Saving energy: culture will pay the bill

The fine vessel of the Malandain Ballet Biarritz and its 5.3 million budget – plus 40% of its own income – is not immune to the storm. Often on tour…

The fine vessel of the Malandain Ballet Biarritz and its 5.3 million budget – plus 40% of its own income – is not immune to the storm. Often on tour in France and abroad, the company of 22 dancers carries a “significant increase in the cost of travel”, without wanting to give more details. In Jurançon, Stéphane Sapanel, the artistic director of A Tant Rêver du Roi, saw a result at his Ironwork level: the fees demanded by the groups were increasing to cover the increase in fuel.

Often on tour (here with Noé), Malandain Ballet Biarritz faces rising travel costs.

Olivier Houeix

Reproduction rate

On the theater side, the price of electricity is staggering. The luckiest with the current contract, those about to negotiate a new one are being swallowed by blood. In the Jéliote space in Oloron, its director Jackie Challa is looking back in his head: the bill for fluids – heating and electricity – has so far reached 25,000 euros. Tomorrow, what will be the multiplication rate: two, three, four? he was worried.

The artistic and administrative director of La Centrifugeuse, the cultural service of the University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour (UPPA), Vanessa Caque is also on the front line. In the UPPA, the energy bill burdens the budget: between 650,000 and 850,000 € more in 2022 estimated in September Laurent Bordes, the president of the UPPA who embarked on an energy confidence plan. If the subsidies for the Centrifugeuse project remain stable, the allocations will decrease by 20% as for all services, implying savings in the maintenance and operation of buildings in Pau and on the Coast. Basque: “Liquids, cleaning, maintenance…”

“Less money, less purchases”

Artists are in the same boat: inflation drives up the prices of renting a van, building a set… Estimates, fees, are strictly negotiated. “Everything was discussed”, confirmed Yves Kordian.

At stake is the distribution of creations: the cost of electricity makes budgets difficult, and programmers must be forced to reduce the purchase of shows and cultural actions. “The artists will pay, and the public! said Jackie Challa.

In Billère, Cliff Paillé, the founder of the novice and professional theater company Vice Versa in Billère Hé! Psst! is under no illusion: “We will all sell less and be less”. The logic is unstoppable: “There is less money, so there will be fewer purchases…”.

Cliff Paille:

Cliff Paillé: “We will all sell less, and be less”.


“just like home”

Especially since the aftershocks of the energy crisis will still be felt through the cost of subsidies given to structures, studies Olivier Péters, director of Ampli à Billère. Regions, departments, communities of communities… Also suffocated by the cost of energy, the partners of the cultural world seek to save. And “culture is a compressible budget”, regrets Cliff Paillé.

Resistance is a necessity. “You have to have ideas, be creative,” says Yves Kordian, for whom every trip is now a headache. You have to juggle between train, plane with stopover or direct line to keep the travel cost as low as possible.

Everyone does their little thing, even if it seems mocking: lower the temperature, turn off the heating in the event of a prolonged absence, turn off the lights…. “Every day, we do like at home”, sums up Olivier Péters. The current music sector is inevitably vibrant and a joke describes its situation: “Current music is all music that requires electricity to operate! »

18 Circassians

The future also includes LEDs, which work in Oloron, in Ampli, and soon in Centrifugeuse and Espaces Pluriels. But who will finance this change? The cost is actually three times higher than traditional lighting and also indicates a change in the use of the profession, the time to adapt to these new lights warns Carole Rambaud, director for 10 years of Espaces Pluriels , before being handed over at the beginning of 2023.

Streamlining the movements of artists, here the company XY, invited by Espaces Pluriels, is a necessity.

Streamlining the movements of artists, here the company XY, invited by Espaces Pluriels, is a necessity.

Cholette Lefebvre

The rationalization of the tours and the movements of the artists and the sets, this, has returned to habits: “There is a rather intense consciousness in the middle”, observes Carole Rambaud. This is carried out by several rooms in the department and even more: they agree to orchestrate mini-tours. This season, Espaces Pluriels has collaborated with the Théâtre de Gascogne in Mont-de-Marsan to welcome 18 circus performers from the XY company for Möbius.

“The horizon will brighten”

In this storm, we must hold the helm and maintain hope. “The horizon will clear up again,” wants to believe Yves Kordian. Artists also show intelligence. “young creators take advantage of these obstacles to imagine other shows,” testified Vanessa Caque. During the stay at the Centrifugeuse in January, the Bayonnaise Jour de Fête Cie adapts to the possible power outages, his daily life during the stay in Lebanon: “They are planned in the writing of the show…” always creative energy is there. As long as it’s not despair…

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