YPAL Encounters 2022 in Reims

Interview YPAL led by Julia & Candice

Members of the Young Performing Art Lovers (YPAL) community had a long-awaited meeting once again in  La Comédie, CDN of Reims, immersing themselves in the theater and dance performances offered by the FARaraway- Festival des Arts à Reims. This weekend was all about the embraces of old friends and new acquaintances, exploring the topics of democracy, climate, tourism, dance and storytelling through and with each other, sharing different perspectives on familiar experiences. This year, we asked the members of the network, new and old, about how they see the community and what the future may hold for it.

YPAL Encounters 2022 in Reims
© crédit photo : Julie Greffin, La Comédie de Reims

Multiculturalism, various perspectives, and strong connections are at the heart of YPAL, as our interviews confirmed. The common passion for theater and arts as well as the open-minded, genuine spirit of the participants forms an immediate sense of community while the new experiences and viewpoints spur interesting thoughts, conversations, and projects. It becomes a safe space of free exchange, creativity, “keys that they may give back”, indeed a legacy to cherish and grow together and on our own when we return.

These connections transgress borders and are strengthened by the novelty of different cultures and ways of thinking, approaching theater. Hence all the members see how this meeting builds a sense of European community, respect, and solidarity. Theater and arts open up a space for open discussion and collaboration between the public and artists about public issues which may inspire engagement and activism in democracy. These experiences make us feel what others go through, thus cultivating awareness and sensitivity. What is more, it is an artistic, social, and political project which deals with cultural tourism and sustainability at its core.

Hence we wondered how to ensure that more young art-lovers get involved in such an exceptional community. Some emphasized that it is good for the community to grow naturally, by encouraging people to invite those they know and would share the spirit of the programme, while others highlighted that it would be good to do more communication on social media and maybe participate in Erasmus projects so that it could reach more people. Others had the idea of promoting it in universities, theaters, other cultural festivals and the places the participants are coming from. Certainly, if people saw our projects in process, programmes and activities, many would gain interest due to their accessibility and vibrance.

How do they see the future of the encounters? The majority of the response was to have more of it, make it longer, make it more intense with more workshops, maybe at different times so that they can attend more. Besides having more of what the programme is all about, many had interesting ideas and projects to make it grow. Some suggested having programmes in different cities, more projects throughout the year or a long-term common creation of an artistic piece. Keeping in touch could also happen online, on the blog or on social media by sharing reviews of shows we have seen and what we are working on at home. Others noted discussing more subjects, workshops led by the organizers, other artists, or even spending a night at least in Paris.

They would also be excited to extend the project with artistic residencies, maybe having meetings twice a year, or creating a long-term project on the same subject together and having a show at the end. Some would love to see projects about sharing cultural food or one participant had the idea of organizing a workshop about body awareness, listening to each other, and creating connections in movement. They would also be interested in learning about what is behind the scenes of the theater, how to organize it, and sharing expertise in the field.

This shows that YPAL is realized by people’s active engagement and creativity and it evolves through their imagination. What came through during all of these interviews was that participants already awaited the time they could meet and share their enthusiasm and good spirits once again. Perhaps letting the programme grow and having more young art-lovers participate will preserve what works so well, just it may be more intense, diverse, wherever their collective imagination takes them together.

Julia and Candice