Quebec City’s newest performing arts centre, Le Diamant opens its doors

After 15 years of work and 3 years of construction, new theatre is inaugurated this August 30th

Photo Credit: Elias Djemil-Matassov

Quebec City, August 30th, 2019 – After fifteen years of work and three years of construction, Le Diamant was inaugurated today in Quebec City.

In the majestic BMO Lobby with its spectacular view of Claudie Gagnon’s symbolic work of art Atome ou le fruit des étoiles, Robert Lepage, director and project initiator, and Bernard Gilbert, General Manager and Programming Director, were surrounded by the political partners, major private donors, and architects who have worked for many years alongside the president of Le Diamant, Lynda Beaulieu, to make this brand-new performing-arts centre a reality. 

Robert Lepage explained, “After having travelled all over the world for more than 30 years, I’m setting down my suitcases in my hometown of Quebec City, and my hope is that the Le Diamant will be a unique showcase for all forms of art for all types of audiences. This unprecedented artistic convergence will allow the culture and innovation from here and beyond to shine in a remarkable and welcoming space.” 

Photo Credit: Elias Djemil-Matassov

A Shared Commitment to Bring People Together

This important occasion brought together political and business leaders committed to promoting culture: the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Member of Parliament for Québec; Nathalie Roy, Minister of Culture and Communications of Quebec; and Régis Labeaume, mayor of Quebec City. With them were the two co-presidents of the major fundraising campaign: Guy Cormier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, and Claude Gagnon, President, Operations, BMO Financial Group, Quebec. On behalf of Bell, the largest private donor, Martine Turcotte, Vice Chair, Québec, expressed the company’s commitment to Le Diamant. This exceptional architectural project is the work of the consortium Coarchitecture, In Situ and Jacques Plante Architecte, represented by Marie-Chantal Croft, senior principal architect and partner at Coarchitecture.

“This is a magnificent place where our artists and creators can better express their art and make us experience a wide range of emotions. Our government is proud to have contributed to the creation of this cutting-edge performance space, where Québécois and Canadian talent can take centre stage,” said the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

“Le Diamant will become a true performing-arts hub that features Québécois work while also introducing shows from elsewhere to discover. Without a doubt, the theatre will be a gathering place where performing-arts lovers will be able to see large-scale productions. It’s an example of a philanthropy model that the government would like to see more of in Québec, and it proves that concentrating public and private efforts creates leverage to elevate the arts and culture,” emphasizes Nathalie Roy, Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister Responsible for the French Language.

“Le Diamant will make it possible to present the best productions and will help make Quebec City an international cultural destination. In addition to increasing the cultural vitality of Place D’Youville, it’s a fabulous showcase for the world and a chance to share our accent, l’accent d’Amérique,” the mayor of Québec, Régis Labeaume, pointed out.

Beaulieu added, “It is exceptional, and we are so proud that this project had so many major partners, both public and private, including several companies that work in similar business sectors. Along with the different levels of government, the commitment and leadership of the senior executives of BMO and Desjardins made it possible to bring together a number of donors that joined Bell, which was present from the very beginning. Together, we have shown that promoting culture should be considered one of the pillars of economic development for a community.” 

“With Le Diamant, Robert Lepage and Quebec City have a unique variable-geometry auditorium to present a wide range of productions from here and elsewhere, and they have created a sustainable ecosystem for established and emerging artists and creators from the province. BMO is very proud to be a part of it.” said Claude Gagnon, President, Operations, BMO Financial Group, Quebec.

“I am very proud to be here with Robert Lepage and his whole team for the official inauguration of the ambitious, innovative project that is Le Diamant,” said Guy Cormier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, Quebec. “Le Diamant will be a world-class centre of innovation and cultural creation, as well as an excellent incubator for work by emerging artists. That’s why it was completely natural for Desjardins to support this great project that aligned with our purpose: to enrich the lives of people and communities.”

“Bell has been a dedicated supporter of Le Diamant from the very beginning, and we’re delighted with the inauguration of this technologically advanced new home for creators and culture enthusiasts,” said Martine Turcotte, Bell’s Vice Chair, Québec. “Businesses have an important role to play in ensuring the vitality of our artistic community, and we are pleased to further strengthen our commitment to Québec artists.”

Finally, Marie-Chantal Croft, senior principal architect and partner at Coarchitecture, described Le Diamant, saying, “Le Diamant, etched upon our memory: between heritage and contemporary; an urban, cultural lantern, shining from Québec to the world; a stimulating and unexpected place that’s ideal for research, creation and performance; a place of light, innovation, memory and continuity.”

Photo Credit: Elias Djemil-Matassov

An International Arts Centre

“A multidisciplinary arts centre, Le Diamant will be an open, welcoming space that will present a large range of shows for diverse audiences. Our objective is to bring the arts and people together by offering experiences that are unique, moving, challenging and surprising!” stated Gilbert.

The inaugural season will begin on September 7 with Les sept branches de la rivière Ota, a landmark, seven-hour epic play of Robert Lepage and Ex Machina that is being remounted 25 years after its creation. Le Diamant will prioritize audacity, mixing genres, and diversity by presenting around 20 national and international productions every year, including three or four shows by Ex Machina.

Gilbert continued, “From circus, theatre, marionettes for adults and boxing to the lyric and digital arts, which will be included in the 2020 programming, Le Diamant will bring together audiences and the arts—from the most audacious to the most innovative—like a researcher attuned to new ideas.”

Affordable Ticket Prices

Sensitive to accessibility, Le Diamant will offer shows at an average price of $40. A $15 ticket price for those 15 years old and under will also apply to several shows. Moreover, on the day of a show, seats will be on sale for 50% of the regular price. It’s a way to share the pleasure of cultural events with everyone, an invitation to discover all types of universes within the performing arts.

The Studio Lepage Beaulieu 

Bernard Gilbert took this symbolic moment to announce the name of the creation studio on the 5th floor. The new space for research and creation, primarily to be used by Ex Machina, takes the place of the company’s former artistic home, La Caserne. It will be called the Studio Lepage Beaulieu. 

“The board and leadership felt it was important to emphasize how Robert and Lynda, the inseparable brother and sister duo, without whom Le Diamant simply wouldn’t exist, should have a place in Le Diamant named in their honour,” Gilbert added.

Salle Hydro-Québec

The focal point of Le Diamant will be the Salle Hydro-Québec. This versatile, technologically advanced space can hold up to 650 audience members in a proscenium configuration. The stage house was custom designed to accommodate large-scale productions, allowing the audience to plunge right into the artistic experience.

“Our partnership with Le Diamant embodies Hydro-Québec’s commitment to the culture of Québec and the importance we place on arts and culture. Culture serves as a mirror for our society. It’s our collective identity, which we express in different ways in order to remember, to share, and to create the future. Just like our clean energy, the culture of Québec is a precious collective heritage that we can be proud of!” affirmed Ann Bourget, Director of Regional and Collective Affairs, Hydro-Québec.

Par cour et jardin // Sold Out

To celebrate the inauguration, the general public is invited to be among the first to discover Le Diamant, on Saturday, August 31, and Sunday, September 1. During these two afternoons, a guided walking tour, Par cour et jardin, will take visitors through different floors animated with new artistic works created for the occasion: circus artists, a marionette installation, lyric art and projections. Three main spaces will be revealed to visitors: the Studio Lepage Beaulieu on the 5th floor, the BMO Lobby and Desjardins Lobby on the 2nd floor, and, of course, the Salle Hydro-Québec, arranged in a large studio configuration. Geneviève Kérouac, general manager of Théâtre à Tempo, is the artistic coordinator of this event, which is presented in collaboration with Bell. 

The approximately 3500 free passes offered to the public on Monday, August 26, were sold out that same day.

Tuesday, September 3: The Opening of Le Diamant

After these inaugural activities, Le Diamant will begin operations on Tuesday, September 3, at noon. The box office in the entry hall will be open Tuesday through Sunday, from 12 to 6 p.m., as well as on evenings with performances. Guided and self-led tours will be offered over the coming weeks.

Photo Credit: Elias Djemil-Matassov

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