1991 to 2009 Saint-Denis
Back to Saint Denis in 1990 after the socialist party won the local elections, the theatre settled into the old Jeumont-Schneider forges, an industrial wasteland we’d already looked at during the Grand Marché affair. We wanted to undertake a multidisciplinary experience with the artists of Jeumon Arts Plastiques, the musicians of the association Live (Le Palaxa) and the authors of the comic strip magazine Le Cri Du Margouillat. Our installation took place during the riots of Le Chaudron and for the inauguration we received an impressive crowd ! Its reputation as an ’alternative’ place, a refuge of protests and utopias made it suspect in the eyes of the authorities. The part that was managed by Vollard Theatre included a set workshop, a costume workshop, a warehouse, a music workshop used by Tropicadero, offices, an enormous hall with two stages and mobile tiered seating, a musical cabaret (Ti Bird followed by Kabar Bar), and a courtyard where concerts and festivals could be held.
Constantly hassled by the authorities and the municipality who wanted to reclaim it, the premises deteriorated slowly but never quite expired, and saw a rebirth whenever there were protest cultural events supported by a large public (Mille Bougies, Kabar Zintermittents, Jeumon under the stars, so called because the authorities, the Regional cultural affairs directorate (DRAC) and the town council took the roof off Jeumon and left the construction work unfinished !). In 1998 Vollard theatre was burgled nine times and the premises neglected. The associations were stifled one after another : Live, Jap, Cri du margouillat. By the year 2000 only Vollard - in receivership - and a few artists were left. Gradually the town council’s cultural services started settling in Jeumon. Vollard theatre was progressively dispossessed of its stockrooms, its workshop, and its performance area, closed for security reasons while the DRAC withdrew its permit to sell soft drinks. In 2007 a brand new theatre "La Fabrique" was inaugurated on the other side of the street and entrusted to another government-regulated company. The town council organises concerts, performances and exhibitions at Jeumon at great expense that the public stays away from. It’s possible the premises might become a choreography centre.
"Paintings and graffiti decorate the walls. Signs are fixed to oil-drums. A costume workshop in a group of huts, offices (planks of wood on trestles, shelves and phones, a photocopier) in a two-storey building. Spaces to build and paint sets, to rehearse"