A project to stimulate inter-communal mobility, community, and celebration of the cultural, material and immaterial heritage of the region's industrial mining past

A participatory walking project produced by Le Boulon, CNAREP (Centre National des Arts de la Rue et de l'Espace Public), based in Vieux Condé, La Grande Traversée (The Great Crossing) was created to celebrate the traces, history, uncertain future and dreams of the inhabitants of the Nord-Pas-de Calais coalfield region, recently declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Over a year we met, talked with and developed projects with inhabitants in seven towns, from Anzin to Vieux Condé. Concentrating on existing traditional cultural pastimes, such as knitting, singing, collecting mining memorabilia, giant puppets, or cooking, groups created interventions and performances to punctuate the walk for other participants. The result was a day-long 17 km ramble followed (on foot and by tram) by about 500 people, in small groups or families following a plan-guide with 100 participants 'performing' along the way.

The Boulon edited a book and a website that comprehensively archives the project, La Grande Traversée:


"On est pas des feignants"
Film par Sarah Harper, Nadir Bouassria et les riverains de Bruay sur l'Escaut, avec Mehdi Fourez, Aurélien Fourez, Sana Fourez. Création sonore Jason Picq et Erwan Quintin. Réalisé dans le cadre de la Grande Traverséé, projet porté par le Boulon de Vieux Condé (CNAREP 2018)

Creative Team & Partners

Friches Théâtre Urbain:
• Sarah Harper, artistic direction & local immersion.
• Pascal Laurent, logistics, mediation, construction and installation,
• Claudia Verdejo, costumes,
• Nadir Bouassria,  videos & photos
• Erwan Quintin,  sound creation.
• Quentin Douriez, construction and installation

For Le Boulon :
• Virginie Foucault, director,
• Séverine Podevin, mediation,
• Delphine Duong, publicity,
• Alexis Goujart, administration,
• Gilles Rufi, technical direction
• Cathie Lequeux, mediation,
• Mathilde Agthe, mediation intern.