Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space explores how street theatre transforms industrial space into postindustrial space. Deindustrializing communities have increasingly turned to cultural projects to commemorate industrial heritage while simultaneously generating surplus value and jobs in a changing economy. Through analysis of French street theatre companies working out of converted industrial sites, this book reveals how theatre and performance more generally participate in and make historical sense of ongoing urban and economic change. The book argues, firstly, that deindustrialization and redevelopment rely on the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance. Redevelopment requires theatrical events and performative acts that revise, resituate, and re-embody particular pasts. The book proposes working memory as a central metaphor for these processes. The book argues, secondly, that in contemporary France street theatre has emerged as working memory's privileged artistic form. If the transition from industrial to postindustrial space relies on theatrical logics, those logics will manifest differently depending on geographic context. The book links the proliferation of street theatre in France since the 1970s to the crisis in Fordist-Taylorist modernity. How have street theatre companies converted spaces of manufacturing into spaces of theatrical production? How do these companies (with municipal governments and developers) connect their work to the work that occurred in these spaces in the past? How do those connections manifest in theatrical events, and how do such events give shape and meaning to redevelopment? Street theatre’s function is both economic and historiographic. It makes the past intelligible as past and useful to the present.
urban and economic change. Bonnard’s reflection on the preservation of the TASE factory reveals much about the stakes of his company’s work, the tensions inherent in deindustrialization and redevelopment, and the issues that will recur throughout this book. Bonnard conveys urgency, even danger. The task at hand is not to preserve a corpse but to save a life, or rather a living connection between present and past congealed for the moment in the fragile structure of the factory itself. This temporal link establishes local identity that might persist despite
cause the summer street theatre festival any more than the summer street theatre festival caused the autumn oil embargo. But the deindustrialization, economic crisis, and urban change that ensued provide more than mere context for the development of French street theatre; they furnished contemporary street theatre with its material and symbolic conditions of possibility. The move away from high modernist urban projects after 1973 signalled a Theatre in ruins 25 return to what David Wiles has called a ‘traditionalist public space’ in which small-scale street
. Metalovoice, for instance, used Virée(s) vers l’est to link Corbigny to other, more obviously industrial towns in the Nièvre, and to the more distant locales to which industry has relocated. With Bivouac, Générik Vapeur facilitated the imagination of a globalized network of industrial waste disposal precisely in order to critique that network and the power dynamics that produce some human beings as waste. When I claim that processes such as deindustrialization and redevelopment require a theatrical approach to space, I do not mean to suggest that street theatre companies
rupture, a connection between art work and industrial work amidst economic crisis and deindustrialization. But this culture of making suffers from a gendered inequality of access. In a 2006 television news feature on Metalovoice’s relocation and the repurposing of the Photosacs factory, former Photosacs employee Jean-Paul Le Menac guides reporter Anne Berger through the unconverted building and explains how it used to operate. Though Le Menac recalls the overpowering noise of the machines and the distinctive smell of leather and glue, he fondly observes, ‘You made that