1981, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1991

1981 - Marie Dessembre

Emmanuel Genvrin

First performed on December 12th 1981 at the Grand Marché, Saint Denis. Writer and director : Emmanuel Genvrin Sets : Joël Boyer - Music : Jean-Luc Trulès

"I can’t remember another play that we prepared and performed with such calm. It was amazing. Wasn’t it said that the memory of slavery had disappeared and that is was so painful it was better to not talk about it ? I remember how enthusiastic the actors were - especially the young women of the Yambane choir (East African tribe) - which Jean-Luc Trulès and myself had gone looking for, during our travels, because there were no black actors on Reunion. There were seamstresses who remembered how to tie scarves the way the Yambanes did. The public’s reaction was appealing, emotive, and warm. I still remember the poster for Marie Dessembre, which reproduced a strange painting, portrait of a young unknown slave, by an unknown painter. Her smile was that of a Madonna and the actress who played her resembled her. Marie Dessembre was our genesis. The Reunionese attachment to Vollard theatre dates from this period. » [E. Genvrin]

The play

On a plantation, Marie-Mirandine, a young slave, is secretly in love with the master’s son. She’s expecting his child. The scandal breaks during the events of 1848, which saw the arrival on Reunion Island of Sarda Garriga and the freedom for slaves. Marie-Mirandine has to flee into the mountains, where, amongst her own people, she gives birth to a little girl. She dies after childbirth. Her daughter is christened Marie Dessembre, daughter of Freedom.


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lire le programme

Vidéo Marie Dessembre 1991 - Jeumon - durée 7 mn -

what the press think

"Should old wounds be re-opened ? One day we will be able to pay tribute to their talent with no reservations»
C. J [Le Journal de l’île de La Réunion]

In the baroque surroundings of the Grand Marché, an explosion of free theatre.»
Roselyne Lanfray [Le Quotidien de La Réunion newspaper]

« Marie Dessembre now belongs to the island’s people and to the descendants of the sugarcane-cutters, who used to be treated like animals »
JMD [Le Quotidien de La Réunion]

press articles

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Le Quotidien (JM Devred), dec 1981, Marie Dessembre
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Art Quivi, nov 1981, itv E.Genvrin (Marie Dessembre - Vollard)
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Tele7 (A.Weber), nov 1981, Marie Dessembre
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Le Qutotidien (R.Lanfray), dec 1981, Marie Dessembre
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Lansiv (Agnès Antoir) 1982 A propos de marie-Dessembre, madone noire
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JIR, dec 1981, débarquement de Sarda au Barachoix
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Temoignages (P.David), janv 1988, itv E.Genvrin (reprise M.Dessembre)
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Art Quivi, nov 1981, itv E.Genvrin (Marie Dessembre - Vollard)
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JIR (C.Juan), avr 1982, Marie Dessembre
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Le Quotidien (A.Bled), Marie dessembre au Tampon juin 82
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Tele7 janv 1991, Marie-Dessembre
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Temoignages (P.David), dec 1991, Marie Dessembre


First performed on December 12th 1981 at the Grand Marché, Saint Denis, revived in 1982 when the company moved into the Cinérama at La Possession in 1987. In 1988, in a co-production with the ODC (Departmental Office of Culture) it was directed by Pierre-Louis Rivière in an open-air setting at the Villèle museum, and performed again in 1991 when the company moved to Jeumon. In total 83 performances, with 20 000 audience members


  • Marie Mirandine : Augustine Touzet, Maryline Janson
  • Olivier Mayolle or
  • Prosper : Dominique Carrère
  • Fernando : Emmanuel Genvrin, Bernard Gonthier
  • Mako : Paulo Randrianomé, Arnaud Dormeuil
  • Marec, Mascarin : Jean-Luc Trulès
  • Carmin, M. Houaret : Pierre-Louis Rivière
  • And : Sylvie Annette, Nicole Angama,, Christel Atchama, Mylène Baillif, Thierry Bertile, Annick Boissier, Sophie Boulay, Isabelle Brousses, Jean-Pierre Boucher,, Annick Calciné, Frédérique Cheynet, Marie-Claude Cadet, Emmanuel Cambou,, Serge Dafreville,, Jacques Deshayes, Michel Deshayes, Richard Dijoux, Sarah Dirrig, Marie-Hélène Dormeuil, Dominique Dubois, Georgette Élise, Jean-Marc Florimond, François Gonthier, Richemond Gilas,, Joachime Grondin, Jean-Luc Haze, Bertrand Heraud, Françoise Jean-Jacques, Alain Joron, Nicole Leichnig,, Nathalie Manciet, Michel Monsallier, Jean-Philippe Naze, Marie-Paule Nelle, Brigitte Pla, Marie-Hélène Pla, François Poupon, Délixia Perrine,, Rachel Pothin,, Jean-François Puylaurent, Eddy Puylaurent, Christian Ritter, Gladys Robert, Frédérique Robin, Daniel Roux, Ghyslaine Sagot, Jean-Paul Sartre, Laurent Segelstein, Philippe Soubielle, Térésa Small, Huguette Souris, Olivette Taombé, Jean-François Thomas, Sébastien Treilles, Jean-Louis Trulès, Pascal Trulès, Gérard Vidal, Odile Vefour, Tiziana Zuchetti.



  • atelier technique du Crac, Jean-Marc Florimond, Jean-Pierre Sartor, Pascal Trulès, Philippe Clavié, Jean-Noël André.


  • atelier du Crac, Venise Loricourt, Huguette Quipandédié, Marie-Claire Robert, Christine Poleya, Scholastique Dormeuil, atelier Alain Serge.


  • Joël Boyer, Jean-Marc Florimond.


  • Emmanuel Cambou.
©Théâtre Vollard 1980-2007 | Mentions légales