Houston 69

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40 hours) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation.


Contributors: stage director


For the first time, in July 1969 – the 20th, to be exact – men walked on the moon. They stayed there for 21 and ½ hours. During this time, they communicated with Space Center Houston by radio. The transcripts of these conversations constitute an exceptional source to try and imagine what happened “up there”.

The Eagle has Landed
Firstly, what history has retained of the Apollo 11 mission: the students and contributor watch and read the various accounts from that time that are still available and choose those that most interest them. Then “what my parents and grandparents remember” - recollections, memories and hearsay are gathered by the students and recorded. Lastly, “what my friends think about it –what does my generation feel about the first step on the moon today?”  A Skype conversation with a current member of the NASA brings this initial phase of the project to a close.

Sea of Tranquillity
The class has a major source – diverse with regard to the people, dates, knowledge and memories, but homogenous with regard to the theme: it’s all about 20th July 1969. The contributor guides the students to link up these sources, invent situations and create connections so that an audience can relive the exploit. As the ideas develop, a narrative takes shape, and it is the narrative itself that decides upon the means: actors, readers and images as well as movements, gestures and sound.  

Neil, Edwin and Michael
The class has access to a theatre stage for the day. They set up the different situations and sequence them. Technical and dramatic interactions are also adjusted: sound, video and lighting. A full run-through of the performance concludes the day.


Photos : Pierre Antoine

Houston 69
Houston 69
Houston 69
Houston 69