Reviews & Previews

Quebec Drama Federation proves Indie English theatre alive and well

Montrealers are once again looking forward to a vibrant and varied theatre season.

One click on the Quebec Drama Federation website, quebecdrama.org, will take you to a calendar detailing “what’s on” any given day.  Almost any time of the year you can find a live performance to attend, whether created by an established large company, or a fledgling but often excellent student production.

In between the two is independent professional theatre, small companies that can be seen as the hidden gems of the theatre world. Although they don’t have a physical space to call their own and may only produce one or two shows a year, they can make an impact on the theatre scene.

“The strength of independent theatre companies is that art is the driving force,” says Emma Tibaldo, artistic and executive director of the Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal. “They have a very strong feeling about what they’re producing and that’s what makes it so exciting. You get to see the true artistic vision of every artistic director of independent companies.”

Every company has its own mandate, Tibaldo explained. “Teesri Dunya is about political and cultural diversity, Imago is the feminist perspective, Talisman is about Québecois work translated to English, Repercussion is Shakespeare in the park, while Hudson is summer quality theatre.” Among others, Geordie Productions aims to provide high quality theatre experiences to children and youth while Black Theatre is committed to reflecting Black culture and community by giving a voice to Black Canadian artists. Tibaldo’s company, the Playwrights Workshop helps writers get their plays from the desk to the spotlight by “supporting the evolution of new work for the stage.”

Among the highlights coming up in the next theatre season are Geordie Productions’ The Halloween Tree, (October 21-30) adapted from a Ray Bradbury short story, and Teesri Duniya Theatre’s The Refugee Hotel (October 26-November 13), chronicling the story of Chilean refugees while exploring Canada’s ability to embrace its new citizens. Also intriguing is Imago Theatre’s An Intractable Woman, (February 9-19), which honours Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist and human rights activist who was murdered after denouncing the Second Chechen War.

For a full listing (sometimes there are two a day) visit quebecdrama.org.

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