The GdRA was founded in 2005 by Christophe Rulhes (playwright, stage director, musician) and Julien Cassier (acrobat, choreographer, set designer). Shortly after, they invited Sébastien Barrier (actor), Pedro Theuriet (sound designer), Céline Sathal (costume designer), Adèle Grepinet (light designer) and David Löchen (stage manager) to join them on their first project (2007). Together, they moulded a multidisciplinary theatre characterised by a straightforward and spontaneous way of addressing the audience. From the start, Rulhes and Cassier have associated many different artists with their research: performers, actors, dancers, musicians, circus artists (Nedjma Benchaïb, Domi Giroud, Camille Gaudou, Lara Barsaq, Kaori Ito, Mathurin Bolze, Jean-Michel Guy, Armelle Dousset, Viivi Rohia, Nicolas Oton); film directors, illustrators, digital artists, editors (Amic Bedel, Benoît Bonnemaison-Fitte, Christophe Modica, Edmond Carrère, Ludovic Burczykowski, etc). All these people helped shaping the GdRA’s human and artistic identities.
This protean ensemble is reshaped with each new project and offers a combination of theatre, text, circus arts, dance and filmic medium. In 2010, the GdRA was invited to the 64th Festival d’Avignon. In 2013, the company created VIFS as part of Marseille-European Capital of Culture. In 2014, SUJET premiered at Théâtre Garonne, Toulouse. It is the last volume of the Triptyque de la personne, which started in 2007 with Singularités Ordinaires and was followed by Nour in 2010. Since 2007, as part of their Experts du vécu cycle, Christophe Rulhes and Julien Cassier have created a dozen of stage works, installations, museographies and films that relate to specific people and territories. Besides, they conduct Pour une Belle Diplomatie, a moment of transmission and knowledge exchange (workshops, masterclasses, training courses and conferences). They regularly converse with researchers such as Bruno Latour, Joëlle Zask, Alicia Buckstein, Constance de Gourcy or Vincent Girard. Christophe Rulhes is often invited at the EHESS (the French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences), Science Po Paris/SPEAP (Paris Institute of Political Studies/Experimentation Programme in arts and politics), Sorbonne Nouvelle (University of Paris III), etc, where he discusses action research or the relationship between art and science or between theatre and the humanities. In 2014, the GdRA began a new series of plays entitled La guerre des natures. First came Lenga (“language” in Occitan) which deals with the abandonment of language, then FUSIWË, a portrait of an Amazonian horticulturist. The GdRA has been subsidised by DRAC Midi-Pyrénées, Région Midi-Pyrénées and Toulouse City Council since 2011.
The ensemble weaves its writings with an entomologist’s patience and the attentive and lively eye of a surprised ethnographer. It meets, shoots and stages people and portraits, transfiguring them from reality into theatrical fiction and stage performance. The GdRA looks for the fictional dimension immanent to any ordinary situation, describes people’s everyday investigations and questions biography and the fantastic as genres. Roubaud, Perec, Wittgenstein, Rimini Protokoll, Milo Rau, De Certeau, Arbus, Goldin, Lauwers, Latour, the Boltanskis (and so many others), documentary filmmakers of the 20th and 21st centuries (Alexe, Depardon, Romand, Van der Keuken…) along with artists and filmakers interested in reality (Dumont, Cavalier, Rouch, Hilliard, Rosefeldt…) have a strong influence on the group’s work.
On stage, the company draws portraits of real or fictional people, i.e. the “livings”, using circus arts, dance, music, text, acrobatics, image and scenography to tell the audience about the sense of place, about backgrounds, situations, bodies and languages. An anthropological theatre of investigation, leading to genuine fiction.