On the occasion of his speech at the Biennales internationales du spectacle, held in Nantes on 23 January, the Minister of Culture announced measures in favour of theatre in the regions. Speech.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be here with you today at the BIS. This is an essential part of your profession. And as Minister of Culture, I am pleased to come here to talk to you.
And I thank those I had the honour of meeting to discuss the important issues that concern you.
I am all the more pleased that I know we share a conviction. The conviction that we need culture more than ever. The belief that we need, more than ever, to come together.
We are capable of it, and we have the will to do so. Collectively, I believe that we are inhabited by this aspiration to the common.
By the conviction that the time is no longer only for the individual, but for the collective. This conviction is mine.
Making common: this must be the role of the Ministry of Culture.
It must give our fellow citizens, artists, artistic teams, those who work in culture, the means and opportunities to be together.
He must, and he can.
In order to create something common, we need artists. We need artistic teams. We need creators. We need those who work in culture. We need live performers. We need authors. We need common commitments.
We need to co-build public policies together.
Always with a sense of dialogue. Of listening. Of exchange.
With expressions of discontent, sometimes. So I know it’s not always obvious.
But there are areas of concern for your trades, which are sometimes known, since several, and not addressed.
I have made a commitment, since I became minister, to take all the subjects with my hands.
That’s my view of public engagement, which I’ve had for a long time, and now as a minister.
This is the meaning of the CNPS, which I proposed to meet regularly.
Very soon, we will have the opportunity to meet again to discuss all the topics of your professions. That is the purpose of my meetings with labour organizations.
Yesterday at the ministry, with the ministry’s union organizations. Today, with the representatives I met and who have just spoken to you.
As far as pension reform is concerned, specifically, the objective is to create, as you know, a pension system that seems more equitable and fair to us. A system that will allow us to meet the challenges of tomorrow, while preserving the PAYG system.
We will do that through the universal system.
We have before us days, weeks of negotiations and co-construction to be able to set out the general principles of the text in your professions.
This will to adapt to the specificities of your professions, we have already defended it with the reform of the unemployment insurance of the intermittent.
Concerns were very high for the trades in Appendices 8 and 10.
After listening to you, after working with your representatives, I formed a conviction: we had to maintain the 2016 unemployment insurance agreement for schedule 8 and schedule 10 trades.
Not for fear of change or reform, but because it is the best system for your specific professions.
As regards pension reform, I would like to have the same approach with you.
Both dialogue and listening.
Together, we must find ways and means to register you as professionals in these professions, but also more broadly your specificities, in the future universal pension scheme.
It is the meaning of the consultations that are underway.
Similarly, when I arrived on rue de Valois, FONPEPS was not at the top of its form. To say the least.
We have reformed it so that its employment aids are better adapted to the needs of businesses and their employees. We put new means and today, FONPEPS has everything to succeed.
We follow it every day, so that it is used and known by everyone. We will do it with you.
However, I am aware that many of you, who represent small-gauge rooms, are waiting for a technical release so that these rooms will have quick access to help designed for them.
I’ve asked my services to secure this point as soon as possible.
And I don’t see why what we’ve been able to do with the unemployment insurance in schedules 8 and 10, and with FONPEPS, we couldn’t do that for the intermittents, and the other professions involved, as part of this pension reform.
In concrete terms, what does this reform mean for artists and cultural professionals?
There are 5 specific features: two special regimes, that of the Comédie-Française and that of the Opéra national de Paris, intermittent artists of the show, journalists, and artists authors.
I am careful that their social situation is not degraded.
I have ensured that the pension reform bill incorporates specific or transitional provisions, as appropriate. But there’s still a lot of work.
That’s why we need to co-build these transitions together.
We have more than a year to build these transitions together, as well as the future target model.
I make four commitments to you:
There will be no negative impact on the purchasing power of intermittent artists and artists-authors. And you know that this is an important element because there is a convergence of contributions.
There will be no negative impact on the culture budget. But of course there will be a compensation budget that will have to be indexed to the rate changes. The amounts and modalities will be decided soon, with the impact studies that go with them.
No negative impact on the level of pensions.
And no negative impact on employment.
And we have public employment policy levers that will deliver on that commitment.
All the guarantees I have in front of you on these commitments will be provided as I have discussions with the unions, starting with Monday’s meeting.
What we have done for the unemployment insurance system for intermittent performers, what we are doing and will do for pension reform, we will also do for the situation of artist-authors.
Because without authors, there is no creation. And yet they have been the fools of public policy for years. We have to fix it. That was a commitment I made, and I know it was a long-awaited commitment.
I gave a mission to Bruno RACINE. He gave me his mission report last night.
It is available on the Ministry of Culture website. Everything is public, everything is transparent. It is very promising.
It will help to define an ambitious policy in favour of artists-authors. I will have the opportunity to speak on this subject during the first half of February. And I will go to Angoulême for the comic strip festival.
We must build this “common” above all in our territories.
To do this, we have to rely on our formidable network of labels.
As part of the Government’s policy of decentralization, the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture is to strengthen labels. These networks are not finished, or frozen. They are living networks.
We must extend this policy: restore artistic margins, and continue to label new places.
That is what we are doing:
With the new national stage of Bordeaux, in Saint Médard en Jalles, with the Pôle des arts du cirque de Châlons-en-Champagne, with Chorège, the national choreographic development center of Falaise, and many other projects that are still in progress.
The Ministry of Culture is the guarantor of creative freedom.
But it is in the certified places and the state operators that this freedom is best embodied. It’s in the tremendous richness of the national scenes in the city, in the peri-urban, or in the rural areas. There’s still more to do, of course.
But what country can boast of a network of national scenes like ours? Of a network of such wealth, such density? He can – and must – help us to build common ground.
Because this formidable network needs to be strengthened, I have decided to allocate new funds to regional theatres this year.
With a triple ambition:
First, an ambition for the territories. An additional 4 million euros will be spent this year. They will enable us to strengthen our support to the National Interest Convention Stages located in cities of less than 100,000 inhabitants to offer financial support to theatres and theatrical factories little or no assistance from the State in the territories and broadcast the shows as close as possible to the inhabitants, through support for roaming and programming outside the walls.
Then, an ambition for childhood and youth. An additional €1 million will go to the creation of conventioned scenes «art, childhood and youth». The goal is that by 2022, there will be at least one such scene per region and per overseas territory. I will specify in the coming weeks the concrete deployment.
Finally, an ambition for the artistic vitality of companies. An additional €3 million will be dedicated, in particular, to providing increased support for repeat shows. Today, too many shows have an insufficient lifespan. This is a widely shared observation. We will extend the life of the creations, on the one hand, by relaxing the criteria and the modalities of the aids to the recovery, to facilitate the new tours, on the other hand, by allowing companies whose shows were created in a public theatre and then taken over in a private theatre to be eligible for aid.
In total, an additional €8 million will be allocated to theatres in the territories. These votes have already been voted on by Parliament under the 2020 finance act. That is not a promise. This commitment is in line with the 2020 budget.
To build “common” we need all artists and creators.
In general, we need to refocus the schemes on artists’ projects – and therefore direct support to teams.
As I announced at the CNPS last June, we are working on the development of decentralized aids for artistic teams.
On this subject, the findings are clear. Allocations of aid to projects and companies are on an increasing trend, while the budget is maintained.
The number of teams helped has increased – and that’s good – but it has grown faster than the funding envelopes.
In addition, it is difficult to renew beneficiaries, especially for contract teams. And the convention sometimes happens very late.
These are some of the reasons that lead me to hope for an evolution of the current system of direct aids to artistic teams.
It needs to be made consistent. It needs to be empowered.
It must be adapted to the needs of companies and groups.
It is a matter of simplifying and relaxing the current arrangements to better take into account the totality of the artistic project and to better regulate the production of shows, taking into account the times of research, maintenance of repertoires or even cultural action.
My department must support creators in their projects, but more broadly in their careers.
I just mentioned the creators as a whole.
But we’re at BIS, so I have to touch on a couple of specific areas—
We will strengthen our support for the puppetry sector.
I was involved at the last Charleville-Mézières International Festival.
And I will be faithful to this commitment, ensuring the rise of puppets on four National Interest Convention Stages, and increased support for the structuring of two companion venues.
The music sector, as you know, is also at the heart of my concerns.
The 1st Board of Directors of the National Music Centre, chaired by Jean-Philippe Thiellay, was held on January 8. The establishment is therefore operational.
It will continue its action, without breaking continuity of interventions, while preparing the fusion of associations called to join it.
This year, it will receive an additional 7.5 million from the State.
And studies will be launched to help us better understand the issues facing the sector. On the live show, a number of technical subjects had been stuck for a long time.
My responsibility, with the services, is to give credibility to the word of the Ministry of Culture in order to remove obstacles to your activity.
For example, there are security costs.
As you know, the application of the Collomb circular has caused a great deal of concern.
Both headquarters and the DRAC have spent their summer responding, on a case-by-case basis, to situations that are sometimes difficult for festival organizers.
An instruction of the Ministry of the Interior of May 15, 2018 specifies the applicable rules, in order to harmonize the practices of prefects, especially in the cultural field, where this rule is unevenly applied, without precise doctrine.
After the judgment of the Council of State on 31 December last, we decided, together with my colleague from the Interior, to resume the circular in order to make it more suitable.
We will launch a working group soon, in association with professional organizations.
One of those barriers is also the sound decree.
Its application poses difficulties and legal insecurities that are constantly raised by professional organizations.
I proposed an evolution of the decree on certain points, in close consultation with the association Agi-Son, whose work I want to commend.
With the Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition and the Minister of Solidarity and Health, we wanted to put the issue back on the table to get out of this mess.
And we hope to be able to achieve that in the first half of this year.
This common that we will build in our territories, we will build it with creators, artists, but also with audiences. All audiences. Including the younger ones. This is the meaning of arts and cultural education, which we will deploy throughout life. And that’s the meaning of the Culture pass.
We will make it a sharing tool: the way to connect an entire age group through culture. Unlike the title of one of your round tables, the culture pass is not at an impasse.
He’s still experimenting. I assume that experimentation. Experimentation means that things still have to be improved and adjusted. I demand that. I am proud that it is attracting more and more users, and that these users choose many shows and music festivals.
In early April, we will begin an ambitious new phase of deployment. It should make it possible to reach about half of the young people in the age group concerned. And we will allow young people to spend their 500 euros, over two years and not just one year, as originally planned.All these measures, we have thought of in the service of the territories.
Because that’s where our culture lives.
And that’s where we need to put our policies as close as possible to reality. As close as you are to the cultural actors, the communities, and the citizens.
If we want to build “common”, we need to further deconcentrate the department. Distracting doesn’t mean giving up a national policy.
On the contrary, it is adapting it to the territories to make it more relevant and more efficient.
To distract is to act as close as possible to the actors on the ground. This means giving increased responsibilities and additional resources to the regional cultural affairs directorates.
Because I am committed to co-building cultural policies with communities.
I hear your concerns about decentralization.
As I heard the one you expressed a few months ago about the appointments of the leaders of the labelled scenes.
These decisions remain and will remain those of the Minister of Culture.
There will be no additional decentralisation in relation to the current balance between local and regional authorities and the State, as regards cultural issues.
Finally, I still have a fight I want to share with you. The battle for parity and equality. They must become the norm in society as a whole. Addressing gender-based and sexual violence is part of the fight for equality.
We will be adamant about this. In the cultural world, in recent months, a new wave of freedom of speech has started. It encourages us not to let our guard down. To make commitments. To continue the fight.
I’m committed to it.
FESAC is discussing an action plan for equality and against violence in its sectors with the trade unions.
My department has supported and encouraged this work since its inception.
I announced it in November at the Assises de l'égalité et de la diversité dans le cinéma. I have decided to accompany the establishment of an alert and listening cell for victims of violence and sexual and sexist harassment – permanent and intermittent employees of these companies.
This represents 178,000 women. This cell is a crucial step. Because to free speech, we must first free listening. We are making this cell a reality.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you can see, we have many projects in front of us.
I know I can count on your demanding and committed participation.
And you can count on my determination to strengthen the Ministry of Culture, and public policy.
At your service. At the service of culture.