Professional theatre company in Moncton, New Brunswick, founded by a few of the first graduates of the drama program at the Université de Moncton in 1978, and based in Moncton ever since. Dedicated originally to works for young audiences which it toured to schools across the province, Théâtre l’Escaouette has shifted to works for a more general audience in the past dozen years. However, the company still pursues its mandate for creating original plays, and has produced forty-five in total, many by Herménégilde Chiasson. It has also been enriched by frequent co-productions with companies from central Canada, such as the National Arts Centre, Théâtre de la Vieille 17 and Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario. The company still does some touring, particularly in Quebec and central Canada. For example, its remount production of Chiasson’s Pour une fois was performed in Toronto (February 2004) in a co-production with Théâtre Populaire d’Acadie.
For its 30th anniversary, the company was the site of two very exciting projects which point to significant advantages in the future of Acadian theatre. The first was the opening of the new theatre space in a converted Legion Hall in Moncton, and the second was the continued success of the biennial new-play development series entitled Festival à haute voix.
The last few years have been ones of transition for Théâtre l’Escaouette, with the renovation and development of the new building, and the administration of the theatre space. Nevertheless, the company has co-produced Herménégilde Chiasson’s two latest plays: Le Christ est apparu au Gun Club (with Théâtre français du Centre national des arts in 2003, remounted in 2005); and La grande séance (with Théâtre français du Centre national des arts and Théâtre populaire d’Acadie in 2004, the 400th anniversary of the founding of Acadie). La grande séance depicts a theatre company preparing to stage an historical pageant to mark this anniversary. The conceit allows Chiasson to use ironic distancing to interrogate both the history the play purports to celebrate and the act of theatrical representation itself as personal and communal performance.
Continuing as the centre of new-play development in Acadie, Théâtre l’Escaouette has produced plays originally developed during the Festival à haute voix: Mélanie Léger’s rollicking comedy Roger, Roger in 2005, and Jean Babineau’s tragi-comedy Tangentes in 2006.
More recently it has engaged in co-productions with other Francophone theatres in New Brunswick and Quebec. In 2011, it produced the award-winning Les trois exils de Christian E. by Christian Essiembre and Philippe Soldevila with Théâtre Sortie de secours, in which a young Acadian actor tries to make the big-time in Montreal. In 2022, it produced a translation of Daniel MacIvor's The Best Brothers as Les meilleurs frères with Théâtre populaire d’Acadie.
The Artistic Director is Marcie Babineau.
Further Reading: Canadian Theatre Review 128 (Fall 2006).
Profile by Glen Nichols, Université de Moncton
Last updated 2022-01-13