REPORTAGE. In Brittany, they transport culture in their van

The sun continues to beat down hard on the bitumen of a car park south of Saint-Brieuc, a few hours before the show. This Friday, in the late afternoon, three artists warm up their voices, tune their instruments and reveal a hidden scene in the back of a white van, flanked by black logos.

On accordion, there is Jean-Marc Le Coq, on vocals, Raphaëlle Garnier. Both form the troupe “Nid de cuckoo” and are, that night, accompanied by a guitarist. The couple of artists is used to theater scenes, except for van shows.

Some time ago they recovered the Kultur Truck, a vehicle mounted on four wheels, with sound equipment inside, which allows them to settle down quickly to play anywhere and at any time.

This form of interpretation is interesting because there is a fast and spontaneous side that corresponds to the time”, loose Raphaëlle Garnier. Her stage partner and life partner, Jean-Marc Le Coq, also praises the merits of a practical vehicle: There is one side of the fairgrounds, the stage is ready in a quarter of an hour. All that is needed is a good location and a power outlet to illuminate the scene at night. It’s a bit like a traveling jukebox!

To play in the truck, all you need is a power outlet and a good location! | WEST OF FRANCE

“A food truck brings food, we feed through culture”

The Kultur Truck was born two years ago, in the midst of a pandemic, in 2020. Philippe Saumont, a puppeteer who ran the Tarabates Theater in Saint-Brieuc, bought the van from a mattress seller. He used it to play in the markets at a time when culture was on hold, at a time when entertainment (for spectators and artists) was lacking.

I found an audience, and what I’m made for: playing and creating excitement by taking culture anywhere. A food truck brings food, we feed through culture. He adds : I thought it would be nice to have a light vehicle, not restrictive like a bus, not as big as a trailer.. This scene was used by the puppeteer to offer an audience that is sometimes distant, or that feels little concerned about the culture, to laugh with him. But due to an accident, Philippe Saumont hung up and stopped his touring. Therefore, he offered his van to Jean-Marc and Raphaëlle, the artist duo.

Since the Middle Ages and for centuries, companies of artists have performed from town to town, tirelessly setting up stages for shows installed on the esplanades of cathedrals, in the streets or in markets. In a book (1) published in 2012 on the return of traveling theaters, Jean-Luc Grandrie, former deputy director of the Rond-Point theater in Paris, writes: Then I was able to discover this original way of doing theater: these people who set out on the roads of France to meet the audience they are finally looking for.

Most of the time, the artists play on traditional stages and sometimes in parking lots and market squares in their van. | WEST OF FRANCE

“We open, we close, it’s sparkling!” »

Initially, the truck required an investment of €20,000, financed by the local authorities and from the pocket of Philippe Saumont. The artists sell their services to municipalities and cultural spaces in the form of payment. You have to pay €300 per artist, €350 for the technique. It is also necessary to take into account the travel expenses of the vehicle that They are not negligible right now.”Breathe Jean-Marc Le Coq.

If the main activity of the couple is not the Kultur Truck, they say they want to delve into the concept of itinerant theater, without knowing for the moment if it will work in the long term. In the future it would be even more interesting to organize a tour, we are trying to organize it for next year. explains Raphaëlle Garnier. The idea is to go around Brittany with the truck: we open, close, open, close the van, it could be shiny! The Kultur Truck formula could be summed up like this: if you can’t come to me, I’ll come to you.

To contact Kultur Truck: 06 07 59 23 56.

(1) Les Tréteaux de France: 2001- 2011 – Story of a theatrical reconquestJean-Luc Grandrie.

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