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Les Jeunes Messieurs Canadiens

CTE photo
Joseph Quesnel, founder of Les Jeunes Messieurs Canadiens

Theatre company founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1780 and disbanded in 1817.

The company's director was Captain Joseph Quesnel de la Rivaudais, who had been arrested in 1779 while trying to bring arms to the Americans. He was joined by a cross-section of society in the New World at the time, including the son of an architect, a deputy of the Assembly of Lower Canada, a Huguenot, and two men who had lost their fathers in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Their first work was Grégoire, ou L'Incommodité de la grandeur, their second was Molière's Les Fourberies de Scapin. (They would go on to perform many of Molière's plays).

In the 1789-90 season they presented a series of musical works including the first Canadian opera, Colas et Colinette, ou Le Bailli Dupé by Quesnel. The company was operating concurrently with Allen's Company of Comedians.

In 1792 the company moved to Quebec City where they celebrated the first anniversary of the National Assembly with five works by Molière and Beaumarchais' Le Barbier de Séville/Barber of Seville. After several temporary homes they built the Patagonian Theatre in 1804.

The function of the company was not only to present theatre, but also to protect French culture in their working and social lives.

See also: Canadian Theatre History

Profile by Gaetan Charlebois

Last updated 2021-03-15