Jean-Marie Songy
Jean-Marie Songy © Philippe Cibille
Street Arts / Circus / Puppetry

Jean-Marie Songy is director of the Furies festival, a partner of the Institut français’ Circus and Street arts FOCUS

Someone who speaks in the street, who tells a story standing on a soapbox, is not the same as someone inside a theatre. They are complementary.

For nearly two decades, Jean-Marie Songy has directed the Furies festival (7-11 June 2022) in Châlons-en-Champagne, dedicated to street art and contemporary creation. This year, the Institut français is organising a Circus Focus (9-11 June 2022), in partnership with the festival, to support foreign professionals in identifying French cultural creation sectors and encourage their distribution in the world. 

Published on 06/06/2022

5 min

In 1990, the actor, dancer and festival director Jean-Marie Songy founded the Furies festival in Châlons-en-Champagne. In 1994, he took over from Michel Crespin as director of Aurillac festival, which he ran until 2018, and played a key role in the 2004 construction of the Parapluie, the first institutional venue dedicated to street arts. He also founded and runs the Spectacles de Grands Chemins in Ax-les-Thermes, Ariège. In 1998, he was in charge of programming the music and street theatre groups around the stadiums of the Football World Cup and, in 2007, of the programme for Nuit Blanche. In 2018, he stood down as director of Aurillac festival while founding the PALC, the future national circus hub in the Grand Est region. Today, he dedicates the majority of his time to the Furies festival. 

Songy is first and foremost a dancer and actor, having trained at the Centre Dramatique National in Reims. He was taught by Philippe Adrien before co-founding the company Turbulence in 1981, a multidisciplinary artist collective based in Châlons-en-Champagne. In 1987, he took part in Aurillac festival for the first time, where he met Michel Crespin, who suggested he assist with, then take over, the running of the event. For several decades, Songy has bridged the gap between the chaotic and libertarian dimension of street arts and institutions, which are essential partners in order to reach audiences and keep these practices alive through regular funding. 

Since its first edition in 1990, the Furies festival has transformed the town of Châlons-en-Champagne into a place of creation, redefining the generally accepted function of venues and roles. Providing unfailing support to contemporary creation and the discovery of young talents in the spheres of street arts and circus, Furies festival is, along with Aurillac festival, one of the main international events dedicated to these disciplines. At this springtime event, the most experienced companies rub shoulders with emerging artists, programmers and an audience that is always delighted to see these artistic practices coming directly to them. This year, the festival will also be partnering with the Circus Focus organised by the Institut français. 

FURIES Festival 2022 - Teaser Officiel
FURIES Festival 2022 - Teaser Officiel
  • 1980


    Founds the company Turbulence, a multidisciplinary artist collective.

  • 1990


    Launches Furies, a street theatre and circus festival in Châlons-en-Champagne.

  • 1994


    Takes over as director of Aurillac festival.

  • 1998


    Is in charge of programming the music and street theatre groups around the stadiums of the Football World Cup.

  • 2022


    Furies festival marks its 33rd edition and is a partner of the Institut français' Circus FOCUS.

The Institut français and the Furies festival

The Institut français organises a Circus FOCUS during the Furies festival. 

The Institut français is joining forces with the FURIES festival, the PALC, the CNAC and the Grand-Est Region to offer a Circus and Street Arts FOCUS from June 9 to 11. 

Find out more about the Circus and Street Arts FOCUS 

L'institut français, LAB