At the heart of the Bois de Vincennes, the Cartoucherie is an hive of theater and dance which breathes, vibrates and palpates to the rhythm of a sensitive openness to the world. Once a munitions factory, today a powder keg of creation, the Cartoucherie brings together a diverse set of aesthetic approaches around a single spirit, motivated by unique human adventures.
The Théâtre du Soleil settled here in August 1970, and was later joined by the Theaters of the Tempête, Aquarium, Epée de Bois and Chaudron. Since 1989, the Cartoucherie has also been home to ARTA, the Association de recherche des traditions de l’acteur, and, since 1999, the Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson. The Cartoucherie has built its history over the years, and what was once an ephemeral and vulnerable structure is now—thanks to the tireless support of generations of spectators—a major destination in the international art scene. Everything about this place suggests men and women at work, in preparation for the audience’s eventual coming: in these rehabilitated warehouses, in this island surrounded by trees, they keep the spark alive in the hopes that the audience will fan it, setting sail like passengers aboard a ship at port, about to continue a poetic expedition that is already underway.
And so, collective and artisanal, the work continues. The goal is to tell stories, dance, and change the world by acting it out. To take time to open the pallet, to fire up the senses, and to perceive things in a new way, in upheaval: through laughter, astonishment, thrills, thunder, probing dreams and daring new visions.
Within the walls of the Cartoucherie, the venues can be transformed or rebuilt at any moment, allowing the creation of new imaginary spaces, the telling of stories that illuminate the contradictions of the present.
The Cartoucherie is also a haven. Around the theaters, caravans house friends, itinerant men and women, from sometimes battered parts of the world. Their presence reminds us to remain vigilant, to pay attention to the world.
Jean-François Dusigne, ARTA's co artistic director, professor at the University of Paris