Photo credit : Agnès Desfosses ADAGP Paris


Intergenerational creation with the inhabitants of Villiers-le-Bel

all audiences

Creation and direction : Agnès Desfosses

Artistic collaborators : Carole Thibaut – associate author, Corinne Faure-Grise et Sophie Bulbulyan – choreographers, and the dancers of the DK-BEL company

Created in 2010

Photo credit : Agnès Desfosses ADAGP Paris

Production : ACTA, conventioned company: Conseil départemental du Val d’Oise, City of Villiers-le-Bel. ACTA is subsidised by the DRAC Île-de-France through a territory convention, and by the Île-de-France Regional Council through an artistic permanence convention.

Partners of the 2010 creation: City of Villiers-le-Bel, Politique de la ville, Plan espoir banlieues, Elected officials, Youth Actions in the city, Non-profit organisations like the DK-BEL company, the Association Apo.G, the Association Influences, Community Centres, Secondary and primary schools of the city of Villiers-le-Bel, the House of Urban renovation.

Partners of the 2012 production: House of Amateur Artistic Practices of Paris / Cultural Centre of the City of Paris, DK-BEL company, Community Centres of the City of Villiers-le-Bel, the City of Villiers-le-Bel, the DRAC Île-de-France.

For too long, the external view of the communes of the Greater Paris – and in particular Villiers-le-Bel – has not corresponded to what many of the inhabitants experience and feel from the inside.
An intergenerational creation between the inhabitants of Villiers-le-Bel, the companies ACTA and DK-Bel and the author Carole Thibaut.
A year of work in the form of dance, photography, theatre and writing workshops to enhance the sensitivity of each person’s gaze, body and speech.
Created in November 2010 in Villiers-le-Bel on the outskirts of Paris, the show DEBOUT! was invited in November 2012 to its centre by the House of Amateur Practices.
The borders become porous…

Agnès Desfosses


The theatre is a place of transformation; a place where we distance ourselves from our realities and at the same time draw inspiration from them to stage them. To be as close as possible to what interests each of us while using symbolic language.

THE NECESSITY OF WORDS: BREAK SILENCE and GIVE VOICE to encourage each person’s creativity by drawing on their baggage. Relationships to space, to the body, to the voice, to others and to oneself, to text and to improvisation.

In order to make unheard voices heard, the professional artists of the company developed various exercises related to the theme of the city to arrive in a symbolic and metaphorical way at “Villiers-le-Bel fait-elle rêver?” (provisional title, which became “DEBOUT!” upon receipt of the text by Carole Thibaut).

The theatre is associated with two other artistic languages: photography and dance, with a common work carried out with the DK-BEL Company directed by Sophie Bulbuyan and Corinne Faure-Grise.

© Agnès Desfosses ADAGP Paris

This intergenerational project had the following objectives:

  • To bring together residents from all neighbourhoods and all generations to participate in the same artistic project, promoting the use of theatre to highlight their voices;
  • To accompany the inhabitants in the modification of their living environment and make their voices heard on the upheavals likely to be generated within the framework of urban renovation, but also to give the means to put forward a vision of the city “from the inside”, in the hope of counterbalancing the vision “from the outside” given by the press and television since the blaze of fire in the city in November 2007, after the death of the two young men from the city;
  • To create a space where the three generations can listen to each other, get to know each other and meet through live performances;
  • To highlight the way in which the inhabitants look at their town and their sensitivities and imaginations during the final performances.
© Agnès Desfosses ADAGP Paris


In the summer of 2009, the ACTA company moved to new premises in Villiers-le-Bel. Agnès Desfosses wanted to open them to the inhabitants. Indeed, we noticed that although artistic education has developed strongly at school level, few theatre workshops were taking place in Villiers-le-Bel outside of school time. In addition, since 2007, we have wanted to create on the theme of the “CITY”.

In the context of this project, the company based its approach on the testimonies of the inhabitants of Villiers-le-Bel, past and present, collected by ACTA and the Influences association, as well as on texts by authors. Then, the company called on Carole Thibaut, associate author, to lead writing workshops inspired by the participants’ improvisations in order to also write on her own on the theme of the town with a view to the show planned for November 2010.

Knowing that many inhabitants, like us, wanted to promote a better image of our town: Villiers-le-Bel, Agnès Desfosses wanted to highlight the abilities of each person and their initiatives through theatre and the photo project “Breaking the anonymity”. The idea was to invite them to express themselves through several artistic languages about their city. In order to create a synergy between inhabitants of all generations, workshops took place in different districts of the city during the 2009-2010 season and until autumn 2010.

In this process, the ACTA company worked with several structures in the different neighbourhoods of the city, notably in the framework of the photo project “Breaking the anonymity”: work with the neighbourhood houses, the leisure centre and the Léon Blum college. Starting with Villiers-le-Bel, as the work progressed, the theme was extended to the city, and more particularly to the suburban city.