Les Halles de Schaerbeek — Brussels —

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There is no creative idea that would not fit in Les Halles: its unique dimensions make it the perfect space to reinvent performance and find unique ways to break the fourth wall.

Les Halles is a space open to everyone: we are all about participation and outreach. Sometimes egoist, sometimes collective, just like the world we live in. We are open to the hopes and changes faced the people who make Les Halles : from our neighbours to those coming from far away land. We are showing the best work coming from all over Europe, looking for answers to the big questions of our times. We explore new passions, adventures, and freedom.

Dance, circus, cross-art forms… Explore, experience and have fun!

We also host other types of activities: between 3 days and 3 weeks long, these special events gather professionals, students and amateurs. We combine academic thinking and emerging practices: reflexion and direct application. These events are unlike anything you would have seen before: Foire-Attraction, CIA Fair, the Astronautics & Leisure Fair, Assemblée d’Avril or Bruxelles-Africapitales.

Last but not least, Les Halles work with emerging Belgian and European artists to support their development. We are executive producers for some of the best companies from Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and also co-producing with other partners the best of tomorrow’s performances from Belgium and Europe.

Key dates

1865 : Construction of he covered market of St Marie

1893 : Fire in the market

1901 : Opening of the new covered market

1920 : The covered market is closed and turn into a council depot, then a car park

1973 : Jo Dekmine gathers around him a few people (Philippe Grombeer, Daniel Colardijn, Hubert Dombrecht, Alain La Sante) and together, they start planning the transformation of the old market into an independent cultural space. The collective is officially active from 1974.

1975 : The ‘Commission française de la culture de l’Agglomération bruxelloise’ (today known as COCOF) buys the building.

1983 : Les Halles’s reputation goes beyond Belgium when it becomes the founding members of the European network Trans Europe Halles.

1972-1984 : Working with 9 different cultural ministers, Les Halles slowly build up official recognition and make the project more sustainable.

Early 1980s : The building is given to the Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles.

1984 : Over a year and a half, Les Halles goes under its first major refurbishment: work on the glass roof, getting a proper floor, rust removal, toilets, etc.

1991 : Les Halles becomes Centre Culturel européen de la Communauté Française.

1994 : Les Halles is granted a budget for its second refurbishment

1996 : Late November, opening of the Grande Halle

1998 : Signature of the first 5 years agreement with la Communauté Française. Les Halles’s project is now more secure. The petite Halle is renovated.

2002 :  Philippe Grombeer, animator-director for the past 28 years leaves Les Halles and becomes director of Théâtre des Doms.

2003 : Signature of the second 5 years agreement.

2004 : Les Halles, then managed by Annick de Ville, celebrates its 30th anniversary.

2005-2012 : Les Halles is managed by Fabienne Verstraeten. Her programme focuses on the Arabic countries and develops two large scale projects: Masarat Palestine and DABA Morocco. She also programmes what Les Halles is famous for: circus, contemporary dance and performance. Les Halles is also involved in a growing number of European networks.

2012 :  In November, Christope Galent becomes director of Les Halles. Les Halles takes a new direction and there is now a growing number of circus and dance performances. Les Halles works closely with associated artists. Les Halles starts co-productions and executive productions while experimenting with new ways of engaging with the audience.