L’Avant Courrier Internal Gazette #1 – June, 2022

EDITO

Hello everyone!
This is the first gazette of L’Avant Courrier which we hope will be biannual.
The aim is to let you know about what’s going on; we will be sending the gazette to the artistic teams we work with and more widely to the people with whom we collaborate including the board and Nolwenn’s grandmother of course.
The format is slightly privy though it may be more formal since we will also include legal content or organisational decisions that have an impact on the projects we work on.
We believe this gazette can be an interesting place to pass on information and deal with topics we don’t have many opportunities to talk to you about unfortunately.
These are the in-house arrangements of the Avant Courrier, a hotchpotch of the organisation’s major decisions, important meetings, from the breaking news to the sometimes most crunchy boring info describing our days at the office.
We hope you’ll enjoy!
We’ll keep it simple this time because we’ve got heaps to tell you and not much time to do so.
Let’s hope the next gazette in autumn will be a little loler.
With lots of love.

1# WHATHAPPENED ?

Upcoming: Viivi Roiha, Cirque du Docteur Paradi, Natalie Oleinik and Pauline Dau

What a spring! What a spring! How proud we are seeing here listed on paper the new projects we are starting to work on. But as Nolwenn said during our last long-courrier: “This is not the time to slacken!”

So here we are:

We are launching the production of Viivi’s new show, a solo on a mini rope, a new apparatus of which she is exploring every potentiality. It will premiere at the beginning of 2024. We are currently working at building an international production between France and other countries. We have recently applied to CIRCUSNEXT 2022-2023 platform. This is quite a challenge. Keep your fingers crossed, we’ll let you know!

We met (re-met, to be more precise) circus artist Natalie Oleinik when she moved to Nantes. We have decided to collaborate with her on her new project. An unusual one since it is not a show but an unconventional sort of workshop for circus school students. With it comes a booklet based on her thoughts on improvisation techniques which she designed and illustrated herself.

We welcome Pauline Dau and her new project with open arms. This is a long-term production since it will premiere at the end of 2025. Pauline will reflect on the concept of origins and belonging to a land but also on generational transmission and child emancipation. Toot toot, Pinzutus, we’re leaving for Corsica!

We will start a new collaboration with Cirque du Docteur Paradi and organise the touring of their production Les Petits Bonnets (We like it, we like it! but who doesn’t?). A co-realisation was already planned in Avignon in July to open up new touring perspectives. We won’t have time to start our collaboration the way we are supposed to – and we realize this is essential to work well together – so we’ll start off with a short assignment during their stay in Avignon and will wait until the autumn to begin a long-term collaboration. The icing on the cake: the Avant Courrier is very happy to take up a big top production again!

AC part of the study group on regional performing arts centers PANA + PSVPL

These are two major projects for the creation of regional performing arts centers in the region:

PANA (Pôle des Arts Nomades Augmenté) is a megaproject – however not useless – that involves people working in the field of circus and street arts. This center should be completed by 2028 in the new Doulon Gohars district in Nantes thereby offering residency, training and building spaces as well as an area for a big top and offices. The Quai des Chaps collective has been working on it for the past ten years. According to the ambition of the city of Nantes to involve more professionals from the circus sector, it is now at the head of a committee of ten circus and street arts organisations. Nolwenn represents the Avant Courrier in several study groups (there is also La Volte, Quai des chaps, Pauline, Curios…) and has joined the steering group recently.

PSVPL stands for “Pôle Spectacle Vivant en Pays de la Loire” in prefiguration. Until now, there have been such centres for music, cinema, literature and heritage, but not for the performing arts. What we’re talking about here is a resources-network-tracking tool for multidisciplinary performing arts in the region. The aim of this new structure is to report the needs in the field to the local authorities, be attentive of major developments etc… Good news, same same, Nolwenn is in the pipeline! Bad news, we are making sentences with PANA and PSVPL in the office.

Mileage reimbursement

Gas oil gate ! The Avant Courrier mileage committee strikes back.
The new rules for mileage reimbursement at the Avant Courrier are applicable to all the employees as of today and will be included in the rules and regulations.

  • 1st rate: class 1 vehicles except small vans: 0.30€/km
  • 2nd rate: small vans + class 1 towing vehicles (excluding small vans): 0.45€/km
  • 3rd rate: class 2 vehicles (including large vans); small vans towing: 0.55€/km
  • 4th rate: class 3 vehicles; class 2 vehicles towing: 0.65€/km
    Towing vehicles = with caravan or trailer

At the same time, we have set new rules for ourselves:

→ we choose to use public transport when it is possible.
→ Only one vehicle to be used for the transport of the set. Some exceptions can be made occasionally.
→ If someone uses or needs a vehicle when public transport is possible, reimbursement will be based on the cost of public transport.
→ Bicycle mileage reimbursement under study in 2022-23.

Solidarity fund

The Avant Courrières have set up an internal solidarity fund at the Avant Courrier!
We’ve been thinking about it for a long time, we’ve been working on it, we’re happy to make it official here!
During the pandemic, we went through many tricky situations in particular when dealing with the Covid pass and then the vaccination passport. That’s when we decided to set up an internal solidarity fund for our delegated productions.
We wouldn’t leave it at that though. As circus producers, we wanted to think about a basic system guaranteeing support to projects facing unexpected risk. We’re not talking about insuring common hazards, this is about developing a solidarity system to help productions that are faced with difficulties.
We’ll leave it at that, however if you want to learn more about it, call us anytime that we can speak about it!

Human Wealth, hell yeah!

Over the last year, Nolwenn followed a long-term training course with La Belle Ouvrage on the subject of Human Resources. What a Pandora’s box hadn’t she opened!
Since then, we’ve seen HR issues in every place, every project, every working group… HR are everywhere! Except that nobody’s qualified.
There’s a lot to say on the topic. However if we need to be concise, we’ll say only this: Sandra Ribeill (who’s also the tour manager of David Rolland company in Nantes) has agreed to coach the Avant Courrier on the subject of Human Resources. She’s here when Nolwenn imparts knowledge to us, participates in some of our workshops on HR and takes part in our private interviews as well as recruitment, things we worked out amongst ourselves so far. We very much appreciate her precious input. Thank you, Sandra!

2# BUTWHATISGOINGON ?

Drafting AC’s rules and regulations

What can’t you find in Nantes that you can find in Rennes? Crepes with sausages in it, the traditional dish ? Punks with dogs on Place Sainte Anne? Perpetual drizzle? Mystery remains. Nonetheless, Anne has made up her mind and will be heading back to Rennes in September. The decision we made collectively last autumn led us to set new principles regarding our organisation at work, at times sharing the office in Nantes and at times working from home. A new organisation which concerns us all beyond Anne’s case.
Drafting a charter on remote working, we soon realised that we were in the process of establishing fundamentals of working rules and regulations which not only allowed us to clarify remote working but also better define other operations, needs and working groups.
There’s still work to be done! (human health, hell yeah!)

Reflection on services packages

Since its creation, the Avant Courrier has offered services which rates are based on a monthly fee, on the volume of business and a pourcentage of office and touring management. Eight years have passed, the public debt has increased, petrol has soared, the price of wood has quadrupled and our fees have remained unchanged. In short, we’ve decided it’s time to look into our pricing policy and packages.
To be clear and transparent, increasing our fees seems a necessary step to ensure a good working environment, continue structuring our organisation, transform one or two more fixed-term contracts into permanent posts and remain in a global coherence. We’ll tell you more after summer.

A new website in September

This says it all.

Be ready for its launching mid-September!

Professional meeting LES AVANT CURIEUX: brainwork + save the date

Festival or not festival? A decision had to be made. This was at the beginning of the year when the vaccination passport knocked us down a bit more and ethical questions brought up by these measures increased our fatigue. In order to pick ourselves back up, we decided to do less but do it all the same!
Maintaining a one-day professional meeting allows us to showcase regional artists and serve our promotion and touring activities.
October 6th 2022, professional meeting at ONYX >> Save the date and come and meet some new colleagues!
More info coming soon

Wanted : New place for L’Avant Courrier

There’s a lot of grumbling in the office thatthereisnoroom, thatwearetoofarfromthetoilets, thatannetalksloudlyonthephone, thatthereisnodaylightintheoffice, and whatisthisrubbishaboutahappinessmanager etc. etc..
When our office neighbours, Pop media – a non-profit radio station – organised their first training course to learn how to find the appropriate tone on the radio, we waved the white flag. One whole week of hearing throaty noises in all tessituras would have had the same effect on you for sure.
In short, we are actively discussing with the City of Nantes (Nantes Aménagement) in order to occupy a space in the former Mellinet infirmaries (for those of you who don’t live in Nantes, this is the wasteland near the Grand T where 2020 festival took place) which we would continue to share with our colleagues from Curios and two other structures. It is a very large and bright building located in the heart of Nantes. They don’t seem to be in a hurry whereas we call them every week and we have already packed up. If everything goes well, we’ll move in the autumn.

PHOTO BOOK ♥♥♥

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