Poetic Urban Overflow...


Created by Philippe Freslon in 1986 in Tours, Compagnie Off started with the creation of small outdoors shows. It has grown over the years and affirmed an artistic research based on universal themes set to fiction, and the live staging of original sites. A theatre of here and now, that always features the urban and the human as its main component.


Compagnie Off, is now one of the leading Street Arts companies in Europe. Its creations within the public space, born out of a multidisciplinary approach that mixes together circus, the opera, contemporary art, live performance and monumental staging, have travelled all around the world.


Compagnie Off plays at creating an event wherever it goes, and sets up the limitless framework of its timeless visions. Spectacular and lively performances unfold within universes that are either structured or mobile. The site becomes a generator to power up a controlled overload. Compagnie Off plays with unreason  and transfiguration of universal themes – love, death, difference – through sweat, fantasy and extravagance.


Through a continuous adaptation to contexts, sites and audiences, Compagnie Off’s repertoire shows alternate with site-specific, “one-shot” performances. From carnivalesque parades to contemporary experimentations within atypical sites, Compagnie Off wishes to offer a poetic urban overflow, and always conjures up a universal, timeless framework, to better spill over…


If you wish to know more about Compagnie Off's past creations, please check the Repertoire section



Artistic History




Compagnie Off is a Street Arts company, who plays at Handling universal themes -  love, death, the elements, difference - in a dialogue with its area of performance: the city.


Through sweat, fantasy, and extravaganza, a carnal relationship is woven with the audience; an invisible urban factory. 






A subtle weaving between the location, the story and the audience.


Every creation has for secret ambition to attach a contemporary charge on our pieces of life.


After having explored the criss-crossing lines of urban arteries, invaded cities to transmigrate them through the baroque poetry of extravagant visions, Compagnie Off confronted itself to the close-up of an enclosed space.




7pechesWith Carmen Opéra de Rue, a process began: to set the high walls around the performance and block up what cannot be blocked out. An arena of rust in the middle of the city, a concentric circle and symbolic barrier, but still outdoors: a space within a space, the opening of Russian dolls… Then came "Va Donner Aux Poissons Une Idée de Ce Qu’est l’Eau" (Go give the fish an idea of what water is), and its total shutting out: a sensory-deprivation tank, a formal claustrophobia to better squeeze out the artistic contents and extreme visions of a neoclassical opera and its circus odours…


The circle once complete, the compression could not go any further: thus comes the implosion, the expulsion. From it “Désert de Piste” (The Three-Ring Desert) was born, a post-apocalyptic installation - performance  where Compagnie Off finds again the transparency and frailty of street performance. Only two sides of the frame remain: the immensely vertical and the infinitely horizontal…



vdaFrom micro to macro, compression to implosion, from the egocentric obsession of a Circus Director for his own self to the quest for universal release half-guesses in the music of the stars, Compagnie Off pursues its obsessions of poetry, circus, opera, humanity, in never-ending concentric circles. To be continued…