théâtre du Grand marché

1981 to 1987 - Saint-Denis

In 1981 Vollard Theatre discovered Saint Denis’ Grand Marché, where the Drama School stands today, at the time half-occupied by vendors and café-bars. And tramps ! We were rehearsing 100 metres away in a room in the former Town Hall and were looking for somewhere to perform Marie-Dessembre. The following year the town council gave us adjoining premises, a former police station in which we could install our offices and hang our costumes. The wooden theatre occupied different places, sliding between the cast-iron columns and cement stalls. For Nina Ségamour it was in the central corridor where there was enough height for the projectors. There were noisy, cheerful performances that launched the company with an authentic working-class public. With a capacity of 200 seats, we performed plays 15 or 20 times. After a break of several months we started again with improvements and often with a text edition. When a performance was successful we invited theatre programmers and journalists from mainland France. An active and systematic schools policy attracted a whole generation of Saint Denis schoolchildren who are now adults. The "Grand Marché du Theatre" gathering in 1986 assembled all Reunion’s theatre companies. Marie-Dessembre (1981), Le Mariage de Mascarin (1981), Nina Ségamour (1982), Le Triomphe de l’amour (1983), Torouze (1984), Colandie (1985), Le Médecin Volant (1985), Tyé set (1986), Run Rock (1987) were all created here.

video Grand Marché de Saint-Denis - durée 2 mn -


In 1987 despite a formal promise made by the town mayor August Legros, the permanent theatre built at the Grand Marché to accommodate the company was entrusted to others. A conspiracy had effectively united competing companies, right-wing performers and the island’s reactionary groups. The company rebelled. After a struggle lasting several months (petitions, demonstrations, press campaigns, fights with the town hall’s bully boys) the company moved with much publicity to a cinema at La Possession, the "Cinérama". The Grand Marché theatre was given the name "Fourcade" after the author of the folk song "P’tite fleur fanée" ("Little wilted flower"), the management was entrusted to a supply teacher of Spanish whose first cultural event was a clairvoyance festival ! A product of scandal, the Fourcade Theatre was to know no peace. In 1997 it was the home of the regional drama school. At the beginning of the 1990s Vollard theatre had been its pioneer and foreshadowed its opening. The disappointments continued as the school had a first and then a second director from mainland France. Today it is still the regional drama school (CDR), still undergoing a crisis, but has reverted to the name it had while Vollard was there : "Grand Marché Theatre".

Theater’s " big Market" festival

From March 1st -15th 1986 at the Grand Marché there were performances, debates, a conference on the history of theatre in Reunion, with 17 companies, 100 local actors and 3 000 audience members. Jujube, pineapple and ’pinejube’ discount cards were available to lower entry prices, and, after every performance, there was a "drama question" quizzer who put the performer on the spot !

©Théâtre Vollard 1980-2007 | Mentions légales