ACTA (Association de Création Théâtrale et Audiovisuelle) creates and broadcasts shows for all audiences in France and abroad. It provokes the meeting of different artistic languages (song, dance, acrobatics, texts of contemporary authors, photographs) in the scenic space.
Small forms, street events, or scenographic and/or sound exhibitions are just the multiple forms of expression of a research around our contemporary world. The arts of representation allow us to be in touch with our world today, to know it, to listen to it, and then to stage it. The performance has the wonderful power of being a mediator. It becomes an act of knowledge and recognition.
During its years of existence, ACTA has addressed all ages of life. Several of its past or current creations are dedicated to young and very young spectators. ACTA has created on the theme of the pleasure of growing up and walking with “Sous la table”, “Ooh so rond” and “reNaissances”, the pleasure of looking with “Le jardin des chimères” and “¡ Mira! le pays des reflets” etc…. The creations “Moi seul” (March 2009), which questions the theme of siblings, and “En Corps” (March 2012), directed by Laurent Dupont with the artistic collaboration of Agnès Desfosses, have toured extensively in France and abroad.
Since 2014, Laurent Dupont is the director of the ACTA Company, when he created “L’Avoir ! Ode chantée au savon” (November 2014), a sound and visual show for children from 18 months, then “Dans les yeux des autres” (January 2015), a creation of dance, voice and music for all audiences from 12 years. After there was “Sons… Jardins Secrets”, sound and visual show for all audiences from 4 years old realized in March 2017. He immediately launched into his new creation, “A vos saveurs”, a sound and visual opera-bouffe, created in February 2019. Since then and despite the pandemic context that appeared in 2020, ACTA continues to create and to go out to meet audiences by offering its shows or by reinventing ways of collaborating and reaching out to populations, notably through its latest dyptic “Là… Pas là!” (creation November 2020) and “L’autre de moi” (creation 2022) which resonates with the themes of presence and absence, the games we invent to compensate, parenthood, interculturality, lullabies, nursery rhymes and oral tradition…
The ACTA Company: a dynamic and a strategy of artistic creations anchored in territorial networks
….Transmitting gives roots to life, breaks with the unspoken and makes happy those who act in this sense, as well as those who receive what is transmitted.Agnès Desfosses, metteuse en scène et photographe, fondatrice de la Cie ACTA
A company fed by its territory
The ACTA Company – Association for the Theatrical and Audiovisual Creation (Associated artists: Agnès Desfosses-Laurent Dupont), is a Company creating shows for young public and very young public engaged since many years in its territory of residence the city of Villiers-le-Bel.
The socio-cultural specificities of the city make it a rich and constantly evolving territory: located in the north of Paris, near Charles de Gaulle Airport, Villiers-le-Bel is a city of passage, where numerous communities with multiple cultural origins cohabit in a fragmented space, where the human and cultural dimension is taken into account, where encounters and exchanges are essential. These contributions linked to the different historical movements of the city are sources of observation, questioning, but also of enrichment for the work of our company, which wants to be attentive to the inhabitants who compose it and nourish it with their varied cultural heritages.
The ACTA company thus continually affirms the commitments and artistic motivations that preside over all its creations:
- The interest for popular cultures, whatever their origins, and the consideration of their transformations.
- The address to a large public, from the youngest to the oldest, initiated or not, to ensure the accessibility to the culture of the greatest number, with the will to support the inhabitants in the feeling of a legitimacy for their participation
- A particular attention on the address made to the spectators and to the themes approached and chosen for each creation
- The development of a local network mobilizing various partners from different sectors, brought together by the issue of early childhood, around artistic and cultural proposals. These are then built in collaboration with the project leaders and the elected officials involved in the city’s policy, associating – depending on the project – different local authorities, such as the cultural network, the educational and social network, the early childhood structures, schools and colleges, day-care centers, as well as the neighborhood centers and various associations
An artistic orientation that places the parent/child relationship at the heart of our work and artists who are sensitive to the artistic awakening of young children
Listening to its territory, to its specificity and its complexity, the Cie ACTA questioned very early the importance of developing projects of creations in direction of toddlers and the adults accompanying them, associated with cultural and artistic actions
The experimental approaches then set up are based on a certain number of objectives, namely :
- To share workshops with all the multi-generational and cultural actors concerned: children, parents, and professionals of early childhood and culture, to share together an artistic practice, for collective and individual reelaborations.
- To include parenthood in the cultural and artistic awakening of the child around rich and fruitful issues, creating relationships and endowed with a cultural strength.
- To take into account micro-cultures, for a better social integration of the children via the respect and the sharing of these in order to envisage concrete, solid and durable bonds between families of various origins and the structures receiving them.
- Breaking the isolation of parents from the beginning of their parental function, promoting intercultural exchange and the enhancement of their heritage but also allowing intergenerational sharing of experiences, perceptions and emotions: dare to say, dare to do, promote living together through art and culture and above all, strengthen the social link.
- To question, enrich, favor and encourage the cultural awakening of young children within early childhood structures and to encourage their creativity and imagination.
- To integrate artists – involved from the first phases of the production of the shows – in these meetings, so that they can listen, be inspired by these exchanges, question their know-how, to commit themselves fully. In the scenic writings and their poetics are thus expressed the complex, contradictory and ambivalent feelings; of these shared relationships: love, benevolence, transmission but also sensitivity to the themes of abandonment, loneliness that sometimes express themselves…
These projects are built in partnership with all the places of meeting parents-adults close – children and professionals of the early childhood of the city – social centers, hosting places Parents-Children (LAEP), nurseries, halte-jeux – for many years with a will of constant to integrate, to include new partners there.
Regularly, participants are invited and solicited to discover artistic forms presented during open rehearsals at the headquarters of the Company ACTA, within the framework of the device “Pépite” (pole of accompaniment creation young public) supported by the DRAC IDF but also during the stages of realization of each new creation in direct bond with the developed topics. Everyone can thus apprehend the centrality of representations, and the global coherence of the various activities of these cultural actions.
The main objective is to be together at the heart of this journey to share around emotions, the imagination, where everyone can find its place.
Each step of the different projects conducted by ACTA (workshops, open rehearsals, restitutions …) is part of a communication strategy followed by the team – recordings, photos, short video montages: as many testimonies, presented in the different places involved for the large public of the city that frequents them, but also disseminated on the social networks of ACTA to inform more widely on the progress of the project.
Also, the work of mobilizing the public is undertaken from the creation stages of the project to allow each partner and public concerned to feel legitimate in the decision making and participation.
A solid and consistent methodology and work organization model from one project to the next
ACTA works on the issue of artistic awakening with a certain continuity according to the projects that are articulated around the same operation. Namely:
- The study of the relationship to the intimate: this is manifested by an attention to the consequences, in the intimacy of each, of historical, sociological, economic or urban facts, but also to the impacts of events that have been able to modify the City in depth (2007 ). The art of the theatrical representation allows us to pass on what is said from the intimacy or the small circle of family or friends, to the collective scale;
- The opening between several artistic languages: This opening is necessary in the scenic space to serve with relevance the subjects approached. Each language, technique, movement, artistic sector, presents its own aptitudes in the stimulation of the creative, curious, sensitive and critical spirit of the toddler: their pooling allows a multiplication of these tools and these effects on the child during the various artistic projects (workshops, shows, meetings)
- The involvement of a solid and varied artistic team that is permanently open: in fact, ACTA functions on the model of a team to which new artists are integrated according to the creations, thus nourishing the knowledge of each other through continuous meetings between artists.
- The opening towards other territories: This is concretized by the development of meetings and artistic collaborations in France and in Europe. The company’s activities are part of European artistic networks (Gruntvig Project-2010-12 and Erasmus+ Projects 2018-20 and 2020-22). The sharing of innovative practices in the field of joint training between artists and educators is reinforced by regular meetings between teams, on the occasion of European festivals. The festival “Les Premières Rencontres – European biennial in Val-d’Oise and Seine-et-Marne, early childhood artistic awakening and live performance“, created by ACTA in 2002, is among the most important of these federating events.
 In the fall of 2007, the city of Villiers le Bel was the scene of major urban riots, following the death of two teenagers in an accident with a police vehicle.
A conventioned company
These supports are essential to build long-term projects in the region.
Located in Villiers-le-Bel for 25 years, ACTA is conventioned since 2001 by the DRAC Ile-de-France, the Departmental Council of Val-d’Oise and its city of residence, Villiers-le-Bel, for periods of 3 years renewable, thanks to the artistic quality of its creations.
It also benefits from a convention of “artistic permanenc”e with the Regional Council of Ile-de-France since 2008.
With such a long term agreement, ACTA can project itself into the future and build long term projects such as the European biennial in Val-d’Oise: PREMIERES RENCONTRES – Art, Early Childhood and Performing Arts; to have a territorial anchorage, to work in partnership and to build cultural and artistic projects with local partners (departmental, Ile-de-France) in connection with the inhabitants.
According to the projects carried out by ACTA, other supports intervene for a development of the cultural actions on the territory: the DRAC – SDAT, the Regional Council Ile-de-France for the European actions carried out in the department, the community of agglomerations Val-de-France, the ACSE.
Other partners are federated in order to mobilize the public and means: the services of the city (cultural services, early childhood, youth), social centers, professional high schools and colleges of the city, leisure center, nursery schools and elementary school of the city, day care centers, parent/child places, other local associations (DK-BEL, Apo -G, Imaj..) and inhabitants.
Cultural actions related to creation
ACTA is aware of the assets and potentialities of Villiers-le-Bel (95): the human and cultural dimension, the characteristics, the cohabitation of many communities in an urban space in full mutation and restructuring, are taken into account.
It is also attentive to the impact of recent events that have profoundly changed the city: ACTA develops action projects in terms of research and artistic innovations, involving artists, residents and professionals of Villiers-le-Bel, of Val d’Oise and of the Ile-de-France Region, but also in the conquest of new audiences.
Within the framework of its creations, ACTA conducts different types of workshops for all ages, mixing theater, speech and writing, photography and digital arts, dance, music, notably promoting intergenerational relations. The link with the public is an integral part of the company’s project and it is for this reason that it constantly strives to work with all local partners. It is essential that cultural and artistic actions are developed to cultivate social ties and encourage creativity. The inhabitants are in demand!
Thus, on the occasion of the 2016 creation for teenagers, Dans les yeux des autres, the company is opening up to new partnerships with two college classes and a group outside of school hours by setting up long-term workshops, over nearly two years. The beneficiaries thus have the chance to follow a rewarding, long-term project and to take it outside. Indeed, these young Val-d’Oisiens participated in the event “Avignon 2015 enfants à l’honneur” organized by Scène d’Enfance et d’Ailleurs as part of the Belle Saison for children and youth. In parallel, these workshops were brought to cross other workshops with adult residents, to create links (inter-neighborhood relations, intergenerational crossings), as part of the realization of the show “Dans les yeux des autres”, creation January 2016.
Since January 2016, workshops have been held as part of the cultural action “Sons… Jardins secrets” which precedes the show of the same name in March 2017. This federative approach is part of the long term and promotes social ties and living together. The project is intended for a very large and intergenerational public through actions and workshops in the city of Villiers-le-Bel, in leisure centers and with garden associations, structures related to shared and family gardens.
Organizer of a European biennial in Val d’Oise and Seine-et-Marne : PREMIERES RENCONTRES
This research in direction of early childhood has encouraged the Compagnie ACTA to open up to partnerships and to include its activities in networks of artists and local, national and European cultural structures. They allow it not only to enrich its reflections, but also to promote and pursue times of exchanges and discoveries, by co-constructing with partner cities, the Cultural Service of Villiers-le-Bel, the Departmental Council of Val-d’Oise and Roissy Pays de France, the First Meeting – European biennial in Val-d’Oise and Seine et Marne, Art, early childhood and live performance.
The Premières Rencontres offers, during three to four weeks, a program of French and international shows, in several places in Villiers-le-Bel, and in about fifteen partner municipalities in the surroundings, as well as the two days of the International Forum.
If this large-scale event requires, for the ACTA team, an upstream investment of nearly two years, its impact is profound, both for the companies, to whom it guarantees a leverage effect on the distribution, especially in Ile-de-France, and for the artists, researchers, professionals of early childhood and culture who take part in the Forum. This European platform for exchange is now part of cultural practices on the scale of the Val-d’Oise Department.
The success of these projects is inseparable from the moral and financial support of our institutional partners: The City of Villiers-le-Bel, the Drac IDF, the Departmental Council of Val d’Oise, the Community of Agglomeration Roissy- Pays de France, the CAF, and the institutes and European embassies, encouraging the arrival of international companies during the festival organized every two years on the territory.
The administrative team
The administrative team is composed of two people on permanent contracts: Emma Lamothe, the Company’s administrator (since 2020) and Vincent Bahic, in charge of public relations, as well as one person on fixed-term contract: Bérénice Cloteaux-Foucault, production and administration assistant.
A distribution officer reinforces the team for the circulation of shows. Depending on projects, interns and people hired on fixed-term contracts may be called upon.
The artistic team
Laurent Dupont is the artistic director of ACTA since 2014; at his side, and for each of the creations, an artistic team is formed for a long-term work: for cultural actions on the territory of residence and for the creation.
The administrative, technical and artistic team represents 5 full time jobs in 2015 (permanent and intermittent)
Inspired by the very young public, the experimental and artistic approaches developed by the ACTA Company are shared with its inhabitants. They largely take into account the social, economic and cultural specificities of the city of Villiers-le-Bel. These experimental approaches are supported by the city’s elected officials, giving rise to multiple partnerships, involving artists, early childhood professionals, and educators
Laurent DUPONT – Director and artistic director of the ACTA Company