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Working Group - Quebec Theatre Of Yesterday And Today:

Theatre And Performance In Quebec Before And During The Global Pandemic

Friday, June 25, 2021 | 16:30 - 19:30

Live discussion on Zoom; spoken in French. No LSQ interpretation or translation will be offered for this event.  



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The performing arts, like other spheres of society, have been forced to redefine their contours and modes of operation since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, the motto “reinvention” was heard, leading artists, as well as the public, to reconsider their practices. This session, in the form of pre-recorded interventions and open discussion moderated by François Jardon-Gomez, will feature Nicole Nolette and Frédéric Giguère, Hervé Guay and Claudia Barbara Sévigny Trudel, and Patrick Leroux. We will address, in order, issues related to the digital shift adopted by Canada’s francophone theatres, the upheaval observed in the cultural habits of performing arts audiences in Quebec, as well as the “DIY” initiatives that have emerged in the Quebec contemporary circus milieu.

Abstracts of the contributions:

Digital Use in Francophone Canadian Theatre (Summer 2020)

In this communication, we will present the results of the survey “Digital technology in Canada’s French-language theatres.” Even before the constraints imposed by COVID-19 on the Franco-Canadian theatre community, we observed a significant digital shift in Canada’s Francophone theatre companies. This report addresses the issue of the appropriation of digital technology by these theatre companies in various fields of activity, both within their organizations and in what they project to the outside world. Organizations generally look favourably on digital and its potential uses, although many see considerable challenges. They plan to maintain the new practices they have adopted due to the current situation.

Nicole Nolette is Canada Research Chair in Minority Studies and Assistant Professor in the Department of French Studies at the University of Waterloo. Her book Jouer la traduction: Théâtre et hétérolinguisme au Canada francophone (2015), was awarded the ACRT Ann-Saddlemyer Prize and the SQET Best Book in Theatre Award (2014-2016 period). Since 2018, she has served as President of SQET and as French-language Associate Editor of the journal Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches théâtrales au Canada.

Frédéric Giguère is a doctoral student in French Studies at the University of Waterloo where he did his master’s degree. He is the recipient of several scholarships, including the “Exceptional Doctoral Student” award. He is a member of the organizing committee for the Convergences student conference of the Department of French Studies at the University of Waterloo.

The circus... intimate and renewed by the pandemic

The success and vitality of Quebec’s contemporary circus scene was based on an effective and popular aesthetic formula of spectacular exceptionalism, a capacity for innovation, an unparalleled level of acrobatic and technical prowess, and a commercial know-how that attracted millions of spectators to touring shows and those in residence. The collapse of this economic model with COVID-19 forced thousands of artists, designers, and managers in the circus world to reinvent their relationship to their profession and their art. My contribution will focus on the DIY and decidedly non-commercial initiatives that emerged during the year. What forms of circus are becoming possible in the context of the great reconstruction and refoundation of the Quebec circus?

Louis Patrick Leroux is a full professor at Concordia University in both the French Studies and English departments. His research focuses on Quebec theatre, contemporary circus, and research-creation. He is the founding director of the Groupe de recherche montréalais en arts du cirque and teaches regularly at the National Circus School of Montreal. In 2017, he was elected to the College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada.

Quantitative Study on the Behaviour of Performing Arts Audiences in Quebec before, during, and after the COVID-19 


Understanding the Behaviour of Performing Arts Audiences in Quebec in Times of Pandemic 


The communication, presented in two parts, will first address the highlights of a survey conducted among the audiences of nine companies or presenters active in theatre, dance, and circus in Montreal and the regions. This quantitative data will allow us to paint a picture of how performing arts enthusiasts in Quebec have experienced the pandemic and what their attitudes are or would be towards the alternative options presented.

In addition to this survey, qualitative interviews were conducted with 16 patrons on four themes to better understand what will be the basis for performing arts enthusiasts to decide whether or not to return to theatres once these venues reopen. The guiding assumption is that the level of engagement with the performing arts and the measures implemented will be among the factors that predict the behaviours that will be adopted.

Claudia Barbara Sévigny Trudel is a master’s student in literature (culture and digital) at UQTR and Mitacs intern.

Hervé Guay teaches in the Department of Literature and Social Communication at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. His research focuses on Quebec cultural history, discourses on theatre, scenic aesthetics, the digital in the performing arts and spectator practices. Co-director of the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la littérature et la culture québécoises from 2019 to 2021, he founded the Laboratoire de recherche sur les publics de la culture in 2015 and has been editor of the journal Tangence since 2012.