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Demers, Edgard

Ottawa-based actor, director, dancer, author and playwright, Edgard Demers was born in 1932. As an actor he played in a wide range of roles in the modern and classical repertories in French and in English. He produced and directed his own works as well as those of others, including plays by Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Eugene Ionesco, and Neil Simon. He adapted numerous stories for children for the stage by Perrault, La Fontaine and the Brothers Grimm. He has acted in, directed or produced close to 125 productions, including Maria Chapdeleine (1965), La Cantatrice chauve (1968), Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (1972, and Qui a peur de Virginia Woolf? (1974).

He hosted a radio program (Rendez-vous avec Edgard Demers) and a television series (Cocorico) on Radio-Canada’s CBOFT-Ottawa.

A reporter at Ottawa’s French-language daily newspaper Le Droit for close to fifty years (1950-1998), he was at times also the editor of its arts and culture pages. His columns “Le rideau se lève,” “D’une rive à l’autre” and “Carrefour” were widely read.

He taught dramatic arts at the Fisher Park School and Community Centre as well as at the Bill Glenn Drama School. He has appeared in numerous works with the Ottawa Community Players and the Ottawa Little Theatre and had close professional links with the Ottawa Pocket Theatre, Rex Le Lacheur Studio and Nesta Toumine’s Imperial Ballet Company and Classical Ballet Studio.

He served as Artistic Director of the City of Ottawa’s Britannia Summer Theatre Arts Festival, at Lakeside Gardens, from 1960 to 1965.

Mr. Demers created the Compagnie les Trouvères, which produced plays in 1953-1954. He was at the forefront of Ottawa’s second Compagnie les Trouvères, which became Ontario’s first French-language children’s theatre company. He was its Artistic Director from 1964 to 1969.

In the 1970s he became involved with theatre on the Quebec side of the Ottawa river, and produced plays at La Ruche (Hull), le Théâtre populaire de Pointe-Gatineau, le Théâtre de l’île (Gatineau), la Boîte à Gagard and Théâtre d’été de Lac Simon-Chénéville.

His performances were marked by a quicksilver presence. He died suddenly in Ottawa on January 22, 2004.

Information provided by Jean Yves Pelletier.

Last updated 2020-06-15