Over the last thirty years, European society has undergone profound demographic changes and today the question of the ‘Other’ is shaking up the political debate to the point of undermining the very values of the European project. As producers of stories rich in imagination, performing arts institutions and festivals must reflect and carry this growing diversity and bear witness to the richness and complexity of our society. But there is still a long way to go. That is why the Théâtre National is involved in the European project launched by MC93 in Bobigny.
Common stories intends to explore the issue of diversity in the performing arts. How can we better welcome diversity in our institutions and on stage but also among our teams and our audiences? How do we daily occupy or bear witness to these spaces overflowing with possibilities but also tensions? What strategies are put in place? What knowledge and experience are acquired and shared?
Working parties have been set up in Lisbon, Bobigny, Cologne, Brussels, Stockholm and Warsaw to reflect together. To question the practices of our teams and the approaches to our audiences and to compare the very different methods in different European countries.
The project also intends to develop a travelling laboratory that will bring together eight resident artists in Europe each year, based on a call for projects, for an eight-week residency in three locations in Europe and Africa. In total, twenty-four emerging artists will engage with this question of diversity, based on personal reasons and/or through their fields of research and artistic visions.
In November 2025, a colloquium will be organized in Brussels involving thinkers, researchers, academics, artists, activists and more to share experiences and open up other avenues.
Common stories is implemented by the Maison de la Culture de Seine-Saint-Denis, MC93 (Bobigny, FR), Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles (Brussels, BE), Alkantara & Culturgest (Lisbon, PT), africologneFESTIVAL (Cologne, DE), Riksteatern (Stockholm, SE), in association with TR Warszawa (Warsaw, PL), Orient Productions – DCAF Festival (Cairo, EG), CulturArte (Maputo, MZ) and Les Récréâtrales (Ouagadougou, BF). Common stories is co-financed by the Creative Europe programme.