Mathieu Maisonneuve, director of the Exit street arts festival: “In Toulouse, it’s about rebuilding ties with these lost cousins ​​and Catalan youth”

The 1WATT company, on the place of the Legion of Honor, in Toulouse, on April 23, 2023.

For its second edition, from June 2 to 4, the Exit festival, led by the Usine, National Center for Street Arts and Public Space, in Toulouse, welcomes around fifteen troupes including Catalan and Balearic companies, presented in the Pink City as well as in five municipalities of the Toulouse metropolis. Mathieu Maisonneuve, director of the Factory and of the event, recounts the common past of the city and Barcelona.

Two years ago, directors, dancers and actors who work in the street alerted the Ministry of Culture to their difficulties. Where are they today?

The situation of the 1,000 companies working in the streets is not improving at all. No concrete measure has succeeded but the dialogue continues with the Ministry of Culture. This is a sector that is still suffering, particularly from the point of view of distribution, even if it is still exporting well internationally. Artists have created a lot during the pandemic and the distribution circuits are completely blocked today. The network of thirteen National Centers for Street Arts and Public Space (Cnarep) and festivals, including those of Aurillac and Chalon dans la rue (Saone-et-Loire), is not enough to accommodate all these productions.

Only an acceleration of cooperation between theaters will make it possible to find a way out of this crisis. It is necessary to underline the growing openings, for two years, on the side of the National Dramatic Centers, the National Scenes and the National Choreographic Centers, which begin to invite street artists, in partnership and often on the initiative of the Cnarep. This is the case for our festival, Exit, which associates the Théâtre Garonne.

Read the interview: Article reserved for our subscribers Street arts: “For the public to come back, we will have to resist excessive security”

Aesthetically, how is the sector evolving?

We note that the monumental parade-style forms of the Royal de Luxe are less and less numerous. On the other hand, and especially on the side of the new generation, which fascinates me and which comes from different backgrounds including that of dance, we observe an attention to ecology and to the creation of lighter and more intimate forms, which travel more easily and are much less carbonaceous. The question of incarnation in space is also much more present among young artists, such as the Lost Ball collective, or the Ktha Compagnie. It should be emphasized how much the different seizures » traversed by the creators for the public space have, in my opinion, restricted the imagination and hindered the freedom of expression.

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