Christophe Bricheteau from Compagnie Carabosse talks to us about Fire Gardens at Adelaide Festival

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French company, Cie Carabosse will bring its fire installation “Fire Gardens” to Adelaide Festival in March 2020.

Fire Gardens
Image: Regina Marcenkienne

Given Australia’s recent and continuing unprecedented bushfires, the Adelaide Festival and its presenting partner Arts Projects Australia have consulted with staff, the Festival Board, Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium and relevant government representatives, and after careful consideration the presentation of art installation Fire Gardens, will proceed as planned from 12- 15 March. 


However, rather than the show just going on, Adelaide Festival has decided that all proceeds of tickets sold to Fire Gardens will be donated to the Lobethal Bushfire Recovery Fund, the KI Mayoral Relief & Recovery Bushfire Fund and the RSPCA KI Wildlife Appeal. 


We spoke to Christophe Bricheteau of Compagnie Carabosse about Fire Gardens.


You’re bringing your show “Fire Gardens” to Adelaide Festival in March. Describe the show for us. What is your role in “Fire Gardens”?

Compagnie Carabosse was invited to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens to propose a fire installation for the month of March 2020. Christian Cuomo and I, Christophe Bricheteau, regularly work for the Cie Carabosse, and we carried out a location viewing in September 2019. During this visit, we imagined, designed, thought about and dreamt of a journey between the flames in accordance with the vegetation and topography of the garden. Christian and I, we are the referents for this project, we are what you call in English the “Artistic Designers” of Fire Gardens.


Compagnie Carabosse has already put on this show at Melbourne Festival. How do the different venues change the show?

Each place possesses its own identity, its own history and its own existence within the territory, as a result each Fire Installation also has its own identity. At the moment of site viewing, we absorb the atmosphere of the location in roaming it in all directions. We also note the different usages of the site, such as the preferred spots for wedding photos, the direction of traffic or even sacred spaces… Taking all of this information into consideration, we imagine a Fire Installation which is intimately and uniquely tied to the space.


What would be your dream space to put on such a show?

There isn’t any ideal place, each place is a new adventure, a new script, a new experience. The botanic gardens are excellent playing fields for us as they permit, thanks to their vegetation, a progressive discover of the whole of the Fire Installation, and permits us to construct surprises for the audience, to play with the different scales of trees, of plants and to play with the topography which gives different view points…


A Fire Installation in the Australian bush could, for some of us, be fantastic because there is no light pollution… a fine layer of snow on the Adelaide Botanic Gardens when we come could be interesting too… for other members of the team. The Great Wall of China is a dream of the Niagara Falls or even an abandoned industrial site, pedestrian only streets, or even the Eiffel Tower!


Fire Gardens
Image: Vincent Muteau


Since when and how did you come to work in fire installation companies?

Christian regularly works for the Compagnie Carabosse and has done for 20 years and I have worked with them for almost 12 years.


Certainly, fire is an essential element in our palette, but it isn’t the only one. In order to transform spaces and to write our scenographies on a large scale, we create sculptures and machinery in metal, we write music… Poetry is always present in one way or another.


What have you always appreciated about fire shows?

The relationship that we have with fire is very personal… But for the artists at Cie Carabosse, fire is a love story, with its character, its particularities, its ambivalence, its soft side, reassuring and its more constraining aspects… The company’s fire is a tamed fire, a poetic fire, universal fire which brings together, warms, illuminates and enhances.


Fire Gardens
Image: Regina Marcenkiene


What are the risks with a show like yours?

The major risk is to come back the next day and to let yourself be surprised by the new landscape revealed by the show. You can become a Fire addict!


Tell us about your other projects.

Compagnie Carabosse leads several projects up front. In that respect, while some will be in Adelaide, another team will be in residence for another show Par les Temps qui Courent, others will be in our workshops to build new structures and perhaps another duo will be in a train or on a plane to do a site viewing for the next Fire Installation


Why should people come to see “Fire Gardens” at Adelaide Festival in March?

A Fire Installation gives you the unique experience of a promenade completely immersed in flames and enchanted by specially composed live music.


Coming to see this Fire Installation is leaving with flames in your eyes imagining all the possibilities.


Fire Gardens
Image: Boris Abalain


Anything else you wish to say?

We are very happy to return to Australia. Compagnie Carabosse wishes to extend its deepest sympathy and respect to the bushfire affected communities and acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of the firefighters, individuals and organisations who are now working tirelessly to rebuild and help the country to recover. 


We hope Fire Gardens will be an opportunity for audiences to experience and contemplate the timeless beauty and magic of firelight. Pieces will be created to show a balance of the elements with reflections of candlelight, water and framed views as the audience progresses through the exhibition. We are delighted that the Adelaide Festival is donating its profits from the event to support recovery work in the affected communities, and that our visit to Adelaide will in some small way contribute to the long and difficult healing process. 


See you on 12 March for the first night of Fire Gardens!

Image: Vincent Muteau

Fire Gardens by Compagnie Carabosse will be on at Adelaide Festival in March 2020. There are 4 shows on each of the nights of 12, 13, 14 and 15 March.


Tickets cost $29 plus booking fees or $25 if you’re in a group of 6 or more or are a Friend of the Festival. All ticket proceeds are going to be donated to the Lobethal Bushfire Recovery Fund, the KI Mayoral Relief & Recovery Bushfire Fund and the RSPCA KI Wildlife Appeal. 


Buy your tickets here:


Have you already seen a fire installation?


You can also read our interviews with other artists coming to Adelaide Festival at the below links:

Nick Power re Two Crews and Between Tiny Cities

Compagnie Chaliwaté re Dimanche



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