Juliette BIALEK

Juliette received a grant to finance her studies at the Théâtre National de Strasbourg.

What is your artistic background?
My background is a combination of distance from and proximity to art. I grew up with parents who were quite distant from it but surrounded by siblings who were involved in music. I played the accordion for eight years and my desire for the stage was awakened quite early, notably by the dream of classical dance. My awakening and discovery of music and dance could not at first be maintained and this gave rise to disappointments. In high school, through the relationship I had with my discovery of reading, I felt a strong communication between the written word and myself. This feeling became a trigger during the first theatrical experiences I had as a spectator, when my high school took us to see plays at the Filature in Mulhouse. And I reawakened a desire that I had had as a child but that I had never been able to experience elsewhere than in my mind or at school—to become an actress. A deep desire ensued, which made me look for work abroad for six consecutive summers to be able to take acting classes. After three years and in parallel with my third year of a degree in modern literature, I had the financial autonomy to enter the starting class at the Scène sur Saône in Lyon. But I quickly felt that my theatrical quest was elsewhere than in this training. I learned about the existence of national schools of higher education, looked for ways to prepare myself, and entered the ‘equal opportunities’ preparatory class at the Filature in Mulhouse in 2018. In parallel to this training, I also followed the masterclasses proposed by the 1er Acte program. This training, and these encounters and discoveries gave me the tools to sign up for the competitive exams to the National Superior Schools of Theater, and I joined the TNS School in 2020.

How do you see your profession today?
I have a colorful outlook on the profession today, tinged with naivety, hopes, disillusion and a will to fight. I could not have a closed outlook, because it would be reductive, but I feel, by advancing in my course and by meeting educators and other young artists, that there are fine but essential borders between the profession, art and career. The acting profession now appears to me as a battlefield of sharing, as the place where being together makes the most sense and where it sometimes appears naive, given the reality of the "market". From the moment I attach art to the profession, I necessarily see it as a shadow to be danced with, but a particular dance: between struggle and seduction. Concerning the reasons that make me take a few steps in this dance, they are artistic, human and a quest. Because there is always the hope to transmit and share beyond oneself. It is up to everyone to be aware of the steps he or she allows themselves and the steps he or she refuses to take, in order to have a place in the profession today, leaving enough space for creation and striving, while protecting oneself.

How do you see yourself in five years? in 10 years?
It is difficult to answer this question. Five years ago, in another context and having only the dream of the theater, I would have answered otherwise. The brutality of reality confronts us, even young people, with places of almost premature maturity. The fantasy of a career or financial security, of artistic fulfillment or just personal joy in what gives rhythm to a daily life, fades away and is replaced by a kind of dizzying fog. I want to do something with this fog and to make my actress a passer-by, an artist who in five, 10 or 20 years will always remain in a search that may be naive but will always be particularly rooted in reality. I dream that I will participate, alongside many young artists, in a revolution by opening to the world, that we will actively participate in the reconstruction of a journey, and that this journey will continue to give us the nourishment to never despair. I see myself alive. And on a quest. Growing the woman that I am for my actress and growing the actress for the woman I am, I have been, and will be. 

This interview was conducted in 2021
Photography credit: Julia Grandperret