Meeting with Sandrina Martins, Executive Director of le Carreau du Temple, a place where all the arts converge.

♦ How did le Carreau du Temple experience the coronavirus crisis?

We've been busy.

Since 20 March, le Carreau du Temple has been a nerve centre for the homeless and vulnerable in the capital. We put our hall at the disposal of the SAMU social and the Aurore association.

We have a great advantage with our large halls, we are an ideal place at the time of Covid-19.

Throughout the confinement, food baskets and basic necessities were distributed: hygiene kits, warm clothing, blankets.

We will continue until the end of June.

♦ What's happening right now at le Carreau?

We are thinking about the future of the Tile. We are already in the quarter-hour project. This idea that says that for life to be simpler, everyone must have local services ten minutes away from home.

We are already proposing this approach of cultural proximity with sports and artistic activities and our contemporary dance scene which attracts spectators and professionals alike.

Since the deconfinement, we have reopened our doors to artistic residences. Because for professional artists, lack of training is a major problem.

This is why we have also rethought the access to our space dedicated to art videos, Videobox, located in the basement of le Carreau du Temple. As access to the space is impossible for the public, we have transposed our exhibitions to our YouTube channel so that the largest possible number of people can enjoy them.

At the moment a virtual exhibition created in partnership with the Neuflize OBC corporate collection is on view until the end of July.

And we also had to reinvent access, for example, to the sports classes usually held in our basements. We devised a system of online dance classes, Let's dance, which is broadcast free of charge on our YouTube channel.

Every week, every Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m., a dance class is broadcast live (and then replayed) until June 24th. Charleston, salsa, hip-hop, contemporary dance, all facets of dance are offered thanks to the help of our partner associations.

♦ What courses can be taken at le Carreau du Temple at this time?

You can watch a replay of a hip-hop class, a parent/child contemporary dance class and a Charleston class. Wednesday, make way for Booty Therapy!

Some individual practice classes that don't require contact between people, such as yoga, will be starting again, hopefully soon.

♦ What about the event?

I wonder if the event planners are going to continue with the big raids. But at le Carreau du Temple it's the events, such as fashion shows, fairs etc. that bring in money and allow us to have an ambitious cultural programme.

We are particularly known for our advanced contemporary dance programming.

♦ When's the Covid-19 return to cultural life?

For live performance the real question is how will we welcome the audience? Won't people be afraid to sit next to a stranger? Because distancing in a theatre is complicated.

This crisis forces us to reinvent ourselves, to think about how we will function, without waiting for help from the state.

Fortunately, we learned of Christophe Girard's commitment to pay twelve million euros to all the cultural actors in Paris. That is a sum of 10% more than the city's annual allocation.

More generally, I am worried in the short term but I am also optimistic. Because sooner or later people will want to enjoy the performing arts, the cinema, the direct link to the artist is irreplaceable.

♦ What about the artists who were supposed to perform at le Carreau du Temple?

The artists are doing the job, they're already back at work. They're thinking about the world after Covid-19.

On Zoom, we've taken up our cycle on the environment in a different vein, in a videoconference with the climatologist Jean Jouzel, because this issue is at the heart of what's happening on our planet.

Next year, from the first weekend in September, the subject will be the connection to nature, to life.

♦ Exactly, what are the appointments for September's back-to-school season?

     • Saturday 5 September is the day of the associations, the appointment to discover and meet the associations that provide sports and artistic practice courses at le Carreau.

     • Sunday 6 September is the 2020 edition of the festival Les Traversés du Marais, we welcome the impressive architectural performance of Johann Le Guillerm.

     • Like the regulars, we are looking forward to Food Temple, our signature event which takes place from September 25 to 27 and which will be dedicated this year to African cuisines.

 We're probably going to have to change everything from hosting the 13,000 people that an event like Food Temple attracts.

Today the rule is to leave 4m2 around each person. So we will only be able to have 300 people instead of 1,000 in an instant. However, an event or a show is only profitable if the room is 65% full.

The most complicated thing is to have to make a commitment with many uncertainties. One question we are wondering is: will we be able to open in September?

Because so far we've had to cancel six months of events, shows we've worked on for a year sometimes.

However, we know how to adapt. We don't feel sorry for ourselves, because all cultural venues are going through this crisis.

In the provinces, some places are not going to open until the end of the year. I am sad for them.

Text : Katia Barillot
Cover picture : ©Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

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