STATEMENT: National Arts Centre Flag Flies at Half-staff in Honour of Canadian Theatre Icon Rita Lafontaine

It was with great sadness the National Arts Centre (NAC) has learned of the death of actress Rita Lafontaine, one of Canada’s greatest French-language artists. The prolific actress performed in more than a dozen works at the NAC, including Lysistrata, the very first French-language theatre play presented at the NAC in June 1969, as well as the world premiere of the seminal Albertine, en cinq temps in 1984.

Rita Lafontaine spent decades working in the theatre, particularly in a many roles created by Québec playwright Michel Tremblay specifically for her. Rita Lafontaine was featured in his first play, Les Belles-Sœurs, in 1968, she went onto work with Tremblay in many productions including Bonjour là, bonjour ! (which also premiered at the NAC in 1975), À toi pour toujours, ta Marie-Lou and Albertine en cinq temps, to name a few.

“Rita Lafontaine was so human, so close to her collaborators in the theatre, but also to the Québec people,” said Peter Herrndorf, the President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “It’s rare for a playwright to create roles specifically for any artist, but that is exactly what Michel Tremblay did when he wrote more than 12 roles for Rita Lafontaine. He once said he felt she was whispering to him as he was writing for her. Our sympathies go out to Rita Lafontaine’s family and to the entire theatre community.”

The National Arts Centre has lowered its flag to half-staff to honour Rita Lafontaine’s work on the stage, screen and television.



Carl Martin
Senior Advisor, Communications
National Arts Centre
613-947-7000, ext. 560   

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