A welcoming venue to discover the new language of the stage, to immerse yourself into strong and peculiar universes and follow artists that tackle the present to re-enchant reality. A season of creations, residencies and laboratories, an annual International Festival, a mission of proximity carried out hand-in-hand with the Marolles neighbourhood and international exchanges.
A programming mostly turned to choreographic works that, in Brussels’ widely opened melting pot, are the signs of a free and stimulating inspiration.
The name of Brigitte is of Celtic origin and means “tall, strong, powerful”. As for the name “Brigittines”, it comes from Bridget of Sweden who was the daughter of the governor of the region of Uppland. After the death of her husband, Bridget of Sweden founded the new religious Order of the Most Holy Saviour for both monks and nuns. In 1623, the Archduchess Isabella of Austria granted the Order of Bridget permission to establish itself in Brussels. Based in Dendermonde, the Brigittines Order in 1637 bought a property located on the current rue des Brigittines. A convent with a chapel were built there in 1663. The chapel was designed by the architect Léon Van Heil in the Italo-Flemish Renaissance style. Abandoned as a religious monument from 1783 to 1920, the Brigittines Chapel was used as a school, an official pawnshop, a warehouse for books from monasteries, before serving as a prison, a military pharmacy , an asenal, a hospice, a beer and timber warehouse, a covered market, a ballroom and finally a publisher’s warehouse. In 1920, the Chapel was put up for auction. The City of Brussels bought it two years later and, following successful renovation work, saved it from almost two centuries of misfortunes and varying functions. Its façade became a listed structure in 1936… and the whole building, later, in 1953. By 1975, and after commissioning a complete revamp of the whole building, the City of Brussels and the Alderman of Fine Arts and Culture reaffirmed their support to creative endeavours in the performing arts. The first dance production performed at the Chapel in 1975 was “23 Skidoo” (Frédéric Flamand). In 1982, new improvement works were undertaken. In the month of June of the same year, the Chapel’s space was made available to emerging dance companies. The Bellone Brigittines Festival, which follows a theme, was set up in 1982. Ever since 1992, the Brigittines Chapel has honed its ambition to support and participate in the emergence of new forms of expression at both national and international level. The Chapel was managed by the non-profit association Bellone Brigittines which, from May 1997, has overseen the realisation of these aspirations.
Read about the recent development of Les Brigittines, the construction of the new building and the residency space on Les Brigittines' website.
In 2010, Les Brigittines, whose program previously combined theater, dance, music and visual arts, decided to focus exclusively on dance and becoming the “Center for Contemporary Art of the Movement of the City of Brussels”.
Building and facilities
Situated between the Sablon district and the Marolles neighbourhood, Les Brigittines are in the heart of Brussels. The building is composed of an old 17th century baroque chapel (built in 1663) and an modern extension made of glazed panels and corten steel (built in 2007). It features 2 fully-equipped performance spaces (the old Chapel with 250 m2 and the Mezzo with 150m2) and 1 rehearsal studio (150m2). Each space has its own lodge. The luminous modern Hall is a welcome place with the kitchen and the bar. To stay close to the artists, the team's offices are located in the 1st floor.
Les Brigittines also has a technical room with an construction workshop, an exterior building as a research space (called “Aquarium”) and 6 apartments dedicated specifically to the artists.
Over the course of the summer, EDN member Lokomotiva (North Macedonia) conducted the first edition of its International Summer School. We highly recommend diving in the resources made available online by Lokomotiva to reflect on contemporary practices of performing arts in relation to activism, social movements and self-organization.More