IC sustains local theatre
in these uncertain times

Intercultural Conversations awards $197,500 to theatre companies for the 2021-22 season

Montreal, February 2021

The pandemic has caused great disruption in the theatre community. Yet, with ever-present hope for the light at the end of the tunnel, and encouraged by museums opening and ongoing film and television production in the city, Montreal theatre companies in all their diversity have again risen to the occasion and persevered. The community is grateful that the Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles (IC-CI) program continues to sustain local productions in such uncertain times.

the cole foundation barry cole westmountmag.ca

Barry Cole, President and Chair, The Cole Foundation

Cole Foundation President and Chairman Barry Cole is proud to announce the latest round of grant winners. “Local theatre practitioners are interested in getting back on board, offering new productions with latent optimism that things will turn around. We want to continue supporting that enthusiasm,” said Cole.

Encouraging theatrical dialogue between the various cultures in Montreal

The theatre program was started to motivate the creation of professional theatre that features intercultural dialogue including themes and issues surrounding inclusion and racial diversity. For the recent competition, 13 companies were given 14 crucial grants to bolster diverse theatrical stories in Greater Montreal, for a total of $197,500 for the 2021-22 season, as well as added funding for post-show audience talkbacks to continue the conversation initiated in the play.

Determination and creativity illuminate our collective contemporary reality

Play submissions encompass a widespread range of cultures and social realities. Embracing these trying circumstances, companies have also shown innovation in their attempts to ‘COVID-proof’ their productions. On offer is a podcast adaptation where the text is front and centre as the cast questions culture, religion, spirituality, ritual and belief, and another has couples from different cultures and religions separated by glass, sharing their early love stories and highlighting the current absent human contact of our loved ones.

The community is grateful that the Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles (IC-CI) program continues to sustain local productions in such uncertain times.

Styles and inspirations include drama, physical theatre, comedy, and children’s theatre. Anticipated works, written by emerging and established playwrights, share themes and ideas about African countries and the diaspora, youth-led movements, biracial and Afro-Indigenous identity, eating together, discovering and reconstructing one’s Jewish parentage, the stigma towards disabled communities, finding hope in obscurity, Indigenous slaves in Quebec, first and second-generation immigrants, shattering Asian women stereotypes, and local lingo and slang from various Montreal neighbourhoods’ cultures and languages.

Recipients of the latest competition

The Foundation’s encouragement is palpable.

“This support is particularly meaningful as it breathes life into the development of this new creation during a period in which the performing arts face unprecedented challenges. We are honoured to be recipients of the Intercultural Conversations grant.”
– Michael Toppings, Artistic Director, MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)

Productions Ondinnok – L’Enclos de Wabus

L’Enclos de Wabus – Image: courtesy of Productions Ondinnok

“In these uncertain times, the Cole Foundation is a salutary breath that allows our creative sails to swell. Thanks to this confidence, we can continue to carry out exciting and unifying projects.”
– Simon Boudreault, Artistic Director, Simoniaques Théâtre

“In this period marked by important issues of inclusion, Intercultural Conversations is of undeniable relevance. Also addressed is the impact of the global health crisis on the arts community and our collective future.”
– David Lavoie, Co-Executive Director, Festival TransAmériques.

“The Cole Foundation has emboldened our pursuit to challenge dominant historical narratives and unearth the buried stories of the nations that make up the country we now call Canada. Their commitment has allowed the company to introduce what we are certain will become a seminal work of the modern Canadian theatre canon and to engage in deep conversations about what it means for our collective past, present and future.”
– Mathieu Murphy-Perron, Artistic Director, Tableau D’Hôte Theatre

“The Cole Foundation has done so much to enhance the discussions the theatre has been having with our audiences, our communities, our stakeholders and the public in general. It will help us continue the journey we are on to make conversations about the diversity of our society become part of the core of who we are and what we do.”
– Dean Patrick Fleming, Artistic Director of Professional Theatre, Hudson Village Theatre

“It is with great joy that we learned of the Cole Foundation’s support for this work giving voice to Afro-Indigenous women’s stories. The Foundation once again enables us to mobilize resources aimed at intercultural dialogue.”
– Geoffrey Gaquère, Artistic Director, Espace Libre

“By supporting us in this new series, the Cole Foundation allows people to share their love stories, and artists to nourish their creativity; a great way to get through the end of this pandemic.”
– Marilyn Perreault, Co-Artistic Director, Théâtre I.N.K.

Commissioning grants

Black Theatre WorkshopPirate and the Lone Voice – Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

Espace LibreWhite Wash – various writers

MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) and Boulouki Theatrethe future is another country – Manolis Antoniou

Simoniaques - Comment je suis devenu musulman

Comment je suis devenu musulman – Image: courtesy of Simoniaques Théâtre

Production grants

Festival TransAmériquesJukebox Montréal – Joris Lacoste and Élise Simonet

Hudson Village TheatreStrawberries in January – Evelyne de la Chenelière Orange Noyée-Mille, Olivier Kemeid

Productions OndinnokL’Enclos de Wabush – Louis-Karl Picard-Sioui

Productions OnishkaMarguerite – Émilie Monnet

Simoniaques Théâtre – podcast adaption of Comment je suis devenu musalman – Simon Boudreault

Surreal SoReal Theatre in collaboration with Geordie TheatreJonathan : La figure du Goéland – John Lachlan Stewart

Tableau D’Hôte TheatreMizushobai – Julie Tamiko Manning

Théâtre I.N.K. Duos en vitrine – Marilyn Perreault and company.

Translation grant

Black Theatre WorkshopSimone Half and Half – Christine Rodriguez.

Grant applications

There are two annual Intercultural Conversations grants, in October and April. The deadline for the next competition of the award is Friday, April 2, 2021, at 5 pm.

Theatre companies interested in applying for a grant can download the necessary application forms and information from the Cole Foundation’s web site at colefoundation.ca/en/programmes/intercultural-conversations

Feature image: Duos en vitrine, courtesy of Théâtre I.N.K.Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.caRead also: Past articles about Intercultural Conversations

The Cole Foundation is a private family foundation based in Montreal, initiated in 1980 by the late J. N. (Jack) Cole, a Montreal businessman and philanthropist. It supports research in pediatric leukemia and related diseases, as well as a programme of support for community initiatives, including Intercultural Conversations. The catalyst for Intercultural Conversations was the Bouchard-Taylor Commission which recognized the multi-cultures of Montreal and the need to increase the intercultural dialogue between these communities. Barry Cole has had a 30-year career in the management of the performing arts, with an emphasis on classical music. He has been the Chair and President of the Cole Foundation for the past 12 years.

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