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.
on that history as a source of stability even as the group shapes and
reshapes it, thereby revealing how unstable it is. This interweaving of
authenticity and fakery, of duration and ephemerality, of embodiment
and absence, of time and space, makes up the fabric of history, memory,
and, of course, theatre.
Introduction: working memory
This is a book about how street theatre companies and their performances produce postindustrialspace. It takes as its objects of analysis
the institutions and events of contemporary French street theatre. At its
core, this book
, the towering metal stems of the lamps
and the bench bend toward them gently, as if curious; less careful spectators cause the sculptures to jerk aggressively.
In this concluding chapter I approach these two installations, Giraud’s
Le murmure des plantes 2.0 and Fer à Coudre’s Eclosion floraferrique,
because they exemplify contemporary French street theatre’s production of postindustrialspace.3 Neither is attached to a specific urban or
regional redevelopment project, but through their aesthetics, their work
on space and time, and the mode of spectatorship they
produce the ‘after but not over’ of the postindustrial in a rural environment that might seem, at first glance, as though it had never been
industrial in the first place.
Monique de Certaines writes in her history of the town that, ‘Corbigny
has never had an industrial vocation.’1 It is true that Corbigny’s industrial
history is primarily that of failed twentieth-century factory relocations;
the town never developed the prominent metallurgical industries of
other Nièvre communities like Fourchambault and Varennes-Vauzelles.
The small industrial enterprises
symbolic ownership of the shipyards beyond former
workers to encompass ‘the people of Nantes.’ Such events encouraged
residents and tourists to cross the Loire to explore the postindustrial
landscape and prepared them for the more permanent appropriation of
La Machine. But La Machine also relies on familiar spatial repertoires to
encourage particular spatial practices.
La Machine and Nantes Métropole tap into the existing repertoires
of parks, cafés, and covered shopping arcades to encourage the Naves’
use as public space. They do so both
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
return to what David Wiles has called a ‘traditionalist public space’ in
which small-scale street
Excavation: the imaginary archaeology
Vaulx-en-Velin, May 2012. I have reached the end of the line. I alight
from the subway train at Vaulx-en-Velin La Soie, the ‘multimodal’
transit hub that since October 2007 has connected this far-flung eastern
banlieue to Lyon city centre. Diffuse light from frosted skylights bathes
the underground platform in a soft glow. Warm-toned woods and
evenly spaced palm trees set this station apart from the older, workaday
concrete models I left behind in Lyon and Villeurbanne. In the years
following this visit
/90: 4), an
observation cited by the editors of The New Poetry (Hulse, Kennedy and
Morley 1993: 18) and by Romana Huk in Contemporary British Poetry
(Acheson and Huk 1996: 3). It is not the intention of this chapter, however, to survey the richness and diversity of poetry from what Eagleton
sees as the new centre. Such a project would require a book in itself and
then would probably fail for lack of space. Instead, I want to probe
Eagleton’s assumption in the light of some of the trends in poetry and
poetry criticism in the 1980s and 1990s, while suggesting, however
working class and Catholic labels remained largely synonymous with left
and right bloc belonging respectively.
Contemporary developments in political space
Although the extent of its predictive power has somewhat declined in
recent years, left-right ideology still remains of paramount importance.
The post-industrial shifts in the 1970s and 1980s which threatened the
status quo with radical re/dealignment has in fact settled into a more
nuanced but structurally similar competitive framework.2 Even new issues,
such as post-materialism, have easily been absorbed in
, and no pilgrimage without priest and
party’). Celebrating belonging gathers together aspects of local society concerned
with the sharing of daily issues at the bar, playing cards, visiting the ill or the elderly,
and celebrating and enjoying the fruits of labour and the land.
In the recent past communities were strongly localised, deeply rooted in their territory, in which the control of behaviour and thought, of the use of community space
and time was one of the main defining features (Martínez Montoya 1996; 2004).
Group solidarity was based on respect of tradition