1963: an ideal of culture for all
Opened in 1963, the Bourges House of Culture was inaugurated by André Malraux, Minister of Cultural Affairs, in 1964.
In 1961, the first house of culture was born in Le Havre at the initiative of André Malraux, then minister of cultural affairs. As the booklet published by the Ministry of Culture on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary reminds us, the adventure of the houses of culture is carried by an ideal, that of culture for all, and by a utopia, that of “elitist culture for all”.
With this project, Malraux also affirms its ambition of cultural decentralization initiated by the pioneers of dramatic decentralization but struggling to find its place in the face of Parisian supremacy.
From 1992 onwards, the label «national scene» unify a reference network built through various stages: the houses of culture in 1962, the centers of cultural action in 1971 and the centers of cultural development in 1982.
The activities of any national scene are organized around three main missions (Creation / Dissemination / Cultural Action) corresponding to three areas of responsibility (see specifications and missions annexed to the circular of 31 August 2010):
-> a responsibility artistic : the director must propose a multidisciplinary program representing the main currents of current production but also the most singular artistic approaches.
-> a responsibility public which results in the permanent consideration given to a territory and its population, in all their particular components.
-> A responsibility professional :
Heiresses of the houses of culture, the national scenes, after having played an exemplary role for the cultural development of the territory, have acquired today a new responsibility of training, and references for the vast landscape of artistic creation and dissemination that surrounds them.
There are currently 70 national stages in France, including 4 in the Centre region: Equinoxe in Châteauroux, the Centre culture blésois (Halle aux grains) in Blois, the Théâtre d'Orléans and the Maison de la culture in Bourges.
In 1961, Gabriel Monnet left the Comédie de Saint-Etienne and created his own company "La compagnie de Bourges" in Bourges, which two years later became the Centre dramatique national. Initially installed in the municipal theatre, Bourges' comedy moved in 1963 to the Maison de la Culture officially inaugurated on April 18, 1964 by André Malraux (Minister of State for Cultural Affairs).
During the events of May-June 68, the Maison de la Culture was on strike and Gabriel Monnet supported the students. The denunciation by the Boisdé municipality in July 1968 of all the contracts linking the city to the Comédie de Bourges and the Maison de la Culture marks the end of relations between Gabriel Monnet and the municipality.
Gabriel Monnet left Bourges with his team at the end of the season to head the Centre Dramatique National de Nice on 5 January 1969. Bourges' comedy disappears. Max Croce succeeds Gabriel Monnet to the MCB.
The house of culture of Bourges becomes "national scene" under the direction of Henri Massadau (1981-1996)
(1) Culture 1959-2009: 50 years - Ministère de la culture et de la communication, 2009, 124p. Published as part of the national celebrations.
Malraux and De Gaulle at the MCB - 1965 (source INA)
Alfred Depège first president of the MCB - 1982 (source: Ciclic)
20th anniversary of the Maison de la Culture de Bourges - 1983 [interview G Monnet] (source: Ciclic)