Questioning the world to invoke the future: this is the guiding principle of le lieu unique, Nantes’ state-funded theatre.
In the company of artists, choreographers, theatre directors, musicians, poets, philosophers, researchers, and in your company, we try to decipher reality and imagine a potential map for tomorrow, to offer meaning and reenchant an environment often seen as absurd and hopeless. When le lieu unique acts as an observatory on the world, it returns to the avant-garde - for instance, by celebrating this year Ruth Childs or inviting Claude Régy or Philip Glass. It questions the borders between what is culturally correct and society’s alternative options, from outsider art to Asian graphic novels, by way of folk or Middle-Eastern music. A number of forms are also the result of first-hand accounts or lived experiences: on stage, with Milo Rau, No Tongues, Étienne Gaudillère or Jan Martens. Moreover, by showcasing the sciences - social or "hard" - and those who comment on them (through geopolitical, philosophical, ethical or literary conferences), our theatre invites one and all to discover the complexity of the world around us, to appreciate its often poetic sides, but also to tackle the issue of human rights, the plurality of genders, the diversity of origins, to look for ways to improve the peaceful coexistence of different cultures, the place of every individual in our society, and much more.
Ultimately, if artists and international thinkers are highly present at le lieu unique, it is because they offer rich perspectives and a chance to open up new horizons. While holding up a mirror to the world, le lieu unique strives to present innovative artistic crossovers as well as interstitial and multidisciplinary projects. This is where we dream of tomorrow: this factory of the future’s excessive and political ambition is to draw the contours of another world. New forms and aesthetics, contemporary writing or innovative technology: people like David Chalmin, Joris Mathieu or Agrupación Senor Serrano - to name but a few - constantly push back the limits of what is taken for granted with dreamlike projects that are often far from traditions and conventions. These ideas are also bolstered by a new wave of artistic renewal. Through its residencies and support for young creators, le lieu unique largely participates in promoting new players in this sector, whether local or national, from Paul Moulin to Guillaume Bariou.
Le lieu unique is also a social space that is open all year round, from morning until often late into the night, offering guests the calm atmospheres of a café, a restaurant, bookstore, a record shop and a Turkish bath, as well as the more vibrant ambiance of a club. With its permanent offer of cultural events and carefully selected soundtrack, this lieu de vie is the gateway to an artistic project aimed at reaching as many people as possible, much of which is free of charge: the exhibitions, conferences & debates, the bar and small concerts are all free.
Lastly, le lieu unique virtually hums during the high points of the season, shining like a beacon, and signalling its incredible emulations between creators and spectators, specialists and novices to everyone all around, announcing projects that are innovative, discursive, hybrid, benevolent, and always audacious. Explore and invent: this is the motto guiding le lieu unique and every guest that walks through its doors. Especially you.
Patrick Gyger Director le lieu unique