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It’s hard to sum up in a few lines ten years, almost eleven, as artistic director of French Theatre. I have so many fleeting impressions, strong emotions, and vivid recollections that they all blur together into a single image that encompasses both the audience and the artists.
This mandate has allowed me to work with many creators, emerging and established, from the first glimmerings of their dream to its realization. I will definitely miss this privileged access to artists, to rehearsal halls. Artistic direction is not about selecting shows from a plethora of possibilities, but rather about building relationships with artists and creating consistency over time and seasons.
For a long time now, French Theatre audiences have seen a wide range of shows, and this diversity has made them demanding and open-minded, generous and receptive. Of all the artists who have visited us, Joël Pommerat has received a particularly warm welcome. Joël has brought us four memorable productions (and a fifth will be presented in June 2022), which shows how much this great artist, a beacon of contemporary European theatre, is the “darling” of our programming and our audiences.
I find it wonderful that artists come back, that the public gets attached to them and follows them. Marie Brassard, an artist with a fertile and intuitive imagination, remains a pillar of our seasons. She will be at the NAC in March with her newest creation, Violence.
I’m leaving French Theatre knowing that it will be in good hands, Mani’s hands; and in fact I won’t be far. I will cherish these joyful encounters, this fire exchanged and shared with the audience, the artists and the whole team. It’s all about sharing, and as I see it, theatre exists only in that exchange. To all of you, a huge thank you!!