Street art shows bringing together dozens of musicians and circus artists, large-format air-based shows that can be performed in front of 15,000 spectators around the world… this has been the artistic project of the Drôme-based company Transe Express for almost 40 years. Not to mention the Gare à Coulisses, which it created in 2007 in the heart of the region’s organic Biovallée area to support the emergence of street and dancefloor art and which was recognised as an “Atelier de Fabrique artistique” in 2017. ” With our two activities, our association brings together nearly 35 trades and up to 150 intermittent performances,” explains Valin. “It’s a real hive of activity that never stops and represents all the stages of artistic creation – from conception of a project to presenting it to audiences. “
Opening up for the future
March 2020: This dynamic came to an abrupt stop as a result of the health crisis. In total, the company lost 95% of its distribution. “Our first reaction was, of course, just astonishment”. But that didn’t take into account the dynamic of transformation that had already been at work within this collective for a year and a half. Indeed, when Yannick Valin arrived on the scene in April 2019, the company was at a turning point in its history with the departure a few years earlier of the two founders, Brigitte Burdin and Gilles Rhode. “To survive, we had no option but to evolve with the times”. And this is what he is working on with the rest of the team. They are working on issues relating to ecological transition and cultural rights. They also plan to diversify their activities (with a restaurant in particular) and start to redesign the construction workshop at the Gare à Coulisses. They want to make it a true third place to train job seekers in eco-construction practices, and then to meet the needs of local businesses in a virtuous regional loop.
Levers of action to see further
Different types of support are on offer to assist in this transformation. First of all, a local accompaniment device (DLA) with the Ardèche branch of France Active, Initiactive 26 07, to redefine the economic model of the structure. “Initially, it is never easy to opt for complete openness and to accept someone coming to question accounts. But this DLA has been very positive. In fact, it allowed us to approach 2021 with 4 different scenarios of how to come through the current crisis (from the most optimistic to the most pessimistic). It was essential to be able to count on the support of Initiactive 26 07 at that time”. In
parallel, the association’s social and environmental responsibility (CSR) programme has also been introduced to work on its governance, its accessibility within the region and its local impact on topics such as education, employment, food, energy, etc. Luc Carton, a Belgian philosopher specializing in cultural rights, was also asked to assist with the transition between the current project and the one in line with the label acquired in the summer of 2020, “Scène conventionnée d’intérêt national Art en Territoire”.
“So it was thanks to these three forms of support, initiated before the crisis, that we were able to move very quickly beyond this first phase of taking stock. It took us 15 days to recover and to say to ourselves that instead of shutting everything down, we had to do the opposite: Continue to invest in our future. That is why we didn’t make any redundances, and resorted to partial unemployment only very minimally, and why we reclassified 4 positions as permanent employment. We have kept all the strength of our collective to continue working on our key project.”
Were supported by
France Active in Ardèche (Initiactive 26-07)
And supported by
Daniel & Nina Carasso Foundation