Debout !

© Agnès Desfosses ADAGP Paris

Intergenerational creation by the ACTA company with the inhabitants of Villiers-le-Bel, under the direction of Agnès Desfosses in November 2010

In close artistic collaboration with : Carole Thibaut, associate author / choreographers Corinne Faure-Grise, Sophie Bulbulyan and the dancers of the DK-Bel company.


For too long, the external view of the communes of the suburbs – and Villiers-le-Bel in particular – 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 Maison des Pratiques Artistiques Amateurs.

The borders become porous…

Agnès Desfosses

© Agnès Desfosses ADAGP Paris


General objective :

  • To bring together people from all neighbourhoods and all generations to participate in the same artistic project
    artistic project that promotes the development of their voice through theatre.
  • To accompany the inhabitants in the modification of their living environment and to untie the word on the
    The aim is to accompany the inhabitants in the modification of their living environment and to untie the word on the upheavals likely to be generated within the framework of urban renewal, but also to give ourselves the means to put forward a vision of the city “from the inside”, in the hope of counterbalancing the changes that are taking place. The aim is to counterbalance the “outside” view of the city given by the press and television since the outbreak of violence in the city in November 2007, after the death of two young Beauvilliers.
  • 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 inhabitants’ view of their town and their sensitivities, their imagination during the final performances.

Content :

The theatre is a place of transformation; a place where we distance ourselves from our realities while being inspired to stage them.
To be as close as possible to what interests each of us while using a symbolic language.
THE NECESSITY OF WORDS: ROTATE SILENCE and GIVE VOICE to encourage each person’s creativity by building on their baggage. Relationships with space, the body, the voice, others and oneself, the text and improvisation.

In order to untie the word, 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 has been associated with two other artistic languages: photography and dance, since May 2010, with a joint work with the DK-Bel Company directed by Sophie Bulbuyan and Corinne Faure-Grise.

© Agnès Desfosses ADAGP Paris

Context :

In the summer of 2009, the Compagnie ACTA 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 the ACTA Company 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.

© Agnès Desfosses ADAGP Paris

Production :

ACTA Company approved by DRAC Ile-de-France – Ministry of Culture, Conseil Général du Val d’Oise, Ville de Villiers-le-Bel.
With the support of the Conseil Régional d’Ile-de-France as part of a permanent artistic agreement.

Partners in the 2012 revival:

Maison des Pratiques Artistiques Amateurs de Paris / Etablissement culturel de la ville de Paris, Compagnie DK-Bel, Maisons de Quartier de la Ville de Villiers-le-Bel, Ville de Villiers-le-Bel, SDAT de la DRAC Ile-de-France

Partners of the creation in 2010 :

City of Villiers-le-Bel, Politique de la Ville, Plan espoir banlieues, Elected officials, City youth actions, Associations including the Compagnie DK-Bel, the Association Apo.G, the Association Influences, the Maisons de Quartier, the Colleges and Primary Schools of the City of Villiers-le-Bel, the Maison de rénovation urbaine