NAC French Theatre

2022-2023 SEASON

Mélanie DUMONT Associate artistic director, Enfance/jeunesse

A theatre at your fingertips

A year and a half ago I wrote you a letter. Like tossing a bottle into the sea. Theatres in every city were closed. We were told to stay home, safe in isolation. On my island I often thought of you, whom I no longer saw. I wondered how you were doing in the midst of this storm ... What was brightening your days, going through your mind ... Whether you sometimes missed going to the theatre ... Of course, I dreamed about it constantly. Especially: to be in a crowded room, full to bursting of children like you, quivering with anticipation. Who knows, maybe you missed that special experience too. Or maybe not. Sometimes the absence of something only hits you once you’ve found it again. You stop thinking about it, you think you’ve forgotten it, and yet it feels great to reconnect with it. A bonfire springs to life in our chests, gently warming us and making our hearts beat a little faster. Obviously, the theatre missed you A LOT. I hope I told you that back then. 

That letter addressed to you was indeed mailed. I was sure it would find you. But it was still urgent. Those words were also meant to be a survival kit—for “in the meantime.” I told myself that you would need those words to take care of your imagination. You had to train your little inner theatre as soon as possible. The most portable stage in the world. The one that follows you everywhere. Of course, the situation demanded it. But you soon learn that no matter what the time or the mood, it’s a useful thing to have at hand. It’s the one that by day shapes your dreams or inspires your games. That expands your imagination. To the point of setting the future and other possible worlds in motion. Remember that this pocket theatre can be used at any time. 

And now? It’s almost two years later. Other storms have arisen. But everywhere, in every city, the theatre doors are open again. The artists are there, full of enthusiasm, eager to welcome you and a host of other children. To light a thousand bonfires. For quite awhile now, I’ve been picturing what a party it will be. Like a huge breath of fresh air. A shimmering hope that chases away the night. The theatre is in full swing for the occasion: it doesn’t hesitate to transform itself, to adjust and adapt. On stage, it unfolds on a grand scale: sometimes it’s a dream machine, an astonishing kaleidoscope of images and music; sometimes it’s a shifting landscape of islands with their heads in the stars. And if you’re lucky, the theatre may be small enough to fit in a box and land in your classroom. Party time, as I was saying. Theatre everywhere, at your fingertips, waiting for you behind a door or wherever you are. It’s time to enjoy it. To fill yourself up with wonderful and unsuspected imaginary things. An infinite number of images, feelings, dream-thoughts, to display and redeploy as you please in the secret confines of your little inner theatre. 

And to watch your bonfire—our bonfires—glow.