“Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT) is a professional French-language theatre company presenting repertoire as well as new work. While appealing to all lovers of French-language theatre, it contributes to the cultural and educational development of Toronto’s francophone community.”
In its 49 years, Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT) has become one of the most important French-language theatre companies outside Québec, with nearly 260 productions to its name. Today, TfT welcomes nearly 9,500 spectators each season from all over the Greater Toronto Area and Southwestern Ontario. TfT’s season consists of five productions for the general public, as well as shows for teenagers and children. TfT has played at the Berkeley Street Theatre since 1990. It offers its francophone and francophile public a varied repertoire that includes new work, Canadian and international plays as well as the great classics.
First named Théâtre du P’tit Bonheur after its first production, the company was founded in 1967.
By 1970, under its first Artistic Director, John Van Burek, it established a continuing relationship with playwright Michel Tremblay. To mark its 20th anniversary, the company changed its name to Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT).
Its 1992/93 season, under the artistic direction of Diana Leblanc, was a resounding success, with eight Dora Mavor Moore nominations.
For its 30th anniversary season TfT passed the torch to Guy Mignault. Since then, TfT has reinstated its programming for children and created a playwright-in-residence program. Guy Mignault’s first musical creation, C’était un p’tit Bonheur, won a Dora award in 1998.
In the fall of 2004, TfT launched Programme Nouvelles Générations a series of initiatives specifically geared toward children and teenagers.
Determined to foster an environment of inclusivity and accessibility within the Performing Arts, TfT began presenting all its productions with English Surtitles in 2005 — an initiative enabling theater enthusiasts to access the French repertoire in its original version and broaden their selection of entertainment in Canada’s biggest metropolis.
In November 2007, TfT celebrated its 40th anniversary to much fanfare at Toronto’s Casa Loma. This important event for the community was presided over by Governor General Michaëlle Jean and numerous other distinguished guests.
In December 2008, TfT reached another important stage in its development with the opening of its Centre for Creation. This new space in the heart of Toronto brought TfT’s administrative offices, rehearsal hall, and wardrobe facility together under one roof. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable James Moore visited the Centre for Creation in January 2009.
For the last 10 years, TfT has been steadfast in its desire to engage and introduce Francophone youth to the Performing Arts. In order to do so, the company implemented an annual educational program for local teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18. First kicked off in January 2005 under the name Les Zurbains (a program spearheaded by Théâtre Le Clou in Montreal and involving participants from Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec and Toronto) The youth educational program evolved to become in 2011, Les Zinspirés – a more localized initiative truly focusing on Toronto’s youth; this time completely spearheaded by TfT.
In 2012, the company also began offering Drama Classes for Children taught by professional educators. Parents and children alike have been very receptive towards this new program.
That same year, TfT began offering Improvisation Workshops for anyone interested in getting acquainted with the theatre world and this specific art form.
If you would like to learn more about TfT’s history, click on the link below.
HISTORIQUE DU TfT_ENGLISH
The artistic vision of the company is set out by TfT’s artistic director Guy Mignault:
From comedy to tragedy, from new original work to the great classics, the reservoir of theatrical works in French from which TfT draws the shows it presents is vast. An eclectic company, TfT produces and presents theatrical productions from both here and away. Original works occupy an important place in the company’s artistic process: they are a source of collaboration, discovery and reflection. TfT’s artistic choices are driven by the need to tell, surprise and move French theatre enthusiasts, be they children, adolescents or adults.
Because we believe in the impact that theatre can have on the community and artists, TfT’s programming must support and influence the artistic community and all enthusiasts of French theatre. In addition to presenting Canadian and international repertoire, TfT’s programming and activities must pay special attention in particular to young audiences, permit artists to develop their craft while living in French, encourage the greatest number of creators in Toronto, include original works so the public has a chance to discover new voices, and reinforce within its audiences a feeling of belonging.
The programs and activities produced by Théâtre français de Toronto are meant to support four distinct objectives:
• Present high quality and diverse theatre in French in Toronto
• Offer educational programs for our youth
• Promote the professional development of Artists
• Reach out to the Community and organize awareness raising activities
• TfT’s full theatrical season consists of 7 plays professionally produced and presented at the Berkeley Street Theatre. The programming includes new original work, co-productions and touring shows with genres ranging from the classical, to contemporary works including musicals.
• TfT schedules school matinees and makes all its shows available to Toronto students.
• The company also offers Theatre Classes for Children in its Studio which are taught by professional educators
• Finally TfT spearheads the Educational Youth Program: Les Zinspirés
Professional development of Artists:
• TfT supports a playwright residency program that gives authors the tools and support they need to create new original work.
• The company supports local talent by providing work opportunities.
Community outreach and awareness raising activities:
• TfT offers weekly improvisation workshops (for free) to francophone and Francophiles.
• Throughout the year, the company also hosts special events in its Studio such as Black History Month, The International Theatre Day and other events.
• TfT regularly offers workshops in its Studio, often in partnership with other community-based organizations in order to strengthen the local cultural network.
Our productions for young audiences have one major objective: introduce children to theatre in order to familiarize them with this form of expression. By demonstrating the sense of joy and care for perfection with which we practice our craft, we can instill in young people pleasure and pride in the French language.
Théâtre français de Toronto has a large young audience. Most of its productions are presented as school matinées.
Each season, TfT also presents Les Zinspirés, an educational program aimed at adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 residing in Toronto. It is comprised of three main components:
• A writing contest aimed at French schools and institutions offering French immersion programs.
• Three Dramaturgy Workshops where students team up with four professional writers and four professional actors to work on their stories.
• A professional theatrical production in French featuring five of the stories selected by our reading committee.
THEATRE CLASSES FOR CHILDREN:
Now in its sixth year, this initiative has proven very popular among children of all ages and we continue to offer additional sessions throughout the year to accommodate the participants.
We now make available to the children different levels of classes to accommodate their age and experience.
Our company is determined to increase accessibility and make these classes available to children regardless of their social and economical background. Consequently, the fees are largely subsidised by our not-for-profit organization. We are now partnering with The Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation to offer fully subsidized classes to children coming from low income-families who may not otherwise be able to participate. Their contribution enables us to invite a total of 12 children annually to participate in the classes
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