Utopia’s story begins in 1996 with a text, Roberto Zucco, and an interrogation on identity and the individual’s place in a world adrift. As Armel Roussel’s first direction, Koltès’s last mystified opus is shown in one of Brussels’ ‘off’ places, the former Veterinaries School. Armel’s intense world made of theatre, dance, videos and movie extracts as well as his refusing to treat the text in a realistic way arouses an extraordinary enthusiasm: the play is taken over in Brussels (Kaaitheater, Théâtre Varia), France (Théâtre de Gennevilliers, Comédie de Caen), Spain (Teatro Central, Seville) and Portugal (Culturgest. Lisbon).
Armel is then touched by Howard Barker’s engaged theatre, full of poetry mixed up with pure lyricism, lewd language and disturbing ideas. In 1998 he directs The Europeans during the KunstenFESTIVALdesArts. For this version Armel takes up Barker’s theatre’s radicalness and mixes theatre with video, dance and music to which he adds singing and political comments. To question the relationship between politics, propaganda and fascism, he builds his directing around the direct manipulations of the audience while calling for its active intelligence.
In 2000 he creates enterrer les Morts / réparer les Vivants (burry the dead / repair the living), based on Tchekhov’s Platonov (Théâtre de l’Union, Limoges/KunstenFESTIVALdesArts). Armel, freeing the play from the commonplaces of the set and the traditionally slow progress of the action as well as shaking the text in passing, strives to give an account of the chaos which prevails in a play where psychic fractures, second-thoughts and obsessions unveil a.o. through the physical acting of the actors.
Therefore, Armel questions the individual’s tragic relationship to the morale’s violation and bears the echo of a standard and artificial world, while avoiding nihilism. He also consolidates his search for a festive and cathartic theatre that wants to raise questions and reflections among the audience.
                In 2002 Utopia takes an artistic turn and becomes Utopia 2 to avoid imprisoning itself in its own world and to open new collaborations and widen its perspectives.
It is then in the play Notre besoin de consolation est impossible à rassasier (Our need for consolation is impossible to fill up) after Stig Dagerman (Brigitinnes/KunstenFESTIVALdesARTS , Maison de la Culture de Bourges), that Armel develops new desires of direction, of a more intimate theatre integrating silence, emptiness and the concept of “nothing”. Then comes the creation of Hamlet (atheist version) (Théâtre Varia, Bruxelles. Lieu Unique, Nantes. Théâtre de Gennevilliers). Armel brings a sharp point of view on Shakespeare’s play creating a Hamlet with an enormous energy that fights against the foolishness, pragmatism and populism that surrounds him and turns down the “religious” resolution of the father’s mourning and of authority.
                Since 2005 Armel turns Utopia2 toward a new direction, balancing the plays born out of a text with those that one could call “pure creations”. This is how Pop? comes to life (Théâtre Varia, Maison de la Culture de Bourges), a play for seventeen actors, whose personal mythologies come and fill a gigantic human jigsaw puzzle. Armel composes here with the fragment, offering a research where the dimension of the unconsciousness is present and leaving the audience free to create its own narration.
Then, with Icelander Thorvaldur Thorsteinsson’s And Björk of course… (2006), Armel emphasizes the word as impulse, arousing the monstrosity hidden within the characters and revealing that the relationship to being in a couple, desire, death and sexuality can only take place in a masked world, conventionally hypocritical.
In January 2007, Armel digs deeper into his work of “research in creation” with Fucking Boy (Théâtre Varia), a play like a thinking and questioning ground with political outcome and close to theatre-performance. The play takes its starting point in the idea that every one of us is conscious of the world’s dysfunctions and yet revels -even unconsciously – in this alienating global system (competition, exploitation, exclusion of the weakest and poorest, hegemony of money, manipulation of the public opinion, corruption of politicians…) Armel uses the US model as a reflection of this paradox and questions the notions of revolt, individual liberty and “human animality”.
                In May 2009, Armel’s new creation is to be called Si demain vous déplaît… (If you don’t like tomorrow…) From a series of figures of our contemporary mythology, and then from the confrontation between these figures and the actors that build them and bear them, the play will question the possibilities and limits of a world that would be freed from shame and guilt, in pursuit of happiness, fulfilment or the best life ever. But what would a world be without shame and guilt?