Culture for All, Public Theater, Private Theater, the French Rules of the Game
Keywords:public theater, popular theater, private theater, subsidized theatre, Festival d'Avignon IN, Festival d'Avignon OFF, intermittents du spectacle, cultural policy
The theater has always been a privileged partner of the political Power, to be protected and/or monitored, depending on each type of society. In France, the idea of having the arts and culture supported by the State had already germinated at the dawn of the French Revolution, but it was necessary to wait until the end of the 19th century to witness a real awareness and a new distribution of “roles” between institutionalization and democratization. After a quick historical review, following in the footsteps of André Malraux, Jean Vilar or Jack Lang, until today, we can identify the principles of a cultural policy, shared between the State and the local authorities. An important particularity of this system is that this policy integrates, to different degrees, the public and private sectors. More concretely, we define what the French theatrical system is made of both public and private, and in the latter, which is more fragile and relatively uncontrollable, we recall the situation of the socalled “intermittents du spectacle” and their permanent struggle to consolidate or wrest their rights. A representative case is thus the confrontation between the two branches of the Festival d'Avignon, the IN and the OFF, at the turn of the health crisis, from which the theater has managed to emerge alive.
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