In Marseille, the Montévidéo creation laboratory threatened by promoters

The court of Montévidéo, in Marseille (6ᵉ), in 2020.

“Emergency Montevideo” : under this anxiety-provoking title, came out, at the end of May, in The Inrocks, a platform supported by a battalion of signatures. Over an extensive list, we read the names of the writer Christine Angot, the actors Vincent Macaigne and Nicolas Bouchaud, the directors Julien Gosselin, Gisèle Vienne or Alain Françon. All generations combined and all disciplines involved, the artistic community has stepped up to defend a place located in downtown Marseille: Montévidéo.

This unusual place deserves an army to rise up for it. Founded in 2000 by author and director Hubert Colas, Montévidéo is the stronghold and watchtower of contemporary creation which finds, within its walls, the time to research and experiment, in short, to work at its own pace. But now, for seven years, the structure has been living under the threat of eviction.

The owner of the building – a former paper and carpet depot – wants to sell. From trial to appeal in cassation, the time of the move could be postponed. Until the court decides: “After years of proceedings, the verdict is in: legally, the owner can send someone to us overnight to ask us to leave. » Hubert Colas is not mistaken. If he has to leave, nothing says that his rare pearl will survive: a space on a human scale, where poets, writers, playwrights, scenographers, musicians, choreographers, directors seek inspiration without worrying about “filling” injunctions. . Here, they are not asked to make public successes and produce turnkey shows, but to invent the theater of tomorrow.

Located in the 6e A district of Marseille, Montévidéo is a three-headed hydra: both a performance hall, a place where Hubert Colas’ company Diphthong is located, and the headquarters of Actoral, a well-attended autumnal contemporary festival in live performance . The place has a crazy charm: a tree-lined courtyard, two plateaus, a bar-restaurant, an ephemeral bookstore. So many assets that interest real estate developers who are not very sensitive to the hectic cultural life that takes place there and which is, moreover, one of the few in the district.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Marseille, the identity crossings of the Actoral festival

An alternative to deportation?

“As a medium-sized structure, not so many of us fulfill a support mission allowing artists to have residencies”, recalls Hubert Colas. With an annual grant of 309,000 euros, his house does not ruin the community. The city gives 110,000 euros, the ministry, through the regional directorate of cultural affairs, 114,000 euros, the region, 45,000 euros, and the department, 40,000 euros.

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