CULTURE. Maël Le Goff loses the direction of the Théâtre de l’Aire Libre

The mayor of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande has decided: the Center for the Production of Contemporary Words (CPPC) will no longer be in charge of the programming of the Théâtre de l’Aire Libre. Another artistic project was preferred to him (that of the “beautiful collective” in charge of the Théâtre de Poche in Hédé-Bazouges). A decision that follows many issues relating to the management of the CPPC.

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Change at the head of the Théâtre de l’Aire Libre! After ten years of practice within the cultural establishment of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, Maël le Goff, its director, will have to pack his bags. The town hall of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande has indeed decided to entrust the delegation of the public service to another structure: the pretty collective.

“We were seduced by Pretty Collective’s candidacy, because it responded to our policy in terms of cultural action and artistic training” justifies Marie Ducamin, the mayor of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande in a press conference this Thursday afternoon. “The nice collective also offers a very diverse, broad and ambitious programme.”

The elected official said she had received three submissions, including one from the Center for Contemporary Word Production, the CPPC which has occupied the post since 2012. “He could have gone ahead with him, but this is the ‘game’ of nominations…” replies the town councilor who insists that quotation marks enclose the term “game”.

Why not continue with the CPPC which had already chained two “DSPs” (ed: public service delegations) between 2014-2018 and then 2018-2022? The question arises all the more since there has been a lot of talk about the structure in recent months…

In the city council, the management of Aire Libre has repeatedly been the subject of debate. A management, which was also particularly singled out, in July 2021, by the Court of Auditors of Brittany. The regional chamber of the Court of Auditors had published a report highlighting the risk of conflicts of interest, as well as excessive spending by the association that manages the Mythos festival, the MeM and the Théâtre de l’Aire Libre.

When asked whether the controversy following the publication of this report weighed on his decision-making process, the mayor of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande evades: “Anyway, the public service delegation ended in 2022, so it had to be renewed.” He adds that the offer proposed by the CPPC was “Interesting and meeting our specifications. We could have chosen you, but another candidate came forward with a better offer. It was an opportunity we couldn’t refuse.”

Mayor Jacolandine says he knows about it “the period is difficult for the CPPC.” She continues: “There is no doubt about what they have done, they have developed the theater that today is well identified and well identified. And we thank them for that. We know that they are important actors in cultural sites for the metropolis, for the department, for the region and also at the national level.

Journalists insist: so there is no link between your decision and the management of the CPPC reported by the Court of Auditors? Marie Ducamin explains: “As regards their management, it is true that there is an important rigor which is essential and which is not always easy to understand. The flow of subsidies must be extremely well punctuated. nice collective from this point of view too, it was very solid” replies the mayor

At his side, the lucky ones selected do not hold back: “We will work continuouslyexplains Jenny Dodge, one of the nice collective members.

The beautiful collective is not unknown in the cultural country of Rennes. It is he who has been directing the Théâtre de Poche in Hédé-Bazouges for thirteen years. A festival of which he will have to leave the direction: “We don’t hoard” the three representatives present at the press conference specify in chorus. “We work to leave the structure as a legacy” completes Vincent Collet, who specifies that there is a “multi-year collective agreement (CPO)”: ten employees work there for the moment, half should remain.

Regarding their project for the Aire Libre of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande: “The idea today is to be able to develop the project of the beautiful collective as it exists in Hédé-Bazouges” explains Jenny Lodge. “Each story is meant to evolve, to renew itself. We want to be careful to maintain the quality of the project they have been carrying out so far. We will write another story, but we will go slowly, we cannot break but rather in an extension.”

One thing is certain: the new delegate arrives in Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande at the beginning of January. The season, as scheduled by the CPPC, continues into the summer. The future of the eight and a half employees currently working at Aire Libre will therefore be clearer in the coming months, as will the planning for the 2023/2024 season. It proves that the beautiful collective wants even more accessible. This should go through a new pricing policy.

What will become of the CPPC? The association suddenly loses one of its three pillars. The other two: will the MeM and the Mythos festival be indirectly affected by the Jacolandine decision? As of this writing, no members of management have responded to our inquiries.

The proposal of the gracious collective, accepted by the mayor of St-Jacques-de-la-Lande, will be presented and proposed on December 12 to the city council.

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