10 years of “French by the mime”

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The french by mime workshops that Fabrice Eveno and Cyril Gourmelen offer to allophone students at Le Breil high school began this month.

This was a very special edition because this year, it’s been 10 years that Graine d’Europe and the two interveners have been working alongside Pierre Berger, a teacher from UPE2A (Unité pédagogique pour élèves allophones arrivant).

They are teenagers, between 11 and 16 years old and they do not speak French when they first arrive in Nantes. They have a sense of humour, they are passionate or are eager for new discoveries whatever their background… But it is not easy when you are a teenager not to be able to get to know each other in your own language, to understand others, to situate yourself within the group…

Then for the past 10 years, according to Pierre Berger, it has been particularly precious to offer each of these groups of students the opportunity to experience communication through mime: “it encourages their welcome by allowing them to enter into a relationship with the other through mime and then through words”.

Fabrice Eveno, actor, and Cyril Gourmelen, teacher, are both trainers: “It just seemed to us, and this is what is the foundation of our own pedagogical approach, that the specificity of theatre without words, of mime, had the advantage of easily integrating first-time learners, young or old. A person speaks with his whole body, through the breath that drives him, in the rhythm of his own, using many body resonators. In this regard, the fear of speaking, the fear of making “mistakes”, the fear of being “ridiculous”… just as the absence of an adequate lexicon or syntax that generally marks the beginning of the new learning of a language can be overcome by this much more reassuring “grammar” of the body”.