YOU’VE ALWAYS SECRETLY WANTED TO? Official launch of the French Theatre ARGONAUTS CLUB, a cultural outreach project!

argonaut, n.  A person engaged in a dangerous but rewarding quest; an adventurer.

What do Mr. Tremblay, Ms. Diallo, Mr. Leblanc, Mr. N’Guyen and Madame Berkani have in common? Yes, they are all Francophones or Francophiles and they all live in Ottawa or Gatineau—but what else?
Could it be that none of them has ever set foot in a theatre, even though in their heart of hearts they’d love to go? Bingo!

What could be holding them back? Lack of time, a feeling that they don’t belong, shyness, lack of money, a feeling that they don’t know enough about it, the convenience of virtual entertainment, the hundred and one demands of the daily routine...? The list could go on and on, but it wouldn’t change a thing.
So is there a solution? Maybe we should try to think of ways to bridge the distance between audience and art, to create connections between the world of theatre and the outside community.

With this in mind, and in keeping with the civic, artistic and poetic vision of its artistic director, Wajdi Mouawad, the National Arts Centre (NAC) French Theatre team has taken a proactive approach and initiated a cultural outreach project to complement its 2010–11 season.
The purpose of the French Theatre Argonauts Club is to allow 10 theatre neophytes to share our artistic journey over the course of the season, and discover and explore the many layers of the art of theatre. This enlightening voyage of (self-) awareness will include informal meetings and conversations with professional theatre artists; as well, the participants will attend (free of charge) four key plays in French Theatre’s new season.
Our objective (and our hope) is that through this unique and up-close experience, our 10 participants will acquire the keys to an artistic and cultural autonomy based not on academic credentials but on emotional responses and personal insights.

Of course, the club wouldn’t get far without an experienced leader! Without a moment’s hesitation, we chose theatre artist Stanislas Nordey, director of Les Justes (presented by the NAC French Theatre, September 28–October 2). Stanislas Nordey is a passionate advocate of socially engaged theatre—and indeed, simply put, of a genuine civic conscience. On his appointment in 1997 as artistic director of the Théâtre Gérard Philipe in Saint?Denis, France, he determined to “restore people’s desire to be together, to come out and see live and living shows, to experience something authentic and immediate” (Passions civiles). He strove to treat audiences not as mere consumers, but as veritable alter egos. By reaching out to people and engaging them in a friendly dialogue, he managed to eliminate the obstacles preventing them from going to the theatre.

Therefore, the National Arts Centre French Theatre is delighted to put out an official call to all Francophones and Francophiles in Ottawa?Gatineau for 10 people willing to commit themselves body and soul to this unusual enterprise.

To be eligible to join the Argonauts Club, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a complete newcomer to theatre
  • Be able to attend all Club activities during the season (see schedule below)

How to apply
If you are eligible (as per criteria above) and interested in participating in this theatrical adventure, please write to French Theatre telling us why you want to join the Argonauts Club and what appeals to you about the project. Please include your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and birthdate.

Application deadline: October 22, 2010.

Send your letter by e-mail to or by regular mail to:
Aude Rahmani
Communications Officer
National Arts Centre French Theatre
53 Elgin Street / P.O. Box 1534, Station B
Ottawa, ON  K1P 5W1


  • Participants will not be remunerated.
  • Travel expenses will not be reimbursed.
  • Only successful applicants will be contacted.

ARGONAUTS CLUB SCHEDULE (subject to change)

Yasushi Inoué / François Girard
Pre-show discussion:   Thursday, November 18, 2010 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the NAC.
Guest speaker: Serge Lamothe, writer of the stage adaptation of the novel Le Fusil de chasse.
Performance and rencontre du jeudi (post-performance Q&A): Thursday, November 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the NAC Theatre.

Marie Brassard
Pre-show discussion: Thursday, December 2, 2010 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the NAC.
Guest speaker: Marie Brassard, writer and director of the play.
Performance and rencontre du jeudi (post-performance Q&A): Thursday, December 9 at 8:00 p.m. in the NAC Studio.

Alioune Ifra Ndiaye / Jean-Louis Sagot-Duvauroux / Patrick Le Mauff
Pre-show discussion: Thursday, March 3, 2011 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the NAC.
Guest speaker: To be announced.
Performance and rencontre du jeudi (post-performance Q&A): Thursday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the NAC Theatre.

Wajdi Mouawad
Pre-show discussion: Thursday, April 7, 2011 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the NAC.
Guest speaker: To be announced.
Performance and rencontre du jeudi (post-performance Q&A): Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the NAC Theatre.

This information is also available on the NAC website:

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Media Contact:
Aude Rahmani
Communications Officer
French Theatre
613-947-7000, ext. 396

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