Spotlight on the future!
Ladies and gentlemen, good evening,
Artists, designers, friends, good evening,
To begin, we would like to salute the former artistic directors who are with us in the hall this evening: John Van Burek, Diana Leblanc and Guy Mignault! We also want to acknowledge the work of Eugène Gallant as Artistic Director as well as the late Carmelle Le Gal-Brodeur who also played this role, though not with the title. You are the architects of the first 50 years of TfT and you deserve all our thanks.
We would like to salute the former Executive Directors present tonight: Claire Pageau, Claudia Lebeuf and Greg Brown! You have been the most important allies of a company that has become a theatre institution thanks to your work.
And we also want to thank, with all our heart, the current TfT employees who made this beautiful evening possible.
Thank you, Jeanne Bihel, Diane Courvoisier, Élise Delahaye, Natalie Gisele, JoAnn Mailloux, Sandra Veilleux, Manuel Verreydt – and last but not least, the great craftsman of this evening, Michel Rommel.
We’ve talked about our memories, our failures, our successes and our love for the art of the theatre that has run through our programming since the founding of the company.
But we also want to talk about the future and offer you some dreams for TfT.
We dream of a theatre that welcomes everyone every season, both the toddlers and the long-time subscribers. We dream of a theatre where discovery, daring and well-crafted stories allow us to revisit our understanding of the world and our society; a theatre that reminds us at all times, dear Franco-Ontarian friends, that it’s through our political, civil and cultural commitment that we guarantee the future of a French Ontario – and also of our planet.
We dream of a theatre where creators create their works freely, without censorship, in a pleasant and happy environment.
We dream of a theatre where storytellers can take their place – that is to say, the whole place. For the next fifty years, we want to hear the unique and important voices of the authors from near and far.
We dream of a huge table at which we tell stories. Around this table, there is a place for everyone who loves the French language, its cultures and its theatrical traditions.
We dream of a theatre that dares to challenge norms and ideas.
We dream of a theatre that continues to foster models of production that gain acceptance and are replicated elsewhere in the country.
We dream of a theatre where artists of all national, ethnic and socio-political backgrounds can find a home and take their place. Whether you call yourself Fatima or Chakha, Mohamed or Moses, Nabil or Shiong-En, Ashema or Jean-Francois, whether you are brown, white, yellow or black, whether you prefer the pronoun “he” or “she” or something else, we dream of a TfT where you always feel welcome.
Today, the TfT team has the good fortune to work in conditions much improved over those of ten years ago. Our creative center at 21 College was a giant step for our company.
But the fact remains that after Montreal, Quebec, Edmonton, Sudbury, Ottawa, Moncton, Caraquet, St. Boniface and Saskatoon, we deserve our own space, a home of our own. This is the only way we can put all our dreams and ambitions into action and to serve the largest francophone concentration outside Quebec!
Dear friends, do not be fooled: the challenges on the horizon are significant. We must expand the TfT family so that it fully reflects our diverse, rich, diversified Francophonie.
We must continue to resist the ideologies and forms of censorship that corrupt us as they attack the work of the creative artist.
We must continue the long-term work that will allow us one day to announce the construction of a space of our own.
We must ignore the detractors and recall that the Théâtre français de Toronto has always been – and will always be – the “theatre of all possibilities”. Our theatre!
Tonight, we celebrate the road we’ve traveled – and tomorrow, the work continues.
Long live the Théâtre français de Toronto!