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Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles
Creative Europe

Common Stories

Newsletter #1

As 2023 draws to a close, Common Stories looks back on a first year. A rich and intense year, full of questioning, necessary adjustments, and wonderful encounters.

© Chloé Signès

Encounter with the 2023 CommonLAB’s 8 artists, Saphir Belkheir, Carys Coburn, Hang Hang, Stephanie Kayal, Nancy Ofori, Anna Ten, Maíra Zenun, Billie Willett.

Bringing together a wide range of practices and fields of research, from writing and choreography to directing, composition, performance and installation, they worked on their project’s wrirting through individual studio sessions and conversations with dramaturges, notably in Stockholm and Lisbon, as well as collective research and exchange times.

From the MC93 in Bobigny to the Riksteatern in Stockholm, from the D-CAF festival in Cairo to Alkantara in Lisbon, the artists set out to discover other artistic practices and universes, through master classes, workshops, meetings, urban walks and discussions. They met with artists, thinkers and activists, while grasping different working contexts.

The 8 weeks ended on Saturday 18 November with a presentation of individual project to a hundred or so guests, Common Stories partners, professionals and artists. The presentation was followed by a conversation with researcher and dramaturg Sarah Lewis-Cappellari. 

Saphir Belkheir & Sara Lewis-Cappellari © Miguel Afonso Carranca

CommonLAB 2023 is the first part of a shared narrative that we hope to pursue with some of the artists involved, as we are currently reflecting about possible supports for the presented projects, particularly as part of the CommonPROD programme.

Meetings between partners and their teams

These 10 months have provided an opportunity for exchanges and dialogue between the teams of the various partners, at the launch meeting on 17 and 18 February and at the annual meeting from 19 to 20 November, both in Lisbon, but also online as part of several sharing and discussion sessions.

Fanon Pharmacy,Vânia Gala © Joni Rico

Meetings between Good Practices Factory groups

Six discussion groups have been set up in Bobigny, Brussels, Cologne, Lisbon, Stockholm and Warsaw to develop a collective European debate on how to welcome different narratives and journeys, on stage of course, but also around the stage and in our audiences.

On 20 November at Culturgest, the groups met for the first time to exchange ideas on the topics they chose to explore and the methodologies implemented locally. The afternoon was devoted to a series of lectures, Reframing Authorship and Authority in the Arts (Weaving Lines of Reparation) was presented in collaboration with UNA (Unão Negra das Artes).

Finally, the CommonLAB 2024 call for projects, launched on 15 November, closed on 10 December with over 200 applications received. After selection by a jury including Panaíbra Gabriel Canda (CulturArte), Carla Nobre Sousa and David Cabecinha (Alkantara), Pierre Thys and Valérie Martino (Théâtre National Wallonie-Brussels), Hortense Archambault (MC93), Virginie Dupray and members of the Advisory committee, 8 artists will be chosen. From June to November 2024, the CommonLAB will take them to Lisbon, Maputo, Bobigny and Brussels.

Open call results on 29 January 2024!

Maíra Zenun © Chloé Signès

Common Stories

To know more, please find out about our activities, the LAB artists, the guest speakers, the content and the programmes on our bilingual website:

Common Stories has been initiated by the Maison de la Culture de Seine-Saint-Denis, MC93 I Bobigny (France), in partnership with the Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles I Brussels (Belgium), AlkantaraCulturgest I Lisbon (Portugal), africologneFESTIVAL I Cologne (Germany), Riksteatern I Stockholm (Sweden), in association with TR Warszawa I Warsaw (Poland).

Le Rideau de saison, Maak & Transmettre · photos : Lucile Dizier, 2024