Quartz de Brest: A Grand Reopening and Cultural Renaissance

Following an extensive three-year renovation, the Quartz de Brest, France’s largest National Stage, celebrated its reopening with a renewed emphasis on the port city and its diverse audience. The grand inauguration took place on Friday evening, marking the culmination of a €23.2 million project that revamped the iconic venue, setting a new direction for its future after the departure of Maïté Rivière.

Stéphane Roudaut, president of Brest’Aim, the mixed economy company overseeing Quartz, expressed his excitement during the inaugural evening, stating, “Finally, the first stage of France finds its setting.” He emphasized the significance of Quartz as a flagship venue and a beacon for live entertainment.

Originally designed as a space for theater, dance, music, and conferences, Quartz underwent a comprehensive renovation led by the Parisian architectural agency Blond&Roux. The transformation aimed to create a new connection with the city, enhance comfort for both spectators and artists, and improve energy efficiency. The Grand Théâtre stage, accommodating 1,488 seats, underwent significant redesign to enhance working conditions and comfort for technicians and artists. Acoustic improvements, new seating, and reconfigured aisles were part of the enhancements. Additionally, modifications to the building envelope were made to enhance thermal and acoustic comfort.

Inaugurated in 1988 to replace the former Palais des Arts et de la Culture destroyed by fire in 1981, Quartz became a Scène nationale in 2001. The recent renovation received acclaim from the National Union of Artistic and Cultural Enterprises (Syndeac) and the Association of National Stages (ASN).

The renovation work signifies an ambitious commitment to culture and the public, according to Syndeac and ASN. However, they emphasized the importance of guarantees regarding the independence of Quartz’s future management.

The previous director, Maïté Rivière, faced suspension from her duties in February 2023 due to “deep disagreements” with Brest’Aim, which were deemed irreconcilable at that stage. As an interim director currently leads La Scène Brestoise, there is anticipation surrounding the recruitment of new management to steer Quartz into this new chapter.

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