THE CNES, CENTRE NATIONAL DES ÉCRITURES DU SPECTACLE: NATIONAL PLAYWRITING CENTRE
How the CNES has enhanced the missions of the Chartreuse-CIRCA, international centre for research, creation and events
La Chartreuse was the first French model of a Cultural Centre. Started up by Jacques Duhamel and Jacques Rigaud in 1971, La Chartreuse has grown over the years and developed a true philosophy of residencies. Today, it is one of the biggest artists-in residency centres in all of France.
The artistic and residence activity is the basis for the cultural project reasserted since 2014, around the CNES-Nation Playwriting Centre which was created in 1990. La Chartreuse is a former monastery, marked by its cloisters and monks’ cells conducive to silence and reflection, and to rare and precious time in community. It lends itself outstandingly to its current use as a place of residence for authors and artists whose concentration in solitude is as indispensable as is the time devoted to meeting others, to discussion of ideas and disciplines.
This rich combination of missions relates hosting artists, welcoming visitors to the monument, and working with the public to the objectives of promoting the scenic arts and restoration of this outstanding heritage. This makes La Chartreuse a dynamic, innovative venue that is in perpetual movement, where artists find a unique source that stimulates and revitalizes their work.
The National Playwriting Centre
La Chartreuse is a National Playwriting Centre. It proposes residencies that are a special time in work and life, a time that enables exploration, experimentation and new directions in current writing for the stage.
The isolation and concentration required to lead an artistic project to fruition are respected. Residencies are also conducive to enriching each creator’s approach, through different moments such as the first presentation of the work before an audience, access to the library and bookshop resources, relaxed meals among the residents, participation in various activities and in the events that drive the monument: readings, theatre classes, partnerships with the University of Avignon, meetings, European Heritage Days, the architecture festival known as the Fête de l’architecture…
La Chartreuse-CNES national playwriting centre reveals new writing and dramatic art. It accompanies emerging artists from the very conception of their project, organises the first meetings with both professionals and audiences focusing on one stage of work – these are among the challenges La Chartreuse seeks to face. Its action continues to grow and to develop through a network of relations with partners from many different artistic walks – cultural, educational, scientific and other. It also works on various geographical scales – regional, national and European. There are two types of artistic residencies – individual writing residencies in the restored monks’ cells, or group residency with the possibility of staging work in the fully-equipped working spaces such as the former monks’ dining hall transformed into a performance hall, the Procureur’s building which is now a dance studio, and other creative spaces.
Since 2014, every year La Chartreuse has been hosting, accompanying and supporting approximately 30 authors in individual residencies, 30 theatrical or choreographic companies, and a dozen training organisations. All of which associate authors with their creation, writing, research and experimentation processes. The projects most often include a dimension of public performance in various forms, such as the Laboratoires during the Nuits de la Chartreuse, that draws an attentive, devoted public.
The contemporary theatrical writing and production also works with the summer festival at La Chartreuse, known as the Rencontres d’été de la Chartreuse, which takes place simultaneously with the Festival d’Avignon. This close collaboration gives new dimensions to the artistic, cultural and experimental work conducted throughout the year, and gives rise to new forms of writing and theatricality which come to life through direct confrontation with the changing world.
After their emergence at La Chartreuse, these projects go on to public exposure in many different networks: national theatres, national drama centres, leading French theatres, municipal theatres and festivals in and outside of France.