 92 is unlike most other tours: it brings together four companies – Philippe Découflé dance company, Mano Negra band, Philippe Genty puppet company and Royal de Luxe – all in the same boat, a cargo ship bought especially and called The Melquiades.
In the cargo hold, Royal de Luxe team builds a French city street where they welcome the public at each stop in South America. Thus, “The True History of France” is performed in six countries and seven ports on the Atlantic coast of Latin America – Caracas (Venezuela), Bogota and Cartagena (Colombia), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Rio and Sao Paulo (Brazil), Montevideo (Uruguay), Buenos Aires (Argentina) either in city centers or in the harbors with the cargo ship as a backdrop. Mano Negra and Decouflé Company join Royal de Luxe in making “The Big Parade Of The Real History Of France” which travels to Caracas, Rio, Buenos Aires, before returning to Nantes.
In 1992 Royal de Luxe is contractualised and receives assistance from the state becoming an independent company free from commission.
The show accidents
In early 1993, on their return from Latin America, the company shut for four months in Nantes to work on a new production, a show without notice. The show “The Traffic-Jams” is born.
The show consists of about twenty vehicles with unusual scenes played on their roofs, criss-crossing the city from six to nine in the morning or evening during rush hour traffic.
With this production, the company hoped to engage the audience with accidental theatrical scenes during their daily journeys. Chance and surprise are essential ingredients; the public should be surprised and unprepared. Motorists and passers-by in Dijon, Antwerp and Saint-Brieuc have all been witness to these imaginary meetings and have had their daily commute enriched by this show.
The first steps of the Giant
In September 1993, in Le Havre, Royal de Luxe created “The Giant fallen from the sky”. For the first time, this show embodies the strong desire the company has to tell a story in a city in three days. The Lilliputians were born to accompany the Giant and quickly became the signature of the Giant saga.
“Once upon a time, there was a Giant who lived in the clouds. One day, he fell from the sky onto a boulevard. When he awoke, the Humans had tied him up. The following day they walked him around in a large cage to entertain the city. But every night, the Giant dreamed and his dreams frightened the Humans. So they built a big wall of light to prevent him from sleeping. That night, the Giant dreamed so hard that he broke out of his cage and disappeared into the light…”
Although the story is presented in this way, the audience does not know how each day will unfold and they must search for the Giant to find out what happens next. The Giant is manipulated in full view by a team of actors all dressed in red. With tousled hair, a black look in their eyes and bare legs up to the knee. Faced with this Giant, these friendly characters are reminiscent of Jules Verne and the Lilliputians and add something to this fantastical world. It is these same characters who, using pulleys and strings, will bring to life, through movement and breath, the other Giant characters yet to be born.
The following year is devoted to this Giant who has been invited to many cities. He can be spotted in the streets of Calais, Nimes, Nantes and Bayonne. From 1 to 4 October 1993, he returns to Le Havre for a new production, “The Giant fallen from the sky, final journey”. Since escaping Le Havre, the Giant had never stopped traveling, encountering cities and mountains. Exhausted, he enters into the belly of a volcano (the name refers to Le Havre national theatre Le Volcan) out of the earth and return to this city. The Humans then built him a large raft to escape to the sea. He disappeared forever with the tide, swallowed by the moon…
"The Peplum", a popular success
From late 1994 to May 1995, Royal de Luxe creates a ‘Town Square’ show in front of the stands, “The Peplum “, which again draws its subject and form from popular films ; the action takes place more than two thousand years ago, in Egypt. The show is a huge success.
In 1995, in its first touring year, “the Peplum” is performed forty-six times in eleven French cities as well as in Vienna, and in Antwerp. In 1996 it is played thirty-nine times in eleven cities all over Europe. In 1997, ten performances are held in Australia, and a further twelve in Europe. We estimate that 350 000 saw the show between 1995 and 1997.
In addition to “The Peplum”, three other shows are running in 1997. “The Giant” returns to Barcelona for four days; the synopsis is adapted to the Catalan city, including a Giant sitting on Gaudi’s Pedrera. The show is a great success and it is estimated that 200 to 300 000 people attended.
In the same year another show is created, “The Rhinoceros,” and with it a new machine. It is previewed in Arles during the Rencontres Internationales de la Photo and is performed every day at the Universal Exhibition in Lisbon in 1998. Finally, “The House in the Trees” is taken to Nantes, this time from 22 to 26 August.
From October 1997 to March 1998, Royal de Luxe commits itself to a six month theatrical adventure in Cameroon and moves to Foulou, in the North of the country. This exchange gave birth to the show: “The Tour of Cameroon by Bike” and to the beginnings of “Little Negro tales, draft title”.
The theater happenings take place in village market places in Cameroon. The company draws on African tales to create all sorts of mechanical objects and operated puppets to be manipulated on demand by several actors during these short performances. Of all the shows created during this adventure, “The Tour of Cameroon by Bike” made the greatest impact due to it involving the audience in comedy cycling competition in front of a map of Cameroon. It is during this trip that the Little Black Giant, key character of the next show, takes his first steps.
Return from Africa
In 1998, Royal de Luxe is back on European soil with a series of shows based on Africa and devised for large cities. A new storyline with the Giant, following the blueprint of previous shows (one arrival and one departure with two days in between), is presented to audiences in a show called “Return from Africa”.
The Giant on his raft is carried to the coast of Africa where he discovers a village of black Giants who welcome him and give him a son, to whom he tells his stories about the small white men. One day, discovering his son has left, the Giant begins his search for him perched on the roof of a bus. In 1998, the Giant and his son appear in three French cities (Le Havre, Calais and Nantes) as well as in Antwerp, Belgium. Both march in a parade to the rhythm of four huge music machines brought to life by fifty-five musicians from Burkina Faso.
In 1999, Royal de Luxe returns to a lighter style of “Town Square Theatre” and create “Little Negro Tales Provisional Title” on the 5th June in Nantes, a show consisting of nine Afro-European inspired tales from their Cameroon adventures. The audience, sitting on a bench especially designed for the company, pulls the order of the stories to tell out of a hat and in this way participate directly in the running of the show.
Co-produced by Mission 2000 in France, it is performed in a dozen cities during the summer and opens the Avignon Festival. Seventy-two performances take place from June to October to about 70,000 spectators. In 2000, the company returns to story-telling, this time in Spanish, and fly to South America. The famous show, “Pequeños cuentos negros titulo provisorio” is played in Valparaiso, Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires. From May to July of that year, a new European tour enables them to perform the show in a dozen cities.
From August 2000, the company goes further in the development of the stories from the saga of the Giants, with the creation of two new characters. A new story following the spirit of these large-scale creations is born, “The Giraffe Hunters,” featuring the Little Giant’s encounter with a giraffe and her baby giraffe. Created in Nantes, this story is then told in Le Havre and Calais before tens of thousands of spectators. Since 1993, these three cities have been the key stages of these Giant stories and have followed the saga with care and attention.
In Spring 2001, Royal de Luxe leaves for China for a long stay in Guan Cun, a remote village in the Shaanxi province, and takes with him the “Little Negro Tales, draft title””. Six Chinese artists join the team and after three months of rehearsals, the company returns to Nantes with a new show, “Little Chinese tales revised and corrected by Negroes.”
“Little Chinese tales revised and corrected by negroes”, is played thirty times in Paris and Nantes until October. In April 2002, Royal De Luxe is invited to Vietnam at Hue Festival, to introduce these new tales and stage imperial dinners in the Forbidden City. In May, the show is shown in Seoul, Korea. From mid-July to mid-November, the show is played sixty times in several French cities.
A new challenge
In 2003, under the amateur company name “The Trestle Of The Minstrels,” Royal de Luxe present “Sale! Two Shows For The Price Of One “. This show, performed anonymously, was a real challenge for the company: offering a creation to the public while freeing itself from Royal de Luxe’s notoriety. This creation is a step back to the beginnings of the company: the whole technical rider only fits in a truck. This a simultaneous production of two the two theatre classics “Hamlet” by Shakespeare and “The Imaginary Invalid” by Moliere staged on a turntable which get stuck and goes awry.
Initially, with the complicity of the festival of Aurillac, the company performs this production in several cities in Auvergne. In January 2004, invited by the Festival International Teatro a Mil, a Spanish adaptation of the show is presented during a Chilean tour. This takes the cast through Valparaiso, Santiago and to the northern region of the Atacama Desert. Fourteen shows are performed with a total of over 20,000 spectators. From mid-April to late October 2004, the show is played eighty times in twenty-nine cities, twenty-one of which welcome Royal de Luxe for the first time. The company moves from a regional tour to small towns to an international tour passing through Madrid and Pamplona. During the 2004 spring-autumn tour, an estimated 72,000 spectators see the production.
In 2005, “Roman Photo, Amnesium perfume” is revived by the Chilean company Gran Reyneta in a staging by Jean-Luc Courcoult, coproduced with Royal de Luxe. The show is performed at the International Theatre Festival in Santiago, Chile before embarking on a tour of several festivals in Latin America and Europe.
The Giants in London
In May of that year, the company creates “The visit of The Sultan of the Indies on his time-travelling Elephant”. It is the story of a sultan who travels around the planet through time and space on an elephant. The openings take place in Nantes and Amiens in connection with the Jules Verne centenary, at the invitation of the Ministry of Culture. The show also made a stopover in London, the first capital to host a show from the saga of the Giant, thus allowing the saga to shine internationally.
Hundreds of thousands of people attend to enjoy this new story: In Nantes, the reunion with this fascinating giant saga enlivens the city and talk is of little else for several days, whilst audiences in Amiens are surprised to discover the encounter between a little girl giant and a royal elephant.
In July 2005 and then again in October, the company resume performances of “Sale! Two Shows For The Price Of One” in an international tour. Later that year they start to work with patients from Nantes Psychiatric Hospital. “Fools” is the first project that the company centers on the world of madness.
From May to October 2006, the Sultan perched on his elephant, can be spotted on the streets of London, Antwerp, Le Havre and Calais. London audiences welcome the visiting sultan with wonder and surprise, while the French spectators applaud these new giant characters.
In August 2006, Royal de Luxe comes to the Pont du Gard, where they perform “Sale! Two shows for the price of one “and build an installation: “The Giant: Visit of the Pont fu Gard. “
Minstrels of the trestle are coming to the end of their 4th season with twenty-six performances in the Pays de la Loire, Rhone-Alpes regions… over 160 performances of this show.
In 2007, at the request of the International Festival Teatro a Mil, Royal de Luxe dreams up a new Giant story featuring a meeting between the Little Girl-Giant and, not an elephant from India, but a rhinoceros, A production that the Royal De Luxe faithful had already seen a decade ago. “The Little Giant and the Hidden Rhinoceros” is presented from January 25 to 28 in Santiago de Chile and achieves success exceeding anyone’s imagination. More than two million Chileans watch on creating the company’s biggest triumph for this first outing of the giants outside Europe.
In May, the Little Girl Giant continues her journey in a new story through Iceland this time: “The Geyser of Reykjavik.” Created especially for the close of the season at the French art festival in Reykjavik, the story is based on Nordic folklore.
In autumn 2007, Royal de Luxe develops a new form of street theater, the window show, and proposes a new production “The Revolt of the Mannequins”. In the form of urban comics in shop windows, mannequins rebelled for nine days in Charleville for the twentieth anniversary of the National College of puppetry, and then on tour around the world.
The whole show is spread over a period of 9 days featuring about 40 characters. The characters are real window mannequins who evolve during the whole event. The scenes, very visual, change day after day. Although frozen, the mannequins express the movement and emotion due to their personal story. Tending to a growing need for escape, they end up crossing the windows, one part of their body inside and the other outside these transparent walls and hanging on to the facades of buildings.
“The Revolt of the mannequins’ is performed in Nantes in February 2008. Having been fed with new stories and influences since the first performance, the production now comprises of a dozen windows. After Nantes, the Royal de Luxe mannequins invaded the shop windows of several cities throughout Europe and appeared in Maastricht in March, and Amiens and Antwerp in the months that followed.
In May 2008, the street theater festival Imaginarius of Santa Maria da Feira in Portugal, who had already hosted two of the company’s productions – “Sale! Two shows for the price of one “in 2004 and” Roman Photo ” by Gran Reyneta in 2006 – commissioned Royal de Luxe to create a new Giant story “The Story Of The Giant Who Was Buried Alive” in connection with the medieval castle’s history.
In November, the Berliner Festspiele provides eleven shop-fronts for the company in the KaDeWe department store in Berlin to host the show “The Revolt Of The Mannequins”. After this, the sets leave for Australia in February 2009 as part of ‘Perth International Arts Festival and in March 2010 move on to Wellington, New Zealand, at the invitation of the International Festival of Arts.
Along with the activity of the Royal de Luxe, Jean Luc Courcoult embarks upon a new project with Gran Reyneta and creates a new show in a genre unexplored by the Chilean company or even Royal de Luxe : a street musical called “The Nightmares Of Toni Travolta”. After more than seven months in France for its creation, the opening takes place in May 2008 at the Art Rock Festival in Saint-Brieuc, before starting a big tour throughout Europe (seventy-seven dates) and then to Chile in South America in early 2009, during another Festival Teatro a Mil in Santiago.
Unique creations custom-made to each City
A new story following the saga of the Giants was born in spring 2009 in the Royal de Luxe workshops in Nantes with a Deep-Sea Diver and a Little Girl-Giant as main characters, armed with a boat and a strange wave manipulated by Lilliputians like puppets … These modern-day tales performed across a city for three days and whose story-lines marry the history of a country are available to a wide audience, sensitive to emotion and poetry procured by these Giants.
The Little Girl Giant and the Diver have travelled the world with the following shows:
“The Giantess of the Titanic and the Deep Sea Diver” on 5, 6 and 7 June for the opening of the contemporary art biennial “Estuaire 2009” in Nantes – Saint-Nazaire.
“Berlin appointment ” from 1 to 4 October 2009 for the opening the festivities commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
” The invitation ” on 29, 30 and 31 January 2010 in Santiago, Chile as part of the bicentenary of Independence and 100 years of Chilean theatre (3 million spectators).
“The Diver, His Hand and the Little Girl Giant” on 20, 21 and 22 August in Antwerp (more than 800,000 spectators).
2010 saw the birth of a new giant in the company’s workshops, a Xolo, a Mexican goddog specially created for the show “The Giant of Guadalajara”.
This new episode of the saga of the Giants was presented from 23 to 28 November 2010 in Guadalajara, Mexico to celebrate the bicentenary of Independence and the 100 years of the Mexican Revolution (3.5 million spectators).
From 27th to 29th May 2011, it was now the opportunity for the people in Nantes to meet the company’s newest member, as part of the show “El Xolo” (600,000 spectators).
In 2012, Royal de Luxe once again shined in France and abroad with its creations:
Huge success for “Sea Odyssey”, a story from the saga of the Giant which celebrated the Centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, on 20, 21 and 22 April in Liverpool. More than 800,000 spectators. To commemorate this tale, which captivated the hearts of Liverpool’s residents, the City Council has published a beautiful book, published by Liverpool University Press.
« Fall Street », a new Town-Square performance. This adaptation of the conquest of the West literally won the heart of the public during its tour in spring/summer 2012 – Nantes, Antwerp, Paris, Aurillac, Saint-Gaudens, Ramonville… more than 50,000 spectators.
The Grandmother Giant
During the show “Planck Wall” in 2014 in Nantes, the public discovered a new Giant: The Grandmother Giant. This new character, a witness to the great history and the small stories, unleashed its stream of legends in front of more than 500,000 people. A book entitled “The Grandmother of Nantes” recounts this spectacle in pictures.
For “Memories of August 1914”, Royal de Luxe is once again invited by the city of Liverpool in 2014. This show, labelled by the 14-18 NOW mission, inaugurates the commemorations of the First World War. The Little Girl Giant, the Xolo and the Grandmother will bring together more than a million spectators in the Anglo-Saxon city.
In 2014, Limerick will host “The Grandmother fallen from the galaxy into a field in Munster”. As part of Limerick National Capital of Culture 2014.
The same year, the company imagined a new show entitled “Dakar-Dakar”. It is the story of a survivor of the last Paris-Dakar who, after an extraordinary epic, arrives in the Senegalese capital to launch Senegal’s first race on a static bicycle. During a week of incredible celebration in Dakar, Senegal, the show crosses the city and a great sporting competition is organised between the districts of Pikine, Ouakam and Fass.
In February 2015, Royal de Luxe opens the 2015 International Arts Festival in Perth, Australia with its show “The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of The Giants to the Streets of Perth”.
At the invitation of the Zomer Festival and its artistic director Patrick De Groote, Royal de Luxe presents a show from the unique saga of the Giants entitled “De Reuzen” (“The Giants” in Flemish) in Antwerp on 21 June 2015.
In 2017, the company presented three shows from the saga of the Giants. The Diver, the Little Girl Giant and the Xolo travelled to Montreal for the show “The great invitation” that celebrates the 375th anniversary of the City of Montreal. This was a major artistic event in Canada, as it was the first time that Royal de Luxe’s Giants set foot on the ground of North America.
In July, Royal de Luxe presented “Franciscopolis”, a show featuring the Diver and the Little Girl Giant. An unprecedented story celebrating the 500 years of the City of Le Havre and its port, as part of the “Un été au Havre” event.
The company then set off to meet the Swiss public in Geneva to tell a story featuring the Little Girl Giant and the Giant Grandmother. “The knight of lost time” was presented at the invitation of the Théâtre de Carouge – Atelier de Genève and the City of Geneva.
At the same time, another unique creation is being developed in 2017: a small theatrical form called “Miniatures”. This show is about the dreams of an airline pilot who travels the world above the clouds. It is coloured with Royal de Luxe special language and spirit, which has largely contributed to its fame: humour, poetry, special effects. It premieres in Mechelen, Belgium, during the “Festival Op Recht Mechelen” in March 2017. Then, during the summer, Royal de Luxe presents the show in Nantes, its home port. In January 2018, the company flies to Santiago de Chile with “Miniatures” where it is invited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the “Santiago a Mil Festival”.
The city of Leeuwarden in the Netherlands has been named 2018 European Capital of Culture. On this occasion, the Company was invited to present the show “Big Skate in the Ice” with the Little Girl Giant, the Xolo and the Diver. A giant block of ice containing a prehistoric skate, arrived previous to these three characters and announces the show.
The final of the Liverpool trilogy
In the same year 2018, the company performed “The Liverpool Dream”, the third invitation of Royal de Luxe’s Giants to Liverpool and the final act of the trilogy “Giant Spectaculars”. The City of Liverpool and the Wirral Peninsula welcomed the Giants to celebrate the 10 years of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture.
For the first time in the history of the saga of the Giants, 4 characters are present during the same show: The Giant, the Little Giant, the Xolo and the Little Girl Giant, who appeared by surprise on the last day. Over the three shows together, the city of Liverpool gathered more than 3,100,000 spectators.
In 2019, with the support of Nantes Métropole, the cities of Nantes and Saint-Herblain, the company will begin an ambitious multi-year artistic project entitled “Grand Bellevue”. Royal de Luxe accompanies the inhabitants of this sensitive district of Nantes through colourful characters and poetic images.
The "Grand Bellevue" project in Nantes: as close as possible to the inhabitants
This project fits in and interacts with the urban renewal plan for this district, in between Nantes and Saint-Herblain. It aims to develop an artistic presence in Bellevue, inspired by popular theatre, bringing a breath of poetry. In this way, it aims to reveal an identity that transcends differences and profoundly transform the relationship that residents have with their neighbourhood, as well as the image that is given to the outside world.
The project takes the form of a succession of theatrical acts and imaginary situations that take over the neighbourhood, and starts with the creation “the streetlamp with a knot”, a permanent work installed on Place Mendès France.
Then the arrival of a Fiat 500 linked to a character named Monsieur Bourgogne, an old camper who spends his holidays upright on the facades of the buildings in the neighbourhood.
It is then “the tree in the car” that announces the arrival of the colourful character called Mémé Rodéo. She comes to shop at the Bellevue market, accompanied by her rodeo scooter and her Lilliputians.
The project continues in 2020 with the “Fiat 500 schoolboard”, the little sister of the red car of Mr Bourgogne, which has the particularity of being covered with a green paint like a school painting. It offers its car body to the children in nursery school and elementary schools, allowing them to express themselves freely using chalks on it.
The last theatrical act from the Grand Bellevue project is “Cinemascope”, presented in September 2020. Inspired by Hitchcock’s film “Fenêtre sur cour”, Jean-Luc Courcoult has taken as a “place” for the show the flat of a building aimed to be demolished. The spectator witnesses at the foot of the building the strange intimacy of each of the scenes of a family, embarked in the daily life of these future migrants. Other surprises still await the Bellevue district.