Francophone theatre company in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, founded in 1985 by Alphonse Gaudet, Carmen Gareau, and Michel Quirion "to develop a fransaskois theatre theatre which highlighted self-exploration, self-definition, self-acceptance, and self-celebration" (Cottreau 250). The first production was a newly created work entitled Azarie about the cultural marginalization of elderly Franksaskois in the provincial nursing home system. The company was incorporated in 1985 with Gaudet as the first Artistic Director.
From 1990 to 2019, Denis Rouleau has been Artistic Director. Rouleau maintained three community-based productions, and instituted a production for young audiences which toured the province. La Troupe du Jour became the only professional francophone theatre company in the province, performing works aimed at adult and young audiences. In 1992 Rouleau instituted Le Cercle des écrivains to develop new works, and Le Festival de la dramaturgie fransaskoise to highlight these works through platform readings. This was followed by Le Festival de la dramaturgie des prairies (1998, 1999, 2001), which included playwrights associated with Edmonton's UniThéâtre. In 2003, the name was changed to Festival de la dramaturgie de l'Ouest, hosted over a five-week period by Troupe du Jour, UniThéâtre, and Théâtre la Seizième. "Of the forty-three plays produced between 1985 and 2001, seventeen were original creations or adaptations by writers from the region. After 2001, about fifteen original plays for adults were written by Fransaskois authors and developed with the support of Le Cercle des écrivains at La Troupe du Jour" (Marie-Diane Clarke and Ian C. Nelson).
The Company also produces English-Canadian and classic plays in translation, and engages in co-productions with Quebec and other French Canadian theatre companies. Some plays are performed in English and French on alternate nights, with the same cast, but different directors. English surtitles are used for most plays. Recently, it has undertaken the production of bi-lingual works. It trains actors, and sponsors outreach programs.
La Troupe du Jour has performed in different venues in Saskatoon, notably at Persephone Theatre and Le Relais (the hall of the Fédération des francophones de Saskatoon). In 2011, it opened its new home base in the Centre de production in Saskatoon.
Newly developed works in French constitute about fifty per cent of its repertoire, many based on francophone history in the province, and local cultural traditions; for example, Raoul Granger's Le marriage d'la fille Gareau; Madeleine Blais-Dahlem's Foyer (2003), Les Veux Pèteux (2008), and La Maculée (2011); Gilles Poulain-Denis' Rearview (2009).
Among other works the company has performed are the French-language premiere of Frank Moher's Odd Jobs as L'Homme à tour faire, 1991 (translated by Laurier Gareau and Simone Verville); Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters as Les Reines de la réserve, 1996 (trans. Jocelyne Beaulieu); Alain Pomerleau's multimedia production about the internet called Via le net in 1999; Mansel Robinson's Ghost Trains, 2003, as Le Train fantome (trans. Laurier Gareau); Michel Tremblay's Encore une fois, si vous le permettez, 2004; Joan MacLeod's The Shape of a Girl as Cette Fille-la, 2005 (trans. Olivier Choissiere); David French's Salt-Water Moon 2006 as Une Lune d'eau salée); Evelyne de la Chenelière's Au bout du fil Bashir Lazhar (2008); and Kevin Kerr's Unity (1918) 2008 (trans Paul Lefebvre).
In 2011, Denis Rouleau was awarded Le Prix Marcus-Banque Nationale for his major contribution to the development of francophone theatre in Canada.
In 2019, Bruce McKay was appointed Artistic Director, and Gabriel Gosselin was appointed Administrative Director.
Sources: Deborah Cottreau. "Celebrating the Fransaskois Voice: La Nouvelle Dramaturgie de La Troupe du Jour," Theatre Research in Canada 33.2 (2012): 250-259; Louise H. Forsyth. "Creating Francophone Theatre in Saskatchewan," West-Words: Celebrating Western Canadian Theatre and Playwriting. Ed. Moira J. Day. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, 2011; Marie-Diane Clarke and Ian C. Nelson. "La Troupe du Jour in the Fransaskois Community: Inclusion Strategies and Multicultural Spaces," Canadian Theatre Review 154: Spring 2013.
Last updated 2020-01-14