After graduating in literature from the University of Paris Sorbonne, he continued his training as a dancer with Dominique Dupuis and as a singer with Iva Barthélemy in Paris and the Roy Hart. In 1980 he co-founded with Pierangela Allegro, a visual artist, and Michel Sambin, a musician/video artist, TAM Teatromusica, one of the 25 experimental theatre companies subsidised by the Italian Ministry of Culture.
He became the artistic director of ACTA in 2014
“Sons… Jardins Secrets” and “A vos saveurs”: two sound and visual creations, constructed as a diptych. In the delicate period we are going through, live performance is more than ever a privileged moment for sharing emotions, for defending the right of everyone – and of children in particular – to imagination and poetry… and to pleasure. This diptych will question two forms in which two modalities of sharing with the “landscapes” of our daily life are questioned, two paths of reverie around sensorial experiences, of relationship to space and to the other, anchored in the pleasures of exchanges or games, but also of memories – those evoked by the garden and the meal – two places of “sharing” par excellence, archetypes of life that cross every culture.
“Sons… Jardins Secrets” – March 2017 – Created by Laurent Dupont. A sound and visual show, for all audiences from 4 years old. Specific support for the cultural action project on the territory: the DRAC-Ile-de-France-SDAT, the Fondation des Aéroports de Paris, the Commissariat général à l’Egalité des territoires GET, the Ville de Villiers-le-Bel. Support for creation: Très-tôt-Théâtre-Quimper. Coproduction: Ville de Villiers-le-Bel, La Briqueterie-MLC de Montmorency. Support for creation from SPEDIDAM.
“A vos saveurs” – February 2019 – Creation by Laurent Dupont in collaboration with the composer Karl Naegelen. An Opéra Bouffe: a visual and sound appetizer.
“Là… Pas là!” – November 2020 – Sound and visual poetry – Dance and visual arts. A game of presence and absence, in this delicate “in-between” where, to make up for the lack, the adult and the child invent games through which they discover the necessity of separating themselves in order to better find each other: “I know that you are there… even if I don’t see you…”
“Dans les yeux des autres” – January 2016 – Creation by Laurent Dupont inspired by the myth of Antigone for all audiences from 12 years old. Dance, Voice and Music creation. In the continuity of the opening launched in the direction of teenagers with the show “En Corps (E)crits”, Laurent Dupont continues his clearing towards this so specific public. Co-production with the City of Villiers-le-Bel, supported by SPEDIDAM. Project supported by the ADDA 82 in collaboration with the Jean Jaurès secondary school in Montauban.
« L’avoir ! » Ode chantée au savon – November-December 2014 – A show by Laurent Dupont. Musical and visual creation for toddlers and those who accompany them… Coproduction Nova Villa – Festival Méli’Môme – Project supported by the Conseil Général de Seine Saint-Denis
“A CORPS ET A CRIS” A three-year project for 2011-2013 – This project by Laurent Dupont with the Cie ACTA is part of a reflection that mirrors two fundamental “passages” for the construction of a person: early childhood and adolescence.
“En corps (E)crits” – November 2013 – A show by Laurent Dupont – In artistic collaboration with David Liver – Cie ACTA. From 11 years old. Project supported by the Scène conventionnée Jeunes publics Très-tôt-Théâtre (Quimper), the Centre Annantalo of Helsinki (Finland) and the Forum, scène conventionnée de Blanc-Mesnil.
“En corps” – March 2012 – Creation by Laurent Dupont, a production by Cie ACTA – For all audiences from 4 years old. This show is touring extensively in France and abroad. With the help of the Communauté de Communes Sud Pays Basque.
“Moi Seul” – 2009 – Created by Laurent Dupont in collaboration with Agnès Desfosses – co-production with the Compagnie Acta, the towns of Villiers-le-Bel and Saint Julien en Genevois, a project supported by the Communauté de Communes du Pays de Questembert and the ADDAV 56. This show has toured well in France and abroad and reached about 400 performances in 2012.
“Spiel der Kräfte” (Games of Strength) – 2009 – in co-production with Helios Theater and the TJP in Strasbourg.
“Plis/Sons” (March 2005) Glittebird Culture 2000, “Pierre au Bois de Terre” (2006) First Steps Festival-Helios Theater-DE, “Du Bout des Bois” (2007) with the help of the Conseil Général 78, “Pas Sages” (2008) with the Cie de l’Ecoutoir – co-production Scène Nationale de Montbéliard. These four creations by Laurent Dupont were co-produced by the Association Amalys.
Since 1989, he has written and directed musical theatre pieces that favour visual and sound composition around the voice in his stage writing, which have been co-produced in Germany, Australia, Finland, France and Italy.
Among these creations we recall “Le Banquet de la Mandibule” Frac Théâtre, “Koïra Veikon”, Annantalo Center Helsinki, “Piccoli Misteri” Teatro Kismet Italy.
Among the numerous creations of the TAM in which he participated as author/actor we recall: “Répertoire” (1981) by the composer Mauricio Kagel, “Children’s Corner” (1989) after Claude Debussy, in co-production with il Teatro Alla Scala of Milan, “Ages” (1999) by Bruno Maderna, in co-production with the Istituto di Fonologia of Milan, presented at the Festival d’Automne in Paris.
Partnership with other artists / artistic collaborations
The production of Laurent Dupont’s shows is very often preceded by artistic residencies around the issues raised by stage writing. They are articulated through European/international artistic projects or in partnership with creative venues or cities. They are an opportunity to collaborate with artists.
They are accompanied by training courses. They encourage encounters with a wide range of audiences: young children, teenagers, adults.
In 2016, Laurent Dupont collaborated on the project “Ceci n’est pas un livre” by Karel Van Rasbeeck, Theater De Spiegel and “Ce qui nous vient de loin, c’est la curiosité pour le monde” by Kathy Deville, Théâtre de Cuisine.
Since 2014, Laurent Dupont has been called upon for his expertise and his outside viewpoint by artists who create for young children or young audiences: the Compagnie Soleil sous la pluie with Catherine Gendre (77), the Compagnie Charabia (44) with Mathilde Lechat, the Association 16 rue de Plaisance (35) with Benoît Sicat, the Cie Lagunarte (64) with Kristof Hiriat
These collaborations are accompanied by periods of residency in ACTA’s premises in Ile-de-France.
Since 2010 – Artistic collaborations having developed between Laurent Dupont and Agnès Desfosses, in 2010, the Compagnie ACTA-Agnès Desfosses is renamed: Compagnie ACTA – Associated artists: Agnès Desfosses, Laurent Dupont.
2009 – He is in artistic residence in Villiers-le-Bel with the Cie ACTA-Agnès Desfosses for the creation of “Moi Seul”.
2009 – He directed “Spiel der Kräfte” with the Helios Theater Company of Hamm (DE) in production with the TJP Strasbourg.
2005/2007 – Artistic residencies in Finland with the Annantalo Arts Center and the actors of the Helsinki Theatre Academy “Koira Viekon”. Writing workshops with the Office culturel Sevran, Très tôt Théâtre de Quimper and Théâtre Paul Eluard de Choisy le Roi for the production of “Du Bout des Bois” with the help of the Conseil Général 78 in co-production with the Association Amalys / La ferme du Bel Ebat- Guyancourt.
End 2003/2005 – He is artistic director of an artistic project ” Clair /obscur “ in partnership with the City of Chalon-sur-Saône and the European project ” Glittebird ” Culture 2000 : creation of ” Plis/Sons “ March 2005.
2002/2003 – He is the artistic director of a theatrical project ” Broken Spaces “ subsidized by Europe Culture 2000 and realized in collaboration with TeatroKismet, Théâtre Athénor, Nottingham Play house (UK) and Cie Parallelo from Adelaide in Australia : creation for all public of ” In the Time of Distance “ a multimedia live performance August 2003 – Adelaide Australia.
2003 – Artistic residency in Rethel in co-production with the Mélimôme festival – Reims, the Champagne Ardennes Region and the TAM Teatromusica (Italy): creation of ” Al di LA “ – Reims – April 2003
He is on the board of Scène(s) d’enfance et d’ailleurs, now Scène d’enfance – ASSITEJ France, an association of professionals in the field of performing arts for young audiences.
In 2009 he was part of the steering committee for a study by the Ministry of Culture and Communication/DMDTS and Scène(s) d’enfance et d’ailleurs, a national association of performing arts professionals working with young audiences, “Photograph of a fragile dynamic – Study on the conditions of production and distribution of shows for young audiences in France – 2006/2008 seasons”.
Since 2008 he has been participating as a trainer in a national professional cycle organised by La Scène Formations, in particular a training course on the development of projects for young audiences.
In 2007 he directed a training course in the form of an exchange project for young actors, with the support of the OFQJ (Office Franco-Québecois pour la jeunesse), in partnership with the Mélimôme festival – Reims – and the Petits Bonheurs festival – Montreal.
In the 1990s he taught music on stage at the CFMI of the Faculté d’Orsay.
A european and international dimension
Co-director of the PREMIERES RENCONTRES “Art, petite enfance et spectacle vivant”, a European biennial event in the Val d’Oise, and programmer, he invites international speakers from the world of culture and early childhood for two days of debates and conferences as part of the Forum.
At the request of the German partner “ARMES THEATER”, a German version of the show “Moi Seul” directed by Laurent Dupont is produced. In July 2011, a period of rehearsal/passage with the German artistic team took place with the aim of producing a German version of “Ich Allein” of Moi Seul. “Ich Allein” will tour Germany from the end of August 2011.
He took part in the symposium / report: “Early childhood performances? A European reality” (2009/2010) organised in the framework of Scènes d’Europe, in partnership with Onda, Orcca and Nova Villa, on the subject of European creation for young children, led by Cyrille Planson, editor-in-chief of the magazine La Scène.
In 2009, he directed “Spiel der Kräfte” with the Helios Theater Company of Hamm (DE); He toured the show “Pierre au Bois de Terre” in Great Britain: November 2006 at the Polka Theatre (partner of “Small size – the net”), May 2007: Sticky fingers Festival, in Newry, Ireland.
He participated in a project for young audiences in Birmingham (BBC press article) (2005) and has privileged contacts there: Peter Wynne-Willson – Birmingham School of Acting.
He is the artistic director of an artistic project ” Clair /obscur ” (end 2003-2005) in partnership with the City of Chalon-sur-Saône and the European project ” Glittebird “ Culture 2000 : creation of ” Plis/Sons “, a show by Laurent Dupont in March 2005.
In 2002/2003, he was the artistic director of a European theatrical project “Broken Spaces” subsidised by Europe Culture 2000 and carried out in collaboration with TeatroKismet, Théâtre Athénor, Nottingham Play house (UK) and the Parallelo Company of Adelaide in Australia: creation for the general public of “In the Time of Distance”, a multimedia live performance in August 2003 – Adelaide Australia.
He organizes artistic residencies in Finland with the Annantalo Arts Center and the actors of the Helsinki-Finnish Theatre Academy “Koira Viekon”.
“My subject is the intimate, the way in which the artist is questioned by early childhood and how this encounter questions his know-how.
My artistic path originated in dance and voice, and I very quickly confronted other artists, identifying at the intersection of the different languages that make up our research (plastic arts, dance, theatre, digital arts, etc.) the fundamental principles that associate them (momentum, fall, thrust, suspension, silence), whether it be a sound, pictorial or vocal gesture. My research has thus continued at the intersection of different languages where sound, gesture and matter do not describe “states of mind” but seek to provoke them within a synthesis, a composition that closely blends music with play, the sound object with the body, sound with poetic speech. Between aesthetic rigour and brief narrative arcs, this scenic writing intends to offer itself to diversified readings, where the interpretation remains open to the sensitivity of each person, where the spectator is invited to become the author of his own vision while respecting his emotions.
During the 1990s, enlightened cultural professionals and true activists, pioneering festivals (Ricochets, Méli môme, Résonances) dared to question artists about creation for the very young, inviting us to follow the sensitive traces of this imagination and affirming them as full-fledged spectators. This provoked tensions between defenders and critics of this art form and allowed us to question our know-how: what artistic gesture would be strong enough to open up the garden of the imagination of the youngest children and lead them into the in-between world of reverie: that of performance?
I then embarked on a vocal exploration with them, to question my performance and discover their listening skills. I found in this search for the fundamentals for the very young the quest for a different language, a different form of communication, a field of experimentation without limits. Above all, I discovered this sharing between the adult and the toddler, this double address, questioning new paths in my theatrical research and in my writing principles.
On the strength of this encounter, I began to listen to the toddler’s ability to communicate, below the level of language, through its sound expressions – babbling, gestures – and their modulations. I let myself be guided by my intuitions, without any certainty, in the present risk. I share with young children this capacity to venture into the unknown with extreme fear mixed with great curiosity. I also listen to this “land of origin”, the place of the founding emotions of this being in the making. These forces that already agitate it are at the heart of our identity. Between my vision of the world and the perception of the toddler, a horizontal communication is engaged, from being to being: a shared pleasure, an aesthetic pleasure: being in resonance. Through its multiple intentions, it condenses a life experience where touching, moving, reaching… Where sensations meet, where an inner experience and an external view meet. Where the artist questions the world and the child discovers it… A meeting between two imaginations.
It is through the materials in which my emotions are anchored and from which I model a writing, that a possible encounter with the sensory and perceptive universe of the child is opened up, tactile material (sand, earth, tissue paper), sound, vocal and phonic material, shadow and light. In the still virgin space, these actions generate a play of traces, a play of the senses, echoing those of the child. The toddler questions the time of the narrative. His attention and his ways of apprehending the world are like the principles that make up the framework of my compositions: variation, repetition, the amplitude of gestures and sounds, rhythm, suspension, silence: principles of play that mirror those of the child.
The toddler questions the space and the scenic devices, it upsets the distances, it questions the proximity, it modifies the modes of play and the resonance of the interpreter with this so particular breath of its listening. Each creation is an invitation for a walk in the secret gardens of my emotion, a walk to trace a possible path in this elsewhere of which I am the bearer of images, through analogies and metaphors, images tinted by the meteorology of relationships, at the heart of the discovery of the other or of its loss.
Thus, during my stays in day care centres, I was very impressed by the daily separation of parent and child, a moment rich in emotions. We discussed, between adults, these encounters, the “happiness of”, the “pain of”, the “loss of”. This marked the beginning of a recent creation that I shared with a male and female dancer. Our show, entitled “Là Pas… Là!”, is about loss. Loss is terrifying, but it is always possible to come out of it… In the middle of the performance, the room is plunged into darkness and the artists wait as long as possible, turning on the lights only when they can’t wait any longer. In the middle of the performance, the room is plunged into darkness and the performers wait as long as possible, turning on the lights only when they can’t wait any longer. Something very strong is created between the audience of adults and children and the performers. In this in-between time, what is fundamental is this trust, this listening, this waiting, which allows us to go further in the emotion and to share it.
At the end of the show, when the curtain comes down, a reverie settles in like a necessary breath in this barely experienced in-between time with the establishment of a very strong silence, that of the aftermath: everything has been laid down, everything has been offered, everything can finally settle down. A necessary breath for the traces to finish their impression. A suspension, before leaving this barely glimpsed “elsewhere”. It is in these games of relationships that a common memory is woven between artists and spectators, young and old, to discover the other and his or her difference. This is what we try to offer them
Over the years, through the co-direction with the director Agnès Desfosses who created the company ACTA, and in the pursuit of her cultural and artistic commitments, my research inspired by early childhood has been able to develop thanks to experimental approaches anchored in her territory of residence in Villiers-le-Bel
These approaches, which have a strong societal impact, are part of a long-term process, for the implementation of practices and exchanges. These experimental processes can be carried out thanks to the moral and financial support of the elected representatives of Villiers-le-Bel and our supervisory bodies (DRAC, CGET, Val d’Oise General Council and Regional Council). These actions are carried out in the context of transversal partnerships and co-construction between artists, early childhood professionals, parents and children. They are part of the time of the relationship. In this context of close exchange, everyone becomes involved. These actions allow modes of communication to flourish, often favouring emotion as the link with language. They constitute a real crossroads of ideas and sensations to question, together, the creativity of each person – child, parent, artist and professional. They allow us to question the place of early childhood, the place of art in families coming from other countries, their cultural imaginary, in a spirit of openness, to create bridges between culture and art from here and there. They encourage a creative spirit, each time questioning the place occupied by parents as cultural initiators for their children. It is in dialogue, sharing and emotion that everything happens. They trigger a different attitude and a spirit of openness, valuing all skills and practices. This is what we call the encounter. These cultural actions have this ability to allow us to be in touch with our world, to know it, to listen to it, and then to put it on stage. They have the marvellous power to mediate, and become an act of knowledge and recognition, the encounter of an otherness that opens the field of the other. Art becomes a lever to facilitate the cohabitation and the meeting of the many communities in a space of relations in full mutation. In this perspective, the development of these artistic actions is essential to cultivate the social link.
The creation of the European biennial “Les Premières Rencontres” in 2002 was the natural extension of this sharing approach. For three to four weeks, we offer a programme of French and international performances in several venues in Villiers le Bel and in some fifteen partner municipalities in the surrounding area. The two days of the International Forum, which brings together artists, researchers and early childhood professionals, are now a worldwide meeting place for early childhood professionals, as well as a cultural landmark for the region.
All these exchanges and encounters have allowed me to reexamine my writing. They allow art to be reaffirmed in its different forms of expression and to be cultivated from the earliest childhood, to limit the insufficiency of educational projects based on rational paths, through which children internalise the world. These terrible questions, the very youngest children ask them through their eyes and their curiosity about the world, with a strength of mind that can only make us dizzy. Our urgency is to ask them, in the most serious way possible, through a fragile, flexible, visionary and risky way of thinking, without having the arrogance to be able to give them an answer, but simply to try to give them a place of existence in our daily life.”
Laurent Dupont – Artistic director and stage director