Rencontres de boîtes

titre RDB english site projet


Participatory, group project

Box Meetings offers something for everybody, and is open to all types of people, from whichever walk of life. The main focus is the quality of the human relationships that are forged throughout the creative process, as well as the opportunity to share such a powerful experience from day one of the workshop, all the way up to the final performances given in front of an audience.

The workshop

The workshop is designed, in part, to create a group dynamic, but also to teach a set of theatrical tools. The workshop leaders are there to help the participants build up their own personal story, to encourage them to open up and share those stories, but also to dare to unveil their weaknesses in front of an audience.

The performances

They arrive in small groups, each with a shoebox wedged firmly under their arm. Speaking in unknown languages, they actively draw in the audience by staring deeply into our eyes – we who appear so foreign to them. Then, they open up their boxes and their hearts to show us the assortment of different objects within. A key becomes a bird, a wine cork becomes an anti-personnel mine, a label is turned into a lake…

artistic director’s statement

 The Box meetings are not a form of performance show,
and the aim is not to reach a level of artistic excellence.
They provide a means by which people can meet,
human to human, in the most sensitive and sincerest way possible.
They give the participants the courage to open themselves up,
to accept the challenge of revealing their weaknesses
to the eyes of others, and to evade the rule
imposed by the social consensus that dictates
that one should hide one’s true self.
Whatever emotions come out, they are ‘real treasures.’
Quite unlike a polished, accomplished performance,
the artistic value of these meetings is constantly being brought
into play by all of the participants...


 a show by Barthélemy Bompard
artistic direction Barthélemy Bompard

 created and performed by Dominique Bettenfeld, Eric Blouet, Barthélemy Bompard, Thérèse Bosc, Jean-Pierre Charron, Stéphane Civet, Céline Damiron, Marie-Pascale Grenier, Cyril Levi-Provençal, Dominique Moysan,
Nicolas Quilliard & Judith Thiébaut

 artistic file

For further information on the project, please read the artistic file :  icone pdf 512

Arts promotion and financial aids

L'Abattoir de Chalon-sur-Saône, l’Atelier 231 - Sotteville-lès-Rouen, Amiens Métropole - Le Hangar, Centre National de Création des Arts de la Rue, Culture Commune- scène nationale de Loos-en-Gohelle, Festival international de théâtre de rue d’Aurillac, Lieux Publics, Les Pronomade(s) en Haute-Garonne and the Scène nationale d’Annecy.

With the support of Institut français, Centre Culturel français de Belgrade, Centre Culturel français de Skopje,  DGCA,  DRAC Rhône-Alpes,  Région Rhône-Alpes and the Service de Coopération et d’Action Culturelle de Tirana.

video photos

Teaser "Les Rencontres de boîtes" - 2017 – Benoist Lhuillery / – 2’33


Video of  " Box meeting " - 2005 – Sens 2 K – 13’43

les rencontres de boîtes les rencontres de boîtes
les rencontres de boîtes les rencontres de boîtes
les rencontres de boîtes les rencontres de boîtes

les rencontres de boîtes les rencontres de boîtes

press / TV review


Some of them come from Africa wearing flimsy clothing and sandals, others come from Eastern Europe or the Balkans, with scarves on their heads, faces weather-beaten by the sun. Two by two, they face each other and present shoeboxes, containing lying within relics from their past lives. A crumpled road map, amulets, a suspender belt, a plaque engraved with an unknown inscription, stones, sand, a book. Each of them in turn, one after the other, speaks in a foreign language about his or her possession and existence. The person listening, seated opposite, agrees, smiles or goes up in arms, without really understanding what is being said. The audience wanders about, coming up against different dialects, trying to decipher what is being played out.
Pushing the archetypes of poverty to the furthest heights of realism (chipped nail polish, cheap clothes, obscure dialects), these meetings stand the observer face to face with incomprehension and chaos: being incapable of picking up on exactly what is being played out before his eyes, he ambles from one table to the next, and in turn, is thrown into the exodus himself. Even the confines of theatre lose all of their bearings. Thanks to these duos, which appear to the audience like transient sculptures, Kumulus manages to dissolve the stage and break it up into a sea of little islands. The show surrenders all forms of narration to adopt instead a language in flux.


Portrait of Exodus (A Europe of Migrants?)

Box meetings, by the Kumulus theatre company open with a disaster scenario: "You are being evicted from your homes. You have five minutes to gather up your personal belongings… everything must fit into a shoebox." The story unfolds in the form of a series of face-to-face meetings between two actors, a mini theatre of objects acted out on ordinary tables.

These tales were initially used as the material to create End(s)less Route in 2003, and then later went on to provide inspiration for Box meetings, which are conceived to be a moment in which to meet and talk, interaction between generations and communities. Barthélemy Bompard is not making reference to any particular conflict: the woes of the world are all mixed in together, and all seem to deserve getting a hearing, in made-up languages and in mute narratives, all of them universally understandable.

These "story boxes" go on a voyage from one country to another: in an era where communication takes place in real time, is this a way of holding off time and turning it into human time?

VI festival international (Spain)

Box Meetings opens up a space in which to address the issue of self, and to meet others, which according to the company’s director Barthélemy Bompard « is the only way in which the world can function a bit better. »

The Nation (Sri Lanka)

The fishing village of Dodanduwa has never been as noisy as it was at the finale of last week's innovative performance of Box Meetings by internationally renowned French theatre company; Kumulus. The final performance on Thursday received not only a stand up ovation from the packed audience, but also enthusiastic cheers and whistles.
Box Meetings was created from the real experiences of its French and Sri Lankan cast and examined the notion of dreams and aspirations while also exploring fundamental questions about life. Kumulus Artistic Director, Barthemely Bompard said, "It was such a memorable experience, working with the people of  Dodanduwa. To have achieved so much in such a short time was amazing, and it was satisfying to see the erid result, with everyone putting in so much effort and energy into the show."

Dundee Courier and Avertiser (Scotland)

As part of Big in falkirk 2005, Scotland's National Street Art festival, an opportunity as arisen for volunteers to take part to the UK premiere of a peformance by French compagny Kumulus.
One of France's most renowned street arts organisations, Kumulus examine social, political, economic and racial problems for inspiration.  They have a fresh and unique approach to producing innovative work and are keen to work with interested individuals of any age.

La Provence

Directed by Barthélemy Bompard, the company decided a few years back to go travelling across countries in exile, and above all across Europe, collecting up the tales of peoples’ experiences along the way, whether they be Serbian, Albanian, Macedonian, Turkish …. And therein lay the seeds of a form of theatre that is both profoundly simple and human, where it is no longer necessary to speak the same language in order to be understood.
Stories are revealed around the table by means of basic sentimental essentials, and a form of dialogue sparks off quite naturally, almost by itself, centered on the theme of fleeing in exile. This appetite for sharing is what has brought the company to offer today a participative form of theatre. An opportunity to grab…

technical requirements

performance specifications

This show involves a touring company of 6 to 11 people in total, including 5 to 10 actors and one producer.

equipment and space required

a rehearsal room measuring at least 100 to 150 m2 (for the number of participants 
from 6 to 20 people)
1 small square table (1 m x 1 m) for 2 people (e.g.: for 20 people 10 tables are required), 2 chairs per table.
Tablecloths made out of kraft paper if tables not good looking
A paper lantern or candle to put on each table if the performance take place during night.
Atmospheric lighting adapted the performance area (to be seen...) if the performance take place during night.

performance area

A covered market, gymnasium, museum, station concourse... and outdoor spaces such as a marketplace, pedestrianized street, public square, car park… (200 to 400 m2)

stage set-up

Approximately 30 min needed for the set-up and 30 min for breakdown.
An additional person needed for the set-up and breakdown of the set.

performance details

Night performance preferably
Duration: approximately 1 hour

dressing room

A backstage area (50 m2 at least - depending of the number of participants) is to be located nearby, and should include toilet facilities, tables, chairs and mirrors.
Catering is to be provided in the dressing room before each performance, and for each day of the workshop.
Large bottles of water


Quiet accommodation is to be provided for 6 to 11 people in a calm area, preferably in the town centre (near the performance aera), in a 2-star hotel minimum.
The days of the performance a diner for all the participants (local participants and artists).

previous dates

Les Rencontres de boites

In France

Saison de Bonlieu, Scène nationale, Annecy (74)
Saison de Lieux publics, Centre National de Création,  Marseille (13) *
Saison de l’Abattoir, C.N.A.R., Chalon-sur-Saône (71)
Temps Fort de Quelques p’Arts… le SOAR - C.N.A.R,
Boulieu-lès-Annonay (07)
Festival les Invites - C.N.A.R., Villeurbanne (69)
Atelier 231 - C.N.A.R, Sotteville-lès-Rouen (76) *
Saison des Tombées de la nuit, Rennes (35)
Saison du Forum Jacques Prévert,
Carros (06)
Festival Travellings – Lieux publics, Marseille (13)
Itinérance Rue, Paris (75)
Saison du Cratère, Scène Nationale, Alès (30)
Saison de Furies, Châlons-en-Champagne (51)
Saison du Parc de la Villette, Paris (75)
Festival Parades, Nanterre (92)
Festival Quartiers libres, Grenoble (38)
Festival la Folle Histoire des Arts de la Rue, Velaux (13)
Saison de la Ville de Niort, Niort (79)
Caravane du Conseil Général de la Drôme, Die (26)
Festival de l’Oh !, Champigny-sur-Marne (94)
Culture des autres / Onyx - La Carrière, St-Herblain (44)
Saison de TambourDanSens, Sens (89)
Festival Cergy Soit !, Cergy (95)
Festival les Expressifs, Poitiers (86)
Festival FITA, Grenoble (38)


Festival Croisements - France-China 50, Beijing, Wuhan and Zhuhai (China)
Festival Rendez vous chez nous,
Ouagadougou and Komsilga (Burkina Faso)
Festival Teatro Container, Valparaíso (Chile)
Saison du Rex
,  Belgrade (Serbia) 
Semaverkumpanya,  Istanbul (Turkey)  
Théâtre Municipal, Izmit (Turkey) 
Musée de la Ville, Skopje (Macedonia) 
Festival Pilotobe(s),  Agadez (Niger)
Centre culturel, Zinder et Niamey (Niger) 
Festival La Strada, Graz (Austria) *
Festival UZ Events -  Falkirk (Scotland) *
Festival de Teatro y Artes de Calle, Valladolid (Spain) *
The Chadrasevena Ceation Centre, Dodandduwa (Sri Lanka)     
Festival Passage,  Helsingør, Køkkedal et Fredenborg (Denmark)
Institut français,  Dakar, Saint-Louis et Kaolak (Senegal)


* as part of the IN SITU – the European Network for developing artistic projects in public areas.

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