Compagnie José Besprosvany

Brussels, Belgium

Culture sub-Program


Deadline: END 2019

Cultural operator: Compagnie José Besprosvany

Short description

The Company José Besprosvany has been founded in 1986. With the help of its choreographer and stage director, it has always pursued a reflection and search around the intertwining of choreographic and theatrical creation, the aim of which being the development of art works providing a new connection between, and a fresh gaze on , movement, music and text.

These last years, the Company’s work has orientated itself around two significant guidelines, namely the infinite variations of the relationship between movement and narration on the one hand, and the search for openness towards extra-European cultures on the other. These two lines have guided the Company’s artistic work through projects that might appear to be very different at first sight yet find a coherence in the questioning they rely upon and the content they seek to cover.

This is how this aim for aesthetical, formal, or dramaturgic decompartmentalization has allowed for the creation of unexpected shows, as eclectic as uncategorizable.

Contact details

José Besprosvany:




The Company’s project

In 2017, the Company presented Antigone by Sophocles at the Royal Theatre of Brussels first, and at the Aula Magna of Louvain-La-Neuve thereafter, in a version emphasizing religious radicalization; an issue close to the Company’s heart. The show reached an audience of 17603

people, amongst which 5019 were students. Close to 35 pedagogical activities have been conducted in schools. The aim was to explore the show’s problematic by inquiring whether the religious law preached by Antigone was to have supremacy over the law advocated by the Head of State, regardless of the latter overt injustice. Convinced by the pedagogical reach inherent to the play, the Company has taken the initiative to enter in a collaboration with several teachers from Brussels and Wallonia, whose students had attended the show. The subject has been deepened with the help of the teachers within their curriculum and the students sensitized to such issues.

As a result, in October 2017, at the Wallonia-Brussels’ Federation Parliament, around 80 jury-selected students came to present their proposals to resolve issues linked to secularity in front of notable Belgian political personalities such as, amongst others, the Minister-President Rudy Demotte.

Due to the fruitful outcome of this ambitious project and its great success, the Company got convinced that through scenic arts and the extension of all narrative forms, a new pedagogical tool could be elaborated to encourage young people’s involvement in such urging issues and incite them to develop their own reflection as citizens.

That is why the Company has decided to embrace its new project: Antigone 2.0. By taking into account that the concept of secularity is still too superficially covered in Belgian education in the eyes of the Company, and that it is yet believed to be a useful tool to help creating a safe space for listening, meeting, offer everyone the right to be heard in order to ensure a better vivre-ensemble and fight fundamentalism, the Company believes that the reach of this project deserves to be extended.

To this end, the original text of the play has been re-adapted to be performed by 3 characters: Antigone, Creon and a narrator. While, the story would be presented in its integrality, the focus would stand on this initiative’s main questioning, i.e. the obedience to a Law and its categorization between a law dictated by a statesman and one that ensues from a religious belief. This light approach could be performed in any environment, be presented in schools and welcome around 50 students for each performance.

The writing work consisted in summarizing the story by having both characters sharing their perspectives, the latter being complemented by the narrator’s comments on their actions, as well as the other characters’ perspectives. The reflection dividing Creon and Antigone on the relative supremacy of one law with regards to the other is central to the play, due to the significant societal relevance of such issue nowadays. The text has been modernized in order to make accessible and more topical. All of the initial characters are conserved

through the narrator’s tales, though Tirésias would incarnate a religious fundamentalist playing the role of a puppeteer; indoctrinating Antigone and pushing her to defy the Law of the State in the name of the divine law. The length of the play would be of less than an hour.

After having seen the play, the same reflective enterprise as in the last project would be put in place with the help of the teachers and of the show’s artistic team. Such enterprise consists of, inter alia:

- Reflections on secularity and contextual setting with regards to the students’ personal experiences.

- Teaching about the division of powers and what the redaction of parliamentary proposal implies.

- Redaction of such proposal with the aim to promote and improve the adhesion to the values vehiculated by secularity.

- Presentation of the best selected proposals in front of the Wallonia-Brussels’ Federation Parliament.

- Q&A with politicians around the topic of secularity.

- Awarding of the Secularity Price to the best selected work through a jury selection.

- Streaming of the event on an online platform for those who cannot attend or have interest in the subject.

The European project

The aim of the project is to trigger a reflection on secularity as a European value for future generations. While individual countries have their own legislation on secularism and the separation between church and state, it is vital to teach young people that local, national and European law always prevails over religious law. Similarly, the act of drafting a parliamentary resolution is a good way to initiate young people to democracy.

The role of each partner will be to organise performances of the reworked version of Antigone at schools in the town or region where the project takes place, and a competition on secularity that would ideally take place in a parliament. The partners would invite elected representatives from each town, region or country to meet the students at this occasion for a question and answers session on secularism, the issues it raises, and possible solutions. The winning pupils would then come to Brussels to meet European Union politicians to debate on this question.

The project corresponds to several of the programme’s objectives:

- It develops new audiences because it takes the theatre into schools, presenting an accessible, classic play to young students, and giving them a taste for the dramatic arts, Ancient Greek culture and its

universal themes.

- It promotes the dissemination of an artistic event through digital channels by posting the parliament event on social networks.

- It puts the accent on education because it creates an innovative tool to reflect on the issue of secularity by combining theatrical performance with education.

- It could contribute to intercultural dialogue and the social integration of migrants and refugees because the performances and educational work could also take place in classes featuring newcomers to each of the European countries participating in the project.

The search for partners comes under the frame of smaller scale cooperation projects.

Partners currently involved in the project:

Partnership with the Theatre Royal du Parc of Brussels (Belgium)

Partners searched

Countries: All eligible countries

Profile: Theater venues or companies

They are not you interested in participating in other EU projects as a partner

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