Théâtre français de Toronto reopens its doors!
Théâtre français de Toronto’s (TfT) new 2021-2022 “bi-modal” season has launched. In parallel with productions available as webcasts directly from its new website (designed and rebuilt specifically to accommodate virtual programming), the company will also offer in-person shows beginning this January! This will be the first time since February 2020 that TfT will welcome its public to the theatre. Note that in September, TfT had presented the outdoor show La Bulle by Corpus ; a tremendous success that proved that, despite the current pandemic, theatrical events could be held safely, and that despite a long absence, the audience’s enthusiasm had not diminished.
This new season is co-developed by Joël Beddows and Karine Ricard, who officially assumed artistic direction of TfT in July. On this subject, Karine says, “You will discern some elements that align with my vision for the future of the company and my artistic inclinations…. This is a wonderful opportunity to seek the Other, to share with you a multitude of points of view, and to forge links with stateless and anonymous communities, to meet them and hear their voices. This is what drives me!”
TfT: GENERAL PUBLIC IN-PERSON SEASON
The in-person season will debut with Manman la mer, a Théâtre Catapulte production, presented from January 20 to 23, 2022. Written by and performed with sensitivity by Djennie Laguerre, the play shines a light on women and Caribbean spirituality to honour and explore the themes of mother-daughter relationships with humour and authenticity.
From February 4 to 12, 2022, the company will present Solstice d’hiver by Roland Schimmelpfennig co-produced with Le Groupe de la Veillée (Montréal). A play that is both comical and troubling in which director Joël Beddows conjures a society obsessed with comfort, success, and stability.
From March 30 to April 8, 2022, TfT will have the pleasure to present (finally!) Le Club des éphémères. This creation co-produced with Théâtre du Nouvel Ontario was initially scheduled to run in April 2020. The young Franco-Ontarian director Dillon Orr (this year’s recipient of the Prix Pauline McGibbon Award from the Ontario Arts Council) directs Alain Doom’s latest play, developed during a writing residency at TfT. This sharp, feminist-flavoured comedy will be the chance to see outstanding performers Esther Beauchemin, Hélène Dallaire, Marie-Hélène Fontaine, Geneviève Langlois, and Diane Losier play the Dionne Quintuplets.
From June 2 to 10, 2022, Théâtre français de Toronto and Crow’s Theatre will present Singulières, a creation of the collective Nous sommes ici, Théâtre Catapulte, and Théâtre La Bordée. In the form of an inquiry at once funny, lively, and surprising (based on real accounts of women), playwright Maxime Beauregard-Martin and director Alexandre Fecteau redefine the portrait of today’s single woman and explore feminism and Catholic conventions deeply rooted in Québécois culture.
TfT: IN-PERSON FAMILY SHOWS
Determined to introduce the magic of theatre to a new generation of spectators, TfT will present Petit bout de bois from April 24 to 27, 2022, at Alliance française de Toronto’s Spadina Theatre. From Senegal, this puppet show written and performed by Patricia Gomis thrusts us into the daily life of street children in Dakar.
Again this year, TfT will partner with Weefestival for toddlers. The festival’s full program will be unveiled at a later date, but TfT can already announce Yassama et la calebasse aux cauris (Yassama and the Beaded Calabash) by Lua Shayenne and directed by Karine Ricard, an ecological tale where African oral tradition, theatre, and dance converge.
Last season, while our society was periodically confined to cope with the health crisis, TfT set up virtual programming designed to support and entertain its community. Enriched by this experience and having developed new expertise in the audiovisual production field, the company has decided to continue this strategy this year and offer its public shows by webcast.
Beginning December 14, the 9th edition of Les Zinspiré.e.s will be available online on TfT’s website. This 5-episode web series directed by Francesca Bàrcenas will in fact launch the company’s new online platform.
Also in November, schools in the region can schedule a livestream in their classroom with a professional actor. Indeed, in Ti-Jean de partout by VOX Théâtre, an artist will recount the adventures of Ti-Jean, a key character of Canadian folk tales, before leading a puppet-making workshop.
In April, TfT will present Les Liaisons dangereuses : Correspondances inédites by Sébastien Bertrand, inspired by the classic novel penned by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. This original play will also be presented in web series format, this time directed by Karine Ricard and exclusively available on the digital platform.
Finally, in June 2022, the show Singulières will be simultaneously presented at Crowsnest Theatre and as a webcast. This “bi-modal” presentation underlines TfT’s determination to offer maximum flexibility to its audiences to ensure their comfort and safety.
TfT: OTHER ACTIVITIES
The Book Club
In partnership with Alliance Française de Toronto, TfT continues to offer a book club led by Hadrien Volle. This virtual meet-up will be a chance to discuss and explore great mythic scenes that have marked the world of theatre.
Theatre classes for children – in person
Every Saturday morning from September 2021 to June 2022, Eudes La Roche-Francoeur and Elisabeth Dorion-Soucy will hold theatre classes for children in TfT’s studio.
The writing competition: Les Zinspiré. e.s
The company continues its mission to encourage the creators of tomorrow to conceive, write, and develop original scripts and then submit them to our provincial writing competition led by Pierre Simpson. A competition that has already reached more than 50,000 teenagers and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season!
Full details on productions, casts, and subscription options are available on our brand-new website: www.theatrefrancais.com.
A WORD FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Our absence was long and necessary. Our society needed time to protect and organize itself. But we’ve now reached a point where we can safely return to live events in person — safely. Theatre, in particular, remains the perfect place to exchange and discover new perspectives, new bold ideas that constantly crisscross each other.
It’s no surprise then that 2021-2022 season was imagined as a crossroads, a passing of the torch between Joël Beddows, former artistic director, and me who proudly takes over. We both had a hand in shaping this season, and you will discern some elements that align with my vision for the future of the company and my artistic inclinations.
Indeed, this is a brand new beginning for me, our team, and our artists. It is also a new beginning for TfT, which is offering a “bimodal” season with in-person programming alongside that available on our webcasting platform. It is also, in a way, a new beginning for you, the spectators, who are finally returning to our theatres.
This is a wonderful opportunity to seek the Other, to share with you a multitude of points of view, and to forge links with stateless and anonymous communities, to meet them and hear their voices. This is what drives me!
You will notice that this season is a feminine one. Within it, you will discover Singulières and Le Club des Éphémères, two shows with an all-woman cast. You’ll witness the talent of two female directors who headed Les Zinspiré.e.s : Flambant 9 and Les Liaisons dangereuses respectively, two webcasts that will be available on our digital platform. You will meet four authors who, inspired by their experiences and their cultures, will take us on a journey in Manman la mer, Petit Bout de bois, Yassama et la Calebasse aux Cauris, and Ti-Jean de partout. But as this season is also a crossroads of themes and styles, you will also be challenged by the warning of German author Roland Schimmelpfennig who, in Solstice d’hiver (Winter Solstice), exposes the vulnerability of our society.
Through the voices of our creators, our performers of all genres and places, I invite you to celebrate with me this fragile balance that accurately reflects the portrait of our society. Welcome back to the theatre!