Acte 1 (1989 – 1992)
Scene: The Language Department at the University of Nantes. It is late Fall and the weather outside is grey, cold and rainy. Ronald Hochhausen, a German Professor at the University of Nantes, is sitting at his desk, surrounded by some of his academic colleagues. They are discussing pedagogy and culture, how to offer a different approach to language learning. This is just one of several meetings that have taken place over the course of the academic year. Professors from various departments are present and the ambience is collaborative. Everyone wants to propose a project that will bring together students from different horizons with Professors working in separate, yet complementary, departments at the university.
The outcome: the association ACTE is born on November 16th, 1989 and launches its first theater workshop in German.
Act II (1992 - 1995)
Scene: Several years have passed and a new Professor, Gunter Krause, is now heading ACTE. The association is experiencing major developments due to Gunter’s ambition to open ACTE on a variety of levels. In the span of a few years, new partnerships on both a national and international level are formed, theater courses in a foreign language become integrated into the university’s academic curriculum in tandem with the new University Theater inaugurated in 1995, Gunter Krause is producing contemporary pieces on an annual basis with the university’s students. His projects bear fruit and Gunter/ACTE become nominated to organize and manage the cultural services of the Language Department.
Act III (1995 – 1998)
Scene: ACTE is in full bloom and now needs a permanent employee in order to manage the amplitude of the association’s cultural projects. During two years Jérôme Carlier ensures, along with Gunter Krause and the association’s members, the coordination of major events such as the German Season (in partnership with an international network), the presentation of a contemporary play by students in the University Theater’s annual festival, and tighter and regular collaborations with professionals of the theater arts. The reviews of the international press laud ACTE’s achievements and the association is now not only anchored within the University of Nantes’ language department, but also within a plethora of structures on both a national and international scale.
Act IV (1998 – 2003)
Scene: After all the success of the previous act, ACTE decides to slim down the amount of project’s it manages. The majority of the actor-students participating in the association’s activities have moved on in order to continue their theater or cultural projects on a professional level. Theater in German, the national and international tours, and the collaborations with theater professionals remain on ACTE’s agenda, however with a major change. The association receives financing to complete an ambitious project that incorporates 50 French and German students partaking in a playwriting workshop and whose final texts are presented in both Düsseldorf and Nantes to a very large audience. ACTE’s partnership with the Opera of Angers-Nantes is now developed so that exchanges and projects are regular.
Act V (2003 – 2007)
Scene: Enter Anna Leplay, actress and alumni of the University of Nantes’ English Department. Two new workshops are added to ACTE’s repertoire, English and FLE, and soon after ACTE adds Italian (Emmanuelle Buriniand) and Spanish (Cristina de Lorenzo, Chantal Ringot et Julia Gomez). The association has now a total of 5 workshops and an option “Theater in German” is integrated into the Performing Arts Bachelor’s degree. ACTE’s presentations at various theater festivals continue with English plays now joining the tours.
Act VI (2007 – )
Scene: ACTE’s palette of theater workshops continues to gain ground. A new university program is financed throughout France (Plan Réussite Licence) and ACTE begins to offer 2 workshops per language, one dedicated to preparing a full-length play and the other to a short sketch. In 2011, ACTE inaugurates its first annual amateur theater festival (Décontr’ACTE) in partnership with the TNT. All of the association’s workshops present their pieces for the festival and various external professionals are invited to perform. As a result, an intern is hired every year in order to help with the preparation of the festival (communication, organization, planning, partnership development, etc.). Currently, ACTE is participating in a new regional project (RFI) and has proposed an innovative and never before seen collaboration between the Department of Foreign Languages, the University Theater and ACTE. If all goes well, by 2015 you will be seeing newer and more daring activities, projects, research programs and…