Today, the Prime Minister went to the Ministry of Culture to meet representatives of the performing arts. It was a first. The gesture, symbolic, is up to the challenge: to save the industry, by specifying the large masses of the aid of 2 billion euros to Culture announced the day before. On the other side of the government table, the protagonists of the various sectors (current music, classical music, theater, dance and puppetry) went there confident but wary.
Last week, at the same ministry, meetings were also held between Roselyne Bachelot and these same representatives. The minister came out strong with one conviction: to deconfin the rooms. What she only got halfway during the last Defense Council. Yes, in the departments which are not in the red zone, the distance (and therefore the vacant seat between spectators or groups of spectators) disappears, which allows the venues to have a surplus of ticketing by presenting shows without any other restriction on the gauge than the general limit to 5,000 people. But the list of departments in the red zone is only growing – Île de France, just like Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux or Toulouse are part of it – and the progress hailed by professionals is ultimately almost of the status quo as as the epidemic gains ground.
“Primacy of the State”
The sector’s last hope therefore lies in this envelope. How will the live show be served? Rather well in reality. The result “Is positive. There is a strong commitment. And that is new, smiles Nicolas Dubourg, president of the Union of artistic and cultural enterprises (Syndéac), reached by phone when leaving the ministry. The Prime Minister insisted on reaffirming the primacy of the State in matters of cultural policy. And, beyond the amounts, insisted on the question of how: no question of putting gas plants back in place, but on the contrary of finding solutions so that the money is spent quickly, until 2022, and according to the needs.” Adding that, otherwise, it would be “Redeployed”.
Aurélie Hannedouche, general delegate of the Syndicat des musiques nouvelles (SMA), and representative of a sector at a complete standstill (standing concerts) also salutes the determination of the executive: “With the Minister, he listened to more than twenty organizations, gave a very mobilized, very concerned speech, saying in substance: culture is France, but it is also an economic sector. We will help you to continue to face up to it, help companies to resume their activity and not serve as a crutch for inactivity. ” Even if, moreover, a budget will compensate, via a mechanism to be put in place, the losses suffered during confinement.
Three main sectors
Aid for live shows announced yesterday would represent some 432 million euros in this envelope of 2 billion. And are directed to two major sectors: 220 million for private shows, including music (1), and 200 million for subsidized shows. “All this excluding the white year for intermittent workers and the financing of partial unemployment type activities. We are really on the recovery ”, adds Hannedouche.
In the share allocated to public theater, 100 million euros should be devoted to national operators (Paris Opera and the five national theaters), 30 to regional institutions (CDN), 30 to orchestras, ensembles and festivals, 20 for the ecological transition, 12 to finance artistic creation and employment (companies) … “It is now up to the unions to ensure that the recovery concerns artists, permanent staff and serves to defend employment”, adds Nicolas Dubourg.
“Very good announcements”
Aid for music will be entrusted to the recent National Music Center (CNM), to relieve the entire industry, record and live, producers, authors and broadcasters. “There is a real effort on the music, continues Aurélie Hannedouche. In addition, we have had confirmation of a strengthening and extension of tax credits until 2024 ”, instead of 2022. The Board of Directors of the CNM, of which she is a member, “Should meet in October to decide on the breakdown of this aid”.
The question of distance in theaters in the red zone was also raised. The unions believe that maintaining limited gauges while relaunching the live performance would prove unproductive while giving a bad image of the sector. “The fact that I did not manage to write down the answer to this question from the Prime Minister shows that there was a vagueness”, smiles a protagonist. Nicolas Dubourg notes: “We are happy with the reaffirmation of the role of the state. The ball is now rue de Valois as to the device. “ Joined by Aurélie Hannedouche, who concludes: “The announcements are very good. We will see if the production meets our expectations. “
(1) And not outside the musical sector which would collect an additional 200 million, as we had written yesterday by mistake according to the figures given by the participants.