COMPAGNIE NON NOVA
Founded in 1998 by Phia Ménard with the founding precept, “We invent nothing, we see things differently”: Non nova, sed nove.
Since it was established, the company has been based in Nantes, on the Atlantic coast of France. Its headquarters include a rehearsal studio, a construction workshop, a costume workshop, offices and set storage. The Non Nova’s premises allow them to carry out preliminary research and rehearsals, culminating in the company’s live performance pieces.
The many multidisciplinary projects of the company have brought together artists, technicians and thinkers from various horizons with diverse experiences. It is not a collective but a professional team, with Phia Ménard and Claire Massonnet in charge of the artistic direction.
The team – 40 individuals – was formed through various projects and discussions, the members sharing their skill, expertise and the desire to create through imaginative research.
Technical director: Olivier Gicquiaud
Production assistant: Constance Winckler
Public relations: Justine Lasserrade
Dramaturgy partner: Jonathan Drillet
Artists in shows currently touring: Marlène Rostaing, Anna Gaïotti, Jeanne Vallauri, Amandine Vandroth, Marion Blondeau, Marion Parpirolles, Santana Susnja, Fanny Alvarez, Rémy Balagué, Inga Huld Hákonardóttir, Erwan Ha Kyoon Larcher, Elise Legros, Jean-Louis Ouvrard, Cécile Briand, Silvano Nogueira.
Technicians and engineers: Ivan Roussel, Mateo Provost, François Aubry known as Moustache, Fabrice Ilia Leroy, Pierre Blanchet, Rodolphe Thibaud, Philippe Ragot, David Leblanc, Manuel Menes, Yolène Guais, Claire Rigaud, Olivier Tessier, Aurore Baudouin, Eric Soyer, Clarisse Delile, Benoit Desnos, Ludovic Losquin.
Since it was founded in 1998 the Compagnie Non Nova has performed its shows in Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Brunei, Burkino Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chili, China, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Equator, The Federation of Russia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Portugal, the Republic of Cape Verde, the Republic of Serbia, Scotland, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, The United Arab Emirates, The United States, Uruguay, Yemen.
The company’s creations …
1998, « Le Grain » (« The Grain »), a choreographic, burlesque piece with the musician Guillaume Hazebrouk. In 2001, « Ascenseur, fantasmagorie pour élever les gens et les fardeaux » (« Elevator, Phantasmagoria for lifting people and burdens ») marked the real beginning of the company.
In 2002, the company created « Le Grand Bazar » (« The Grand Bazar »), a cabaret for 12 circus artists and musicians as part of the festival « Temps Fort autour des Arts du Cirque » at Capellia – La Chapelle sur Erdre.
Also in 2002: « Fresque et Sketches 1er round », on the theme of « post-war years » inspired during a tour through pacified Kosovo (in Spring 2002) and premiered at the Festival Jonglissimo – Centre Culturel St. Exupéry in Reims.
From 2003 to 2006, Compagnie Non Nova was “Compagnie Associée” (associate company) at the scène nationale (national theatre) Le Carré in Château-Gontier (53). During their time there the company created « Zapptime, rêve éveillé d’un zappeur » (« Zapptime, Daydream of a Channel-Hopper »), in collaboration with Hélène Ninerola as director, « Jongleur pas confondre » (« Juggler, don’t confuse »); a show-conference on the theme of juggling with Jean-Michel Guy (researcher for the Department of Studies and Future Trends for the French Ministry of Culture and Communication) in collaboration with Paola Rizzi, and “Fresques et Sketches second round” with Laurence Langlois. Three more events were also created during this period: « Est-il vraiment sérieux de jongler ? » (« Is it really serious to juggle? »), « Ursulines Dance Floor », a one-off extravaganza of heterogeneous performances by exuberant artists, crazy performers, jugglers, DJs and dancers, set in a nightclub unlike any other, and finally the party-event « Ursulines Mushroom Power » to mark the end of the 3 year collaboration.
In 2005 « Zapptime#Remix » was created at Lieu Unique, scène nationale de Nantes (Nantes National Theatre). Nantes City Council commissioned a piece for the commemoration of the centenary of the death of Jules Verne. « Jules for ever » was created in Nantes in August 2005 with artists from the company Vent d’Autan, the musicians from the sextet « Frasques » and Jérôme Thomas. In 2006, The company performed in Avignon Festival with « Zapptime#remix ».
In 2007, Compagnie Non Nova created the cabaret « Touch it » with the musicians from the sextet Frasques at the Arc, the subsidised performance space in Rezé. In November, « Doggy Bag », was performed at the Quai in Angers and at La Breche in Cherbourg. 2008 saw the beginning of the company’s research into identity and the elements; the project « I.C.E. » standing for « Injonglabilité Complémentaire des Eléments » (Complementary Unjugglability of the Elements) kicked off with their first ice production « P.P.P. » (Position Parallèle au Plancher/Parallel Position to the Floor) at Les Subsistances in Lyon. The installation-performance piece « « L’après-midi d’un foehn Version 1 » (Afternoon of a Foehn Version 1) was created in November 2008 at the Natural History Museum in Nantes as part of their Science Festival.
In 2010, the performance piece « Black Monodie » (« Black Monody ») was created in collaboration with the sound-poet Anne-James Chaton; the piece was commissioned by Avignon Festival and the SACD (« Societé des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques » – Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers)
In 2011, the second cycle of the « I.C.E. » project was completed with the « Pièces du Vent » (« The Wind Cycle»): the shows « L’après-midi d’un foehn » and « VORTEX » were created and premiered in Caen at the National Theatre of Normandy.
In 2013, La Fondation BNP Paribas became the company’s sponsor.
In 2014, the Company Non Nova – Phia Ménard became associate artist at l’Espace Malraux, the Scène Nationale in Chambery, Savoie.
In 2015, the Compagnie Non Nova became associate artist the Théâtre Nouvelle Génération – Centre Dramatique National in Lyon and the Centre Chorégraphique National in Caen / Basse-Normandie for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. « Belle d’Hier » (« Yesterday’s Beauty ») was premiered at Montpellier Dance Festival 2015.
In 2017, « Contes immoraux – Partie 1 : La Maison Mère » (« Immoral Tales – Part 1: The Mother House ») premiered at la documenta 14 in Kassel and « Les Os Noirs » (« Black Bones ») premiered at l’Espace Malraux, Scène Nationale de Chambéry et de la Savoie.
In 2018, the opera « Et in Arcadia Ego », based on Jean Philippe Rameau’s compositions, premiered at the Opéra-Comique in Paris with the conductor Christophe Rousset, the baroque musical ensemble « Les Talens Lyriques », and the writer Eric Reinhardt. « Saison Sèche » (« Dry Season ») premiered at the 72nd edition of the Avignon Festival. The performance piece « No Way » premiered at the “Veillée de l’Humanité” – the National Theatre of Chaillot, Paris, for the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On the 11th December 2018 Phia Ménard gave a talk at the UNESCO Art Lab for Human Rights and Dialogue on the theme of Freedom and Art.
In 2021, creation of « La Trilogie des Contes Immoraux (pour Europe) » and it premiered at the Festival d’Avignon in july, and at Wiener Festwochen in august.
In 2023, creation of « ART.13 », premiered at le Biennale de la danse de Lyon in september.