The author Olivier Bacquet
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Meeting with Sandrine Lebrun and Jean-Christophe Parquier, owners of PréÔ de Saint-Riquier
- Do you remember your first contact with Saint-Riquier when you decided to open your café-theatre here?
Jean-Christophe Parquier. First of all, we fell in love with this region. A little by chance: we pulled off the highway in Abbeville, the weather was beautiful, we saw the terraces full and we said to ourselves that this is where we want to live. It was the station that attracted us to Saint-Riquier: it was then sold on Bon Coin.
- When the station was sold to Le Bon Coin
Sandrine Lebrun. When we saw it, we immediately projected ourselves, imagining opening our own theater there. In retrospect, our project at the station would have been difficult: access would have been a problem and the room would have been much smaller. With 50 seats, we couldn’t have the artists we had.
JCP. Anyway, the mayor didn’t give us permission to meet the audience there because of the proximity of the cooperative. However, at the same meeting, he spoke about the old school being sold. Then we visited him. We said yes within five minutes…
- Did you doubt the success of PréÔ?
SL. Yes, but not only with activities: doubts are also related to the ability to fit in, meet people, accept… Doubts are always at the beginning of every season. But it ended up being pretty quick. Come to think of it, it seems like the room was full every night. In fact, when we took out the notebooks from the first course, we realized that there were about forty people!
JCP. In the beginning, there was real enthusiasm. I never had any doubts. I knew it would work. Because we have created a place where we would like to go as spectators, but also as artists.
Covid: the crisis that lasted three years PréÔ
- How would you explain this greeting?
JCP. We didn’t need to do any research to know the taste of Picard’s audience! I knew that by sharing our love of entertainment theater we would touch people. But we also had to get artists to come. They are welcome here. Suddenly they come back, they want to be there, they talk about PréÔ.
- Has a health crisis seriously threatened you?
JCP. If it wasn’t for all the help, we wouldn’t be here, that’s for sure. And the kitten was made by the lovers of our dear PréÔ. We also have a chance: the building is ours, we live in it. Others who own their own homes and rent out their own theaters have been greatly weakened. Some even had to be closed.
SL. The most difficult thing was to recover, because there was no more help, and society did not return immediately. There are also regulars who never came back after Covid, who lost the habit of going out.
JCP. It was a long period of almost three years. Society has really come back since last January.
Their best memories from the first 10 years
- What is your best memory from these ten years?
JCP. Difficult… Maybe when we were in the middle of development. I was outside painting a door and a neighbor who stopped by to check on me said she would send her son over to help me. Five minutes later he actually arrived: a quad who had come to rest with his mother. Later, his own children came to help. I knew we would be well received there!
SL. During the health crisis, when everyone had to wear a mask. Private “PréÔ” Carole discreetly distributed smiley stickers to the entire audience to wear masks and cheer us on.
- This tenth season is especially beautiful. How do you manage to attract artists like Jeanfi Janssens, Thomas Croisière, Élisabeth Buffet or Sinsémilla?
JCP. There is no one recipe: there are shows that we discover, especially in Avignon, and others that we are invited to. As for Jeanfi, he was the one who asked his creation to come here. He played two years in a row. But the last time was on the day of his premiere “Big Heads”.
SL. For Thomas Croisière, who is a commentator for France Inter, it is his personal film appearance. I contacted him directly via Facebook and explained that we would like to have him at our café-teare in Saint-Riquier. Very quickly he gave me an enthusiastic answer: he knows Saint-Riquier, he has family in the region. It was signed within three days.
JCP. Elisabeth Buffet had already arrived last year. And before she left her stay with us, she said to us, “Well… When will I be back?” Because I’ll be back, right? “We were obviously delighted, especially as it was a hit!”
SL. As for the show about Sinsémilla, I was contacted by the singer himself: Mike. He had heard of PréÔ and wanted to come and play this musical performance.
It sounds like your audience is great and the region is absolutely beautiful!
JCP. it has changed a lot since we started. In the first year, we always had to explain what our café-theater is, where Saint-Riquier is. Today it is much easier because PréÔ has a good name among artists. It has been felt since the third year when we were at the Avignon festival. We began to hear, “Ah, yes, PréÔ de Saint-Riquier! It sounds like your audience is great and the region is absolutely beautiful! »
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