Migration Blues

It is a theatrical project which takes place in Marseille from December 2002 to
January 2004, with 5 differents plays.
The work concerns memories and
identities links with migration: mainly from North-Africa, but also from other
countries or even from inside, I am talking about Gypsies, those “inner
 We were questioning the link of these populations with the
society they live in: it pass through the recognition of their multiple
identities, and also through their own re-appropriation of the story, at an
individual and a collective level.

So how do we do?

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were 4 actors ( An arab man, a jewish woman, a Spanish man, and me – from
We choose 4 districts of Marseille, located in the northern part of
the city, and in which we came back 4 times, with 4 differents plays. Some of
these districts are really hard, especially the Gipsies districts: nobody goes
there without a good reason (to buy drugs for example …. It’s a pity but I am
not joking). No doctors comes, nor ambulances, and obviously they never had a
play there ….
Somehow we go to these districts to meet people and take their
stories. And after we choose the more significant: some “figure” emblematic of a
collective phenomenon. Then, without re-writing, just assembling the differents
caracters, we elaborate the play. And 2 monthes maximum after the interviews, we
do the play, into the 4 districts, and in front of the people that give us their

The 5 plays were with different directors but the same

So the fifth play takes place no more in the districts but
this time in a real theater, the “Théâtre du Merlan – Scène nationale”, and is
located in the northern part of Marseille, in one of those “forgotten
districts”, a big and beautiful theatre – but stuck between a supermarket and a
police station…. The aim was to bring this population that we touch in their
ambit, for a long work, finally into a theatre, for the first time of their
life… And it works!!!
So let’s see some

is a spring sunny day and it seems a peacefull place, but inside it is another
reality: the houses are totally insalabrius, there is no collective space like a
social house – and that is why we are playing outside This play is the third
one, that is why there is quite a lot of public – the first time we came there,
with the first play, we have just a little space – and 10 womens !
In this
play we decided to integrate 3 persons from one of the district, the one in
witch the Company has build a long time cooperation concretised by a theatrical
group of amateurs.

It was a real gift to see the reactions of the person of whom we interpret
the life-story: the proudness that they feel, for the first time, to have had
such a life: because they can see it through an artistic point of view…
they also begun to share this story with their childrens, because the more often
they never told the story of their origin and their migration to their

One of the most important point was to come back
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example, for the first play, we did not have Gipsies stories – they probably
wanted to test us before to give us something so intimate… Then they saw us in
our first play, and they decided to talk. And after, we always had beautiful
gipsy stories!
And it was also the way to have more audience, and to bring
the biggest part possible of them to the “theatre du Merlan”, for the final

In conclusion, we can say that in “Migration Blues”, the cultural milieu
generate and shape the creative project, which, at its turn, contributes to
assert the specificity of Marseille the “capital of the world”, and to shape a
real cohesive and integrative model for the “forgotten districts”.

And we hope that is a project that can be exported: we proposed it to the
city of Torino, with the help of Fitzcarraldo (co-author with Ericarts of the
study & book “Creative Europe”), because they have a specific work on “Porta
Palazzo”, the district of the immigrants in Torino. But this process of work on
the Migrations stories can be imagined in other cities like Anvers, o Barcelona,
and so one…

Because creative ideas are not only one time resources, it is become an
integral part of the collective stock of intangible assets which can be
“re-used” and even “re-created” by other Companies, in other cities

 …. And because Migration is maybe one of the biggest phenomenon
of our time…

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