The festival


The European Bienniale “Premières Rencontres : Art, petite enfance et spectacle vivant” (“First Encounters: Art, early childhood and live performance”) showcases contemporary European performances for very young audiences (0-3 years old) in approx. 15 partner cities in the Val-d’Oise (95), Seine-et-Marne (77) and Oise (60) districts, in the Greater Paris region in France. It is organised every two years over a period of 3-4 weeks in March and April.

A highlight, the European Forum, is also organised during which conferences, project presentations, debates and exhibitions take place over two days in Villiers-le-Bel.

Finally, training sessions for cultural and early childhood professionals are organised before, during and after the festival to allow a better knowledge and questionning of contemporary performing arts dedicated to young children.

The festival was born in 2004 from the will of artists contributing to :

  • Furthering the reflection on European creation and stimulating the circulation of European artistic work for young children in the Île-de-France (Greater Paris) region
  • An in-depth work through debates, training and exchanges on the sensitive and concrete knowledge of the child throughout Europe in a spirit of co-creation (involving parents, children and professionals)
  • Strengthening a European and international network of artists and professionals in the field of culture and childhood in order to share strategies.

Since 2004, the festival PREMIÈRES RENCONTRES has been :

11 European Forums in Villiers-le-Bel

34 weeks of festival
In 16 to 20 cities in the Val-d’Oise (95), Seine-et-Marne (77), Oise (60) and Normandy (14) districts

European Forum 2018, photo credit ACTA

European and international speakers

Sophie Marinopoulos, photo credit Slaven Rébélo

Learning and participation projects : workshops and european artists residencies

Mammoet by Klankennest, photo credit Klankennest

A springboard for the circulation of European performances :
1177 performances out of which 475 from outside France
More than 81 000 spectators

What is that ? by Aaben Dans, photo credit Aaben Dans

425 participants to the “Early years, Art and Live Performance” training sessions

European Forum 2024, photo credit Tommaso Bonnaventura

Video : 10 years of the festival (in French)