Zones Théâtrales is a biennial event whose mandate is to provide a showcase and meeting point for professional theatre from Francophone communities across Canada and the Quebec Regions, those who create it, and those who attend it. Zones Théâtrales is produced by the National Arts Centre with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Transitional states

They say that every cell in the human body is replaced every seven years. We may look the same on the outside, but what lies beneath the surface has been completely transformed. On the eve of its seventh edition, we must acknowledge that Zones Théâtrales is going through a similar transformation. The year 2017 marks a shift in vision, a change in artistic directors; but it’s also an opportunity to note that the Canadian theatre community has come a long way since our first edition in 2005. There are more artists, more independent companies, and a greater diversity of practices.

This year’s lineup is a bridge linking the previous Zones with those to come. Besides our usual roster of activities, we’ve added slots for original projects that don’t fit the parameters of conventional performance. The projects Les Allogènes and Crème-Glacée will offer a window onto two artistic approaches. The creation lab, organized in partnership with Théâtre du Trillium and the National Film Board of Canada, will explore the use of new technology in stage design, and the Flash 7 will provide a platform for emerging creators to present their works in progress.

Even though everything may seem to be in a state of transition—the National Arts Centre building itself has just completed extensive renovations—some things never change. These are the core principles that shape the event: the biennial is a place to meet and mingle with new contacts and old friends. Once again this year, artists from all four corners of our nation, joined by colleagues from the international community, will gather in Ottawa to participate in Zones activities. It’s my hope that this influx of young artists will reflect the forward impetus of our seventh edition.

In that same spirit of change, this edition is a real rite of passage for me. It’s an honour to add my voice and vision to those of Paul Lefebvre, who founded the event, and René Cormier, who developed it to its current form. Building on the success of the six previous editions, the Zones Théâtrales biennial is ready to mature, to grow, to provide more support to artists and their projects to give them more visibility. This edition’s slight change of direction will perhaps offer a glimpse of what lies ahead.

Welcome to this in-between space, where we can celebrate together as we look forward to the future!

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