Porte Parole was formed in 1998 by Annabel Soutar and Alex Ivanovici as a research initiative to create and produce its own bilingual documentary plays about contemporary social and political issues in Quebec. Artistically, the Company's plays aim to cultivate, amongst its collaborators and audiences, the concept of 'The Artful Citizen' - a person who recognizes that sustaining a healthy community requires a creative vision of, and an imaginative participation in, active public dialogue. In order to meet this goal, Porte Parole's theatre provides its community with an artistic forum in which to examine its public affairs.
Porte Parole is a registered Canadian charitable organization with an eight-member Board of Directors and occupies an office space, but no performance or rehearsal spaces for the time being.
The Company produced Novembre in January 2000 at the Monument National in Montreal in association with "I Spy." A satirical documentary about the 1998 provincial election campaign and the state of democracy in Quebec, Novembre was a critical and popular success and received a 2000 Masque Awards nomination for its artistic process from the Académie québécoise du théâtre in the category "Prix de la Revelation."
PP's next play, 2000 Questions, ran for three weeks in March 2002 at Montreal's Place des Arts and was described by critics as "brilliant," "original," and "ferocious." A documentary portrait of the investment business and the high-tech speculative bubble of the Year 2000, 2000 Questions was placed on the shortlist for the "Best New Text and Best Director 2002 MECCA Awards" (Montreal English Critics Circle) and won the 2002 MECCA Award for Best Design.
In November 2002, PP launched Santé!, a series of seven one-act documentary plays about the Quebec health care system at the J. Armand Bombardier Theatre of The McCord Museum. Running monthly from November 2002 to June 2003, the Santé! series includes play performances and a series of audience discussion periods moderated by experts in the Montreal health care field, bridging the world of art and public affairs.
In January 2004, PP produced Montreal Monde, an artistic and social research exploring the various problems faced by immigrants and their integration into Quebec society. The project consisted of four short documentary plays on four different cultural communities in Montreal, along with conferences for public debate, and art, music and culinary enticements. In May 2004, PP presented Gene, a dramatic documentary probe into the fascinating science of genetic research and engineering. Both projects were presented at the Du Maurier Theatre of the Monument National.
Soutar's play Watershed premiered as part of the Panamania cultural festival during the Pan-Am Games in 2015, in collaboration with Crow's Theatre (dir. Chris Abraham, with Kristen Thomson and Eric Peterson in the cast). Soutar tackles the controversy resulting from the withdrawal of federal funding from the Experimental Lakes Area, established in 1968 in Ontario's Kenora District. The scientific uproar piqued her interest, and she provided a personal perspective by casting herself and her family, and Chris Abraham and his family in a Brechtian road-trip across Canada to trace the interconnectness of economy and environment, and the importance of stewardship for the next generation.
In 2018, Porte Parole launched two new documentary plays, The Assembly and L’assemblée — both directed by Chris Abraham. Based on interviews with individuals with very different political perspectives, the plays constitute fraught roundtable discussions amongst four Montrealers.
Web site : www.porteparole.org
Profile by Kathryn Cleveland, General Manager, Porte Parole. Additional information from Joel Fishbane, "Mother Playwright and Her Children: Annabel Soutar's The Watershed, CTR 166 (2016): 65-70.
Last updated 2020-02-28