≈ 30 minutes · No intermission
Last updated: May 16, 2022
Imagine a show, but in the form of a forest, a parent–child gathering under a quiet canopy. You’re part of the set; you can sit and listen to the warm and soothing voice of Franco-Anishinaabeg actor and musician Emily Marie Séguin. You can also let your body resonate to the incredible range of sounds produced by Abitibi cellist Marie-Hélène Massy Emond … but it’s not only the strings of her wooden instrument that make music!
What about the water that thaws, trickles, and feeds the forest—who will play that part? Behind his console, a clever sound technician uses his singing bowls and microphones to contribute to building this forest filled with sounds, textures and flavours to be enjoyed with all the senses and at all ages.
The Voyageurs Immobiles team promises you a forest, but not just any forest: one in which you participate, one that’s born from the meeting of a drum, a cello and melting ice, one that will leave you feeling a little happier and more alive!
Tell us about this very special and unusual meeting between the three of you: Milena Buziak, an immigrant director from Poland; Marie-Hélène Massy Emond, a cellist from Abitibi; and Emily Marie Séguin, a Franco-Indigenous artist. What’s the connection?
We’re connected by our need to create a fairer, greener, more livable world for humans, plants and animals alike. Ours is a living art, so it’s important for us to create a microcosm in which we not only talk about creation, but also practise interculturalism, inclusion, mutual listening. We’re also connected by territory. We come from very different places, and we’ve been fortunate to be allowed to occupy unceded Anishinaabeg territories: the Kinawit cultural site in what is now called Val-d’Or, urban forests in what is now known as Ottawa, the banks of the Kitchi Sibi (Ottawa River)..., always in the spirit of coexisting with nature and living things, of walking gently on the back of the Earth. This project leads us, step by step, to question ourselves, to take a stand on political, social, ecological and economic issues, and to surpass ourselves in the tenderness of a well-supported creation.
(Excerpts from the company’s information kit)
Meeting – We’ve done several creative residencies since 2020. We’ve met in rehearsal spaces, but also in various forests to connect with our creative raw material. Anishinaabe Aki, the unceded territory of the Anishinaabeg people, has become the gentle cradle of our project.
Discovering – We kept quiet to listen to the energy of nature. We made noise with it! We freely explored the theatrical and musical possibilities of organic matter, water, our voices and our instruments. When you use the bow on the drum, whales appear! When you whistle into the cello, an icy wind starts to blow!
Mingling – We opened our trio to other creators and communities, including the Anishinaabeg of Kinawit. Over shared meals, fires and songs, we passionately discussed our political and social concerns, our differences and similarities, and what it means to “promise a forest” to children. We also shared our favourite spots to gather mushrooms and Labrador tea. We gave experimental performances to small invited groups to refine the work and to get a feel for our young audience.
Communicating – We created a friendly show where children and their parents are an integral part of the adventure. With us, they ARE the forest. Together, we listen to each other, we respond to each other, at the level of each person’s experience. With you, we are the soundscape of this forest. We unfold a world alive with sounds, images and sensations, an imaginary space that gives no answers, no lessons, but opens up possibilities. Because that’s what it’s all about, when you foolishly decide to promise a forest to future generations!
Reflecting the notion of spectators who travel the world through the imagination without ever leaving their seats, Voyageurs Immobiles is built around the astonishing paradox of motion and immobility. Founded in 2009, the creative company emphasizes the inner journey of the actor and the audience. It brings together artists from different cultures to work on contemporary projects, in an effort to blur the boundaries between countries and artistic disciplines in order to facilitate encounters, question our present and promote dialogue. Language is never a barrier, but a creative catalyst. Constantly reflecting on the place of art in our society as well as on the responsibility of the artist, the company’s creations appeal to the intelligence, imagination and emotions of audiences of all ages.
The company’s original shows have been presented on tour in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, France and Belgium, and have been supported at various levels by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Cole Foundation, the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), LOJIQ (Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec), the Fondation des Sourds du Québec, the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, and other public and private organizations.
Planter of roots
Emily Marie Séguin (she/they) is an emerging performer, musician, theatre creator and visual artist. She is a queer, 2-spirit artist of French and Anishinaabeg descent (Ottawa, Mattawa-Northbay FN) creating work to honor those who walked before her, and to uplift those who will after her.
She primarily works on the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Anishinabeg Nation, Ottawa (and surrounding areas).
Warmer of Woodwind Instruments
Performer, actor, author and musician Marie-Hélène Massy Emond lives in La Motte (Abitibi). All of her art, her practice, seems to be in constant dialogue with the vast boreal territory. Winner of the Prix UDA at the 2013 Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée, she has composed albums, including La cendre et le miel (2019). In true symbiosis with her cello, she coaxes an astonishing range of sounds from this piece of wood, often accompanying the music with songs and poetic stories. She also creates performances, and collaborated with a group of artists from a small town in northern Italy on an audio walk that reflects on the solitude of our times.
Artist Without Borders
As the founding director of the children’s theatre company Voyageurs Immobiles, Polish-born director Milena Buziak delights in inviting people of all backgrounds, cultures and identities to her creative table. In 2020, she was awarded the John Hirsch Prize in recognition of her talent and the uniqueness of her artistic vision.
For young audiences, her directing credits include Estelle Savasta’s Traversée (presented at the NAC in 2017) and Marcel Cremer’s Le cheval de bleu (NAC 2019), both of which featured a mixed cast of deaf and hearing actors. Her latest creation project, Cycle des utopies fertiles, will invite European, African and Indigenous creators to blend their voices in the universal language of art.
Lighter of spaces
Chann Delisle is a graduate of the École européenne supérieure d’art de Bretagne (2016) and the stage design program at the École supérieure de théâtre de l’UQAM (2019). During her studies, Chann enriched her artistic practice by learning several techniques (engraving, silkscreening, silver halide photography, drawing, sculpture, performance, installation, puppetry, lighting, set design...). She became a multi-skilled artist, specializing in all kinds of crafts. Today, her main goal is to build a personal artistic approach, between theatre and visual arts, with the manipulation of materials as a primary consideration in order to create a narrative. Lately, in addition to her practice as a stage and lighting designer, Chann has added another string to her bow: technical director.
Mani Soleymanlou: Artistic Director
Robert Gagné: Administrative Director
Mélanie Dumont: Associate Artistic Director
Guy Warin: Assistant Artistic Director and Project Manager
Véronique Lavoie-Marcus: Coordinator, Children and Youth Activities and Project Manager
Annick Huard: Associate producer of Zones Théâtrales and Project Manager
Judith Poitras: Administrative Assistant
Elyse Gauthier: Education Officer
Élise Lefebvre: Technical Director
Cynthia Shaw: Technical Director for G’zaagiin, I Promise You a Forest
Jean-Paul Nguyen: Marketing Strategist
Katrine Duguay: Associate Marketing Officer
Camylle Gauthier-Trépanier: Communication Strategist
Mireille Allaire: Senior Manager, Strategy and Communication