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Death of Renée Delmas, the former director of the Théâtre de Poche, at 94

Renée Delmas had dreamed of being an actress; she became the director of the legendary Théâtre de Poche in Paris.

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Death of Renée Delmas, the former director of the Théâtre de Poche, at 94

Renée Delmas had dreamed of being an actress; she became the director of the legendary Théâtre de Poche in Paris. A great lady of the theater, she died discreetly on her birthday, March 31, at the age of 94. She was one of the last “patronesses” to greet the public at the entrance to the theater. It was her beloved father who offered her the small room hidden at the end of a small cobbled street, a dead end opening onto the Boulevard du Montparnasse, in 1956. The young woman was 25 years old and full of projects for this place which saw pass Jacques Audiberti, Marcel Marceau, Jean Vilar or Antoine Vitez. She entrusted her future husband, the actor Étienne Bierry, who died in July 2015, with the artistic direction of the 126-seat theater. Their watchword will be: create at all costs. Together, they created the Bierry company and had two children, Stéphane and Marion, who would follow in their footsteps.

“There was an enormous bond between them, they were indispensable to each other,” testifies Marie-Hélène Brian, their press officer since 1984. These two writers, passionate about boards, undertook restoration and expansion work before reopening it in 1958. In good harmony, they favored the emergence of classic and, or, contemporary French and foreign authors: Eugène Ionesco, Roland Dubillard, Fernando Arrabal, Lee Hall, Daniel Besse, René de Obaldia, Eduardo Manet , Camille de Toledo, Romain Weingarten... As well as directors like Olivier Hussenot, Claude Régy, Georges Vitaly, Michel Fagadau, Antoine Bourseiller, Jorge Lavelli...

“I believe that we occupy a special place, because of the smallness of the place, because of the continuity, because of all the people who left there. I believe that everything that happens here is sometimes rarer than everything that happens in other small places,” assured this imposing woman (Interview with Renée Delmas, by Maurice Audebert and Guy Bruit, Raison present; 1981). Renée Delmas knew how to adapt despite the development of subsidized theater in France. She helped found the Support Fund and succeeded in making the Théâtre de Poche a unique and privileged meeting place. She took risks, recalls Marie-Hélène Brian.

Thus, she had the audacity to create After the Rain by Catalan Sergi Belbel with several actors. Marion Bierry directed the show which received the 1999 Molière for Best Comedy Play. “It was the first time it was performed in France,” continues the press officer. Renée Delmas has had a wonderful career, she gave a chance to actors like Daniel Auteuil, Olivier Marchal and Nicolas Briançon. She was loyal to the authors and the actors.”

The great lady had her character: “she impressed at first, but as she was myopic, she did not see very well and observed a lot,” says Marie-Hélène Brian. She was very warm and human, had a strong family spirit. You could ask her for a favor, she would do it for you, she wore her heart on her sleeve. » Philippe Tesson bought the Poche theater in 2011 from the legendary theater couple.

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