The SYNDEAC, Mirror and Engine of Transformations in the Theater World

By Marjorie Glas

This article seeks to examine the genesis and evolution of what would become the main employers’ union in the dramatic arts, the SYNDEAC (Syndicat national des entreprises artistiques et culturelles). Founded in 1971 by managers of public theaters, it became the employers’ representative for staff unions and demanded its independence from public authorities. The evolution of the SYNDEAC and of its presidents is a mirror of the transformations experienced by the theater world during the last 40 years, which witnessed—in spite of resistance from independent companies—the monopolization of power by theater managers who in turn contributed to the increasing importance of directors and program managers in French public theaters. The SYNDEAC, through its members, represents and has established this domination as they are now the main intermediary between the State and theater managers, while their relations with staff unions are deteriorating. The SYNDEAC influences the development of public policies and collective agreements. It also contributes to the consolidation of the manager’s position, as well as the hierarchical and recognition arrangements among the various actors in the dramatic arts.

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