Les Halles project is focused on three main missions:
– to provide good support for artists and offer a diverse programme of arts for curious minds
– to be active in the local area and with the communities around Les Halles
– to continue to pay attention to the big societal issues of the day (which include climate change, migration, gender and social justice, among others).
To successfully develop these three missions consistently, Les Halles is arranging its programme in an innovative way – in three distinct scheduling blocks – so as to ensure artistic coherence, be actively engaged with the communities around Les Halles and be open to change in the modern world.
The different periods of our programme are as follows:
– Our season opening in September, with our poetry market, Poetik Bazar and La Nuit de l’Amour, a.k.a. “The Night of Love”
– From October to February the focus is artistic: classic pieces, new productions and events, mainly in the performing arts disciplines
– From February to May, the focus is on our music programme, but it’s also a time when we keep part of our programme open so that we can be more reactive to the world we’re evolving in
– In June and July, we have the Grand Marché set up in the venue, which is a XXL neighbourhood project.
We’ve decided to look in the rear-view mirror and check out the history of Les Halles. Les Halles de Schaerbeek was founded on a vision of cultural democracy. This has helped to shape the identity of Les Halles for almost 50 years. And by cultural democracy we mean the promotion of all cultures, in their own diversity. Cultural democracy rejects the superiority of any one form of culture over others, since they all have value. With that in mind, the concept of culture covers artistic creation, as well as traditions and customs and also popular creativity and local practices.
We remain convinced that Les Halles de Schaerbeek has the potential to be both open to diverse local communities and an artistically challenging international centre for the arts. In this way, and given its history, Les Halles offers a unique place in the local, national and international landscape.
From this day forward, we’re making three strong commitments:
– To make Les Halles an even more interdisciplinary venue. We host three main disciplines: dance/performance, circus and music. But, at the same time, we remain open to disciplines that still enjoy too little space within the walls of cultural institutions, such as stand-up and cabaret cultures. Les Halles specialises in the production of interdisciplinary works.
– To develop a shared programme with a large number of partners, from the Théâtre National de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles to the Théâtre de la Vie, from the Kaaitheater to UP – Circus & Performing Arts.
– To make venues more accessible: to artists and audience members with different physical and mental abilities, to culturally diverse communities of participants from the local area and beyond, to artistic scenes from all over, especially from Flanders. We’re putting a number of measures in place that serve this goal (Ramadan Friendly and Pay What You Can, in particular).
Les Halles is all about:
– 3 main missions: support for artistic creativity, political engagement in the broader sense and community projects
– 3 main disciplines: dance, circus and music
– 3 venues used: the Great Hall, the Small Hall and the Swimming Pool/Cellar
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.
As we celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2024, Les Halles is embarking on a new era, thanks to the appointment of Matthieu Goeury as General Manager and Artistic Director in January 2023. He joins the Les Halles team, whose management board is made up of Laetitia van de Walle (Head of Administration and Finance), Cathy Simon (Head of Audience) and Fernand van Bever (Technical Manager).