Montreal theatre, initiated in 1968 by three small semi-professional theatre companies, Le Mouvement contemporain (directed by André Brassard, Les Saltimbanques (dir. Rodrig Mathieu), and Les Apprentis-Sorciers (dir. Jean-Pierre Saulnier and Pierre Collin). The first venue was an old garage seating 100 people, used by the Apprentis-Sorciers since 1965, and named Le Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui.
The founding companies mounted separate productions of post-war European plays in the first season; and Centre des auteurs dramatiques(CEAD) sponsored public readings, including Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles-soeurs in March 1968. In the following season Les Saltimbanques and Le Mouvement contemporain ceased production, and Le Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui devoted itself entirely to the production of Quebecois drama.
The first show of the 1969-70 season was a collective work by Le Théâtre de Même Nom entitled Un Autre grand spectacle d’adieu, (dir. Jean-Claude Germain) establishing a tone of innovative and satiric Quebec theatre, and a resistance to the traditional foreign plays that had previously dominated the stage.
Jean-Claude Germain, Artistic Director from 1972 to 1982, confirmed the theatre’s mandate to produce new Quebec plays which questioned the province’s political and cultural history, directing twenty of his own plays, and works by Michel Garneau, Roland Lepage, Michelle Lalonde, Suzanne Aubry, Elizabeth Bourget, Maryse Pelletier, Gilbert Turp, and Victor-Lévy Beaulieu.
The productions featured a regular group of actors, and were accompanied by a program which provided an overview of current theatrical activities. Germain also encouraged new young directors.
Gilbert Lepage was Artistic Director from 1983 to 1987, producing plays by Michel Marc Bouchard, Normand Chaurette, René Gingras, Jean-Raymond Marcoux, Jocelyne Beaulieu, René-Daniel Dubois, Carole Frechette, and René Richard Cyr.
Robert Lalonde was AD from 1987 to 1988, and Michelle Rossignol from 1989 to 1998. In 1991, Michelle Rossignol relocated the theatre to a reconstructed cinema at 3900 rue Saint Denis, and inaugurated the new location with a trilogy of plays by Michel Tremblay. The theatre has two stages, “Salle principale” and “Salle Jean-Claude Germain,” which provides a space for the creation and development of plays by small companies.
René Richard Cyr was AD from 1999, producing works by Serge Boucher, Evelyne de la Chenelière, François Archambault, and Daniel Danis. Marie-Thérèse Fortin was Co-director General and Artistic Director from 2004 to 2012.
Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui has been a playwright-centred theatre, in which dramatic text constitutes the point of departure and the centre of artistic projects. It was dedicated exclusively to the creation, production, and dissemination of Quebec dramatic works in French. It has also toured its productions abroad. From its inception, it has produced over 300 plays, reaching an average of 30,000 spectators each season.
In 2012, Sylvain Bélanger became General and Artistic Director, returning the Company to its roots as a "Centre" of creation with a strong social and collective orientation, and a focus more on performance and spectacle than text.
Web site: www.theatredaujourdhui.qc.ca
Additional Source: Pierre MacDuff. The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. Eds. Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989.
Last updated 2021-12-01