Cole Foundation announces Intercultural Theatre Grant Recipients

Twenty local companies awarded indispensable grants for their upcoming seasons

The Cole Foundation is pleased to announce the latest grant winners for the Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles (IC-CI) program, established to encourage greater understanding of Montreal’s cultural mosaic by having audiences enjoy professional plays showing diverse cultures on stage and seeing their stories presented.

Barry Cole, president and chairman of the Cole Foundation, explains: “Our belief is that these financial awards animate change of theatre practice to include intercultural conversation as part of mainstream theatrical society.” There are three types of intercultural dialogue considered: plays with more than one cultural community in dialogue; plays with only one cultural community- in this case the dialogue is with the audience; and plays that show the uniqueness of the French or English Quebec communities translated into the other language.

It’s heartening that intercultural dialogue is a hot topic. Of note is the ongoing ‘black face’ discussion sparked by Théâtre Rideau Vert, along with conferences on racism (Centre des Auteurs Dramatiques) and diversity (Conseil du theatre Québecois). Awareness and momentum continues with sizeable, established theatre companies submitting requests, including Centaur Theatre and Duceppe, promoting the cause on a considerable scale.  As well, there are ever-increasing numbers of new applicant companies and those that specialize in theatre for young audiences.

2016 Award Recipients

As theatre holds a mirror to society, the IC-CI granting program has reflected the varying cultural landscape over the years, marking our artistically sensitive evolution. New works this year explore the effects of radicalization, sex-selective abortion, racial profiling, feminist dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and little known circumpolar communities, among other topics. Lauded returning applicants strengthen the message: playwright Sarah Berthiaume continues to offer hard-hitting, poignant stories, Annabel Soutar addresses headlines we can’t ignore and Marcus Youssef engages and enlightens children. Cole is especially encouraged seeing requests from theatres for young audiences, “This kind of support has lasting benefits, impressing important values on children and offering productions that return to schools for multiple years.” He also appreciates following the arc of an important, intercultural piece, “The Foundation supported the commission of Porte Parole’s play about Fredy Villanueva and I’m looking forward to see the resulting production.

COMMISSIONING grants include: Black Theatre Workshop– A Tale of Two Islands by Christine Rodrigues; Geordie Productions– Radical by Marcus Youssef; Mise au Jeu– La pour rester, collective creation; Teesri Duniya Theatre– Missing Girl by Rahul Varma and Théâtre Bluff– Antioche by Sarah Berthiaume.

Volte 21- Les Électres des Amériques Les Phares de la Mémoire

PRODUCTION grant awards go to: L’Acteur en Marche– Karma by Mohsen El Gharbi; Black Theatre Workshop- Angelique by Lorena Gale, and Bluenose by Emil Sher; Centaur Theatre– You Will Remember Me by François Archambault; Duceppe– Race by David Mamet; Geordie Productions– Jabber by Marcus Youssef; Imago Theatre– Donna by Stefano Massini (also translation grant); Mise au Jeu– Féministe et Croyante by Alice Pascual; Nouveau Théâtre– Ai-je du sang de dictateur? by Didier Lucien; Porte Parole– Fredy by Annabel Soutar; Productions Menuentakuan– Muliats, collective creation; Productions Onishka– Tsekan, collective creation; Talisman Theatre– Yukonstyle by Sarah Berthiaume; Théâtre de l’Opsis– J’appelle mes frères by Jonas Hassen Khemiri; Théâtre Incliné– Nordicité/Walking on the Circle by José Babin; Théâtre I.N.K.– File d’attente by Marilyn Perreault (also
commissioning grant); Théâtre La Chapelle– The Agokwe Collective by Waawaate Fobister; Théâtre Motus– Rêves by Izumi Ashizawa & Marco Collin (also commissioning grant) and Volte 21– Les Électres des Amériques Les Phares de la Mémoire by Hanna Abd El Nour.

Race - Duceppe. Photo Credit: Caroline Laberge
Race – Duceppe. Photo Credit: Caroline Laberge



About the Cole Foundation

Cole Foundation, Barry Cole. Photo Credit: Steve Gerrard
Cole Foundation, Barry Cole. Photo Credit: Steve Gerrard

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 program of support for community initiatives. Intercultural Conversations is one of its community initiatives. The catalyst for Intercultural Conversations was the Bouchard Taylor Commission, which recognized the multicultures of Montreal and the need to increase the intercultural dialogue between these communities.

The Cole Foundation is the only private foundation in Montreal with an intercultural theatre program, offering companies up to $25,000 for production grants with the aim to modify public opinion. There is no set limit on the number of companies who can receive funding. Recent grants, totalling a record $334,000 presented to the highest number of applicants since the program’s creation, went to theatre companies for their 2016-2018 seasons. For this year’s competition, the Foundation received 40 applications from 35 companies – 23 French and 12 English, an 11% increase compared to last year. These figures include 3 First Nations productions; 2 in French and 1 in English. Thirty-four applications were for production grants, 10 requests for commissioning money and 1 for translation. Since its inception, the Foundation has contributed to the costs of commissioning 34 plays, the translation of 32 plays, production costs of 90 plays, plus various workshops and outreach events. A panel of bilingual Montreal theatre professionals adjudicate the applications.

Grants for the next competition relate to shows starting March 1 for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 theatre seasons. The deadline for the next competition of the award is Sept. 30, 2016. Theatre companies interested in applying for a grant will be able to download the necessary application forms from the Cole Foundation’s web site at:

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