June 1, 2021

“The future is an opaque wall.” Those are the first words of the message I wrote for the 2019 edition. At that time, I couldn’t have imagined that less than a year later the world would change completely, and we would all be plunged into the opacity of the future. The ability to project ourselves into the future: vanished. This past year we’ve been making our way through a dark tunnel, unable to see if there was a light at the end.

So raise high the bright torches of resilience.
Resilience on the part of a theatre community that has had to cancel, postpone and reimagine its projects over and over again.

A community that has reinvented itself by turning to the promise of digital technology as its only lifeline.
A community that has witnessed the suffering of its artists and artisans, who have always worked without a social safety net.
A community that has been forgotten by governments.

In the midst of this uncertainty, I wondered whether we should maintain Zones in 2021, or if it might not be better to postpone the biennial. But, it occurred to me that we need to reflect this resilience. Do everything possible to honour the mission of Zones Théâtrales: to create a space for meeting and connection. After all, that’s what we’ve been missing the most lately, isn’t it?

As I write these words, I think of everything that is programmed for the next edition, it is all still so precarious and subject to change. And although the pandemic isn’t tackled head on in the programming, it’s impossible to deny its existence. Its imprint can be found everywhere: it underlies every project, it is revealed by the forms of the works, and it manifests itself through a digital component.

As the past 15 months have shown, the screen can’t replace the experience of live performance, but it’s nonetheless very effective in reducing distances. And while it’s still too early to see where we’ll be in September, my team and I have taken the gamble of imagining a 2021 edition that will be mostly face-to-face, with some events accessible regardless of distance.

Most of the shows in this edition have never been presented in front of an audience, and there are many works in progress. Zones Théâtrales 2021 echoes what existed this year, what didn’t happen, and what is to come. It’s a reflection of where an entire community finds itself after this hiatus.

It is a witness. A witness to our resiliencies. A witness to our irrepressible need to be together. A witness to continuity and renewal.

We’re getting there.
The light is there, just there, at the end of the tunnel.
We want more than anything to be there
And for Zones once again to be a precious time of meeting
And to find ourselves sitting side by side, under the same roof
So that our hearts can once again beat to the same rhythm.


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. A public event that also includes an important component for theatre professionals, Zones Théâtrales is a meeting place for arts professionals, the curious and theatre lovers alike. For the public, it’s an opportunity to discover fully staged theatre productions, new plays and works in progress, and to meet the artists behind these works. For the creators, it’s an opportunity to showcase their work and thus increase their national—and even international—outreach.

 Zones Théâtrales invites participants to discover, in a convenient and accessible setting, some astonishing and dynamic approaches. All the originality and diversity, and especially the vitality, of Franco-Canadian theatre are in the spotlight on the stages of our nation’s capital.

What are you waiting for? Come discover with us!

For any question, please contact us at zonestheatrales@cna-nac.ca

Join our email list for the latest programming updates!

Don't forget this field
Don't forget this field
Please include a valid email address

Zone Pro

To come together. Online, indoors or in person, a program dedicated to arts professionals.

Zone pop

To celebrate. Gatherings to meet and discover theatre, those who create it and those who are interested in it.

Zone labo

To discover. Works in progress before anyone else, new writing and uncharted territory.

Zone web

To connect. Amazing podcasts, plays and interviews to discover wherever and whenever you like.