Mr. President of the General Council, dear Patrick Devedjian, Mr. Mayor, dear Georges Siffredi, elected ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Deputy Reeve, dear Bernard Bouloc, Mr. Director of the Théâtre Firmin Gémier / La Piscine, dear Marc Jeancourt, Dear friends, “Like the theatre, the circus takes place in the evening, as the night approaches, but it can also give itself in the middle of the day. If we go to the theatre it is to enter the vestibule, the antechamber of this precarious death that will be sleep (…) But the Circus! It requires acute, total attention. It’s not our party. It’s a game of skill that requires us to stay awake.”

How far we have come from this Tightwalker who, for Jean Genet, kept us awake against death.
Today the contemporary circus has a national school, production and exhibition centres and theatres that host these shows all over France. Forty years ago, major figures of the live show, a popular theatre activist like Silvia Monfort, circus men like Alexis Grüss - who also offers us a beautiful equestrian show for the Christmas of the children of the staff of my ministry - worked so that the circus could reach the lands of the Ministry of Culture, and that it could give it the recognition it deserved. This is something that seems relatively obvious to us today: it was not so recently.

The magnificent spectacle we have seen this evening shows us how the contemporary circus is still the heir, as well as other more classical forms of circus arts, of this fragile line, at the border of entertainment and art, the pure spectacular and the most beautiful introdreamric versions, between inside and outside, from the capital to the street, from the ephemeral to the always provisional, from the party and the night, as at Chagall that you mentioned earlier, of the child and the adult. It is precisely this border, this fragile line on which the circus dances that does its magic.

The Théâtre Firmin Gémier d'Antony and the Espace Cirque that it houses have been under agreement since 2005 and have thus become the first National Pole of Circus Arts in Ile-de-France, among the ten that already exist in France. The Espace Cirque d'Antony fully shares the demands of these national hubs, in terms of partnerships and co-productions, for the creation as well as for the dissemination of created shows, and also for cultural democratization, with the self-portrait tent you mentioned earlier - an important contribution, I think, that will certainly fit into the future cultural landscape of Greater Paris. This is due to the remarkable work of its director Marc Jeancourt and his team, to which the State brings deserved recognition, strengthened financial support and new perspectives.

In the vast effort to clarify the labels and the missions of the performing arts institutions that I have certified by my ministry, which I have launched since 2009, I am delighted that we have taken care to create two new ones - that of the National Street Arts Centre, and the national circus arts centres. Just like the street arts, the creative circus enjoys exceptional vitality in France. He develops new artistic writings, he opens up fields that are often completely new to aesthetic experimentation – rubber geometry, for example… We had to be able to give ourselves the means to better accompany this circus of creation: this is the meaning of the measures intended for it, which I had the opportunity to announce in Avignon when launching the action plan for the live show last July. For me, too, it is a matter of consolidating a sector that is facing a certain growth crisis - at a time when the public is ready and audiences are even on the move.

By creating this label of Pôle national des arts du cirque, my ministry wanted to strengthen the place of artists and their mobility, as well as that of their creations, in the networks supported by the ministry. He wanted
continue to structure employment; and also develop their European and international visibility, in an area where France is particularly expected. This effort by the State only makes sense if it is accompanied by close consultation with the local authorities, and I am pleased that in Antony, the convergence of views is clearly on the agenda.

Thank you.