A creative experience by and for youth: that’s the concept behind the fourth annual De plain-pied event, coming up May 19 from 8:30 p.m. in the NAC’s new spaces.
Mélanie Dumont, French Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director, Youth Programs, is the instigator of this project, which has been a resounding success from the very start. Through a call for applications, she assembled this year’s creative unit of five young people between the ages of 14 and 18.
“I’m always looking for open, engaged and bright young people who are eager to explore new things,” she says passionately. “They participate in designing the project, which focuses on their concerns. Teenagers tend to get short shrift in the public arena, so I try to create a cocoon of pure creation, an uncharted territory where they can express themselves without feeling judged; a space where they can dream big, dream different.”
To spark their ideas, she develops a “landscape of inspirations” composed of visual art images, objects, books, and works by performance artists such as Miranda July, Meg Stuart, Sylvie Cotton and Sophie Calle. Together, the participants discover the NAC, its backstage areas, its props workshop and its shows. Together, they learn about the creative process. Together, they build enthusiasm, ask questions and enrich themselves.
Over the years, De plain-pied has established itself as an existential labyrinth, an experiential jungle, a mix of actions and a giant mandala where young people—a hundred or so—are welcomed as participants and creators. So anything could happen in this new version!
“I still run into young people who participated in the early editions. Some are working here now, others have joined our audience,” says Ms. Dumont proudly. “They feel a sense of ownership about the NAC, and they want to be here. That continuity is the best gift I could ask for.”
Obviously, this project could not exist without the generosity of donors. “They have an openness of heart, they believe in art and its intimate connection to us,” she declares. “There are no better ambassadors to promote our achievements.”