‘Constitutons!’: A bold theatre project puts democracy centre stage

MONTREAL, May 15, 2018 – Director and UQAM professor Christian Lapointe of Carte Blanche theatre company and Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM) are pleased to announce CONSTITUONS!, a unique new theatre project that invites Quebecers to join a citizen-led constituent assembly with a tall order: drafting a constitution for Quebec. The initiative is designed to move this historically fraught political challenge into a non-partisan arena.

CONSTITUONS! grew out of the desire to foster open dialogue with all Quebecers around fundamental questions: Who are we? What do we want? How will we get there? The concept is premised on the notion that the theatre can be transformed from a place of mere entertainment into a veritable agora in the original Greek meaning of the word: a centre of social and civic life.

CONSTITUONS! is a theatre project in two parts. An initial series of constituent assemblies held across Quebec will serve as the raw material for the second part, a play inspired by this process of collectively drafting a constitution. By breaking down the barriers between theatre, community and politics, CONSTITUTONS! is a compelling example of the emerging documentary theatre genre.

“Since 1982, every party in power in the National Assembly could have given Quebec a constitution, which is exactly what we’re doing,” said director and professor Christian Lapointe. “Since the exercise is not mandated by the government, it’s a sort of simulation—but the debates we’ll be hearing are all too real. The process for putting in place a constituent assembly, legitimized by the involvement of INM, will blur the lines between fiction and reality, and between theatre and politics.”

In addition to Christian Lapointe and INM, theatres across Quebec will participate in the process. CONSTITUONS! is a creation of Carte Blanche and Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, and it is co-produced with Festival TransAmériques and an array of theatres around Quebec: Théâtre du Tandem (Abitibi-Témiscamingue), Théâtre des Gens d’en bas (Bas-St-Laurent), Théâtre Parminou (Centre-du-Québec), Espace K Théâtre (Côte-Nord), Théâtre du Double Signe (Estrie), Théâtre À tour de rôle (Gaspésie), STO Union (Outaouais), Théâtre de la Rubrique (Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean), co-presented by Théâtre Périscope (Capitale-Nationale).

CONSTITUONS! is a research project by Christian Lapointe, professor at the École supérieure de théâtre, supported by Université du Québec à Montréal as part of the university’s 50th anniversary celebration, and by Université du Québec’s Fonds de développement académique du réseau (FODAR), the Fonds de recherche du Québec partnership, the Syndicat des professeurs et professeures de l’Université du Québec (Montréal, Chicoutimi and Rimouski), the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université, the Fonds François-Gagnon pour le théâtre de création, and Théâtre Il Va Sans Dire.

About Institut du Nouveau Monde
Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM) is an independent, non-partisan organization whose mission is to increase citizen participation in democratic life. INM’s initiatives encourage citizen participation and foster civic engagement, strengthening social networks and increasing trust in democratic institutions. The INM team is driven by the conviction that citizen participation strengthens democracy.

About Carte Blanche
Carte Blanche produces decidedly contemporary theatre through a wide approach using visual, performing and multi-disciplinary arts. As its name suggests, the company is committed to total artistic freedom. Its mission is to inspire major Quebec theatre companies to take risks through innovative co-productions.

For more information: http://inm.qc.ca/constituons/

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