Julie Berès, then an actress, founded her company Les Cambrioleurs in 2001. That year, wanting to explore a new original form of scenic expression, she invited several artists from a range of disciplines (performers, videographers, plasticians, circus performers, puppeteers and musicians) to participate in a collective workshop. It was July and the fifteen artists spent an entire month working in the Burgundy region. Ariel Goldenberg, who had just been named the director of the Théâtre national de Chaillot, knew Julie Berès as an actress and stopped at the Avignon Festival to see her new work in process. He liked it and immediately programmed her first piece, Poudre!, for a three week run at Chaillot. The Théâtre de la Manufacture-entre dramatique national de Nancy, under the direction of Charles Tordjman, and the Grande Halle de La Villette also joined the production.
Poudre! was well received by audiences and the press, and a working partnership was established between the company of Julie Berès and the Director of the Théâtre National de Chaillot, facilitating the creations in 2003 and 2004 of Ou le lapin me tuera (under the auspices of the International Puppet Biennial) and of e muet. The pieces of the Les Cambrioleurs company also attracted a number of loyal co‑producers from different areas in the performing arts: national, municipal and specialized theatres.
In 2005, Alain Mollot and Alexandre Krief, co-directors of the Théâtre Romain Rolland in Villejuif, brought Julie Berès in as an artist compagnon for three years at their theatre. In October 2006 On n’est pas seul dans sa peau premiered at the Espace des Arts- scène nationale de Chalon-sur-Saône, which became its executive producer. The following year Berès was invited to be an Associated Artist at the Quartz-scène nationale in Brest, where she premiered in 2008 and 2010 Sous les visages and Notre besoin de consolation (executive produced by the Espace des Arts-scène nationale de Chalon-sur-Saône). Julie Berès then decided to make Brest the permanent home for the Les Cambrioleurs company. This association and the administrative structuring of the company helped her develop further in Brittany, increasing her community outreach with a range of artistic and pedagogical actions in the schools and universities, with amateur and adult dancers as well as less advantaged populations; while also maintaining synergy with research, education and social initiatives to further increase the visibility and presence of the company in the city. The discussions she began with her institutional partners culminated in an agreement between the Cambrioleurs and the DRAC of Brittany in 2008. In 2011, the Brittany region officialized their relationship, as did the city of Brest in 2014. The company’s projects are supported by the Conseil Général of Finistère. This multi-faceted agreement has facilitated the development of a permanent structure for the company which continues today.
Between 2008 and now, the pieces of Les Cambrioleurs began reaching wider audiences. After Sous les visages and Notre besoin de consolation, presented at the Théâtre de la Ville (Abbesses), the company premiered in 2010 Lendemains de fête at the MC2 in Grenoble (executive producer of the work). Between 2013 and 2015, Julie Berès was an Associated Artist at the Comédie de Caen-CDN de Normandie, where she created Petit Eyolf. And since 2016 the company has received support from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication with a grant toward artistic independence. Julie Berès and her company were also invited by the Opéra National de Paris to direct and stage a new production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo with young singers and the Cris de Paris, at the Bastille Opéra.
Julie Berès’ work is characterized by its “stage vocabulary” and its “plural dramaturgy,” involving work by the entire company. In the development of her works, Berès works with a wide variety of collaborators, mostly playwrights, translators, writers and dramaturges, who mobilize as soon as the first themes for reflection have been established, certain writing perspectives, then they are joined by creators of images. During the rehearsal process, including lengthy periods of research and improvisations, an assemblage is created in which those onstage participate as well as set designers, lighting designers, video directors and sound engineers – each bringing specific elements to the final work. The “company” is therefore not only an administrative frame for the production and the touring of its creations, nor is it a permanent troupe nor a “collective” for actors. More than a home, the Les Cambrioleurs company is a creative center, changing its dimensions as needed, where artists from different fields converge to exchange, associate their techniques and work together in their respective languages. The workshop which was the starting point for the company in 2001 — has since then been refined, diversified and enriched, but it is still driven by the same spirit of research, the blending of forms, which also characterize the theatrical work of Julie Berès.