Pictured: Mathieu Murphy-Perron (second to right) and Mike Payette (far right) with some members of the cast and crew of Tableau D’Hôte Theatre’s Suburban Motel in 2009. The co-founding Artistic Directors – present and past, respectively – are joined in this interview by valued collaborators Liz Valdez, Marcus Youssef, Paul Brian Imperial, Rebecca Harper, Cat Lemieux, and Jaclyn Turner for a collective reflection on the Montreal company’s fifteen year legacy.
Fifteen years back from this milestone date of March 25th, 2020, one could have been privy to the makings of one of Montreal’s longest standing independent theatre companies by eavesdropping in on a pair of first-year Concordia theatre students at New Moon pizzeria. One glance at the table menu and their hunger for a name had been satiated: Tableau D’Hôte – capital D, capital H, circumflexed O.
The popular Loyola Campus diner, ground zero for many of Mathieu Murphy-Perron’s and Mike Payette’s early schemings, has since closed its doors, but business was only just beginning for its two loyal clients.
Payette’s and Murphy-Perron’s relationship dates as far back as 2001, who even then as adolescents had already started devising and directing works for the stage, but it wasn’t until their university days that they began to produce as a unit and formalize their artistic ambitions through the co-creation of a company. Kinship, however, wasn’t quite exactly the initial force that bound them to the joint venture.
“It makes absolutely no sense,” they mutually bemuse when asked why they decided to partner with the other for what would the most defining undertaking of their early careers (their stark differences in personality prompts the question). “I know there were periods of time where Mat thought I was a douchebag, and I confess I thought the same of him as well,” Payette confides with a smile. “To be honest, there was always a little bit of friendly competition between Mike and I,” acknowledges a disarming Murphy-Perron, “but at some point we then realized, ‘why not channel that energy into collaboration?’. In many ways we balanced each other out. We also already knew each other, we respected each other, and we both had the ambition to do something that no one else was doing at the time.
Co-founders Mathieu Murphy-Perron and Mike Payette circa 2006.
Photo: Phil Malizia
Schoolkid startups propelled by the stamina (and sometimes self-assured hubris) of youth are no novel endeavours, but industry insiders soon noted an inkling of the exceptional in the co-founding artistic directors of Tableau D’Hôte Theatre.
“I immediately knew that these two were among those rare folk that you encounter in classrooms who have the deep desire and drive to make something as challenging as an indie theatre company happen,” begins Marcus Youssef, a Siminovitch-winning playwright, former Artistic Director of Vancouver’s Neworld Theatre, and former professor to Mathieu and Mike at Concordia. “I took on strongly to them because their interests were similar to mine in terms of creating theatre that actually had an active relationship to things that were occurring in the world, in a concrete way. They were among my favourite students, honestly.”
Marcus Youssef, Sarah Stanley, Diane Roberts, Bryan Doubt, and Lib Spry are among the educators credited by the duo as being instrumental in broadening their horizons of the local and international theatre landscape whilst still in the academic microcosm.
But none more so than longtime friend, collaborator, and teacher Liz Valdez, with whom the pair first began studying under as teenagers at various schools, including the Actors’ Studio of Montreal and the Saidye Bronfman Centre (now the Segal Centre for Performing Arts).
“I’ve known Mat and Mike for twenty years now. I called them my kids. Sure, today we’re colleagues, but they’ll forever be my kids. Risk-taking is at the core of my artistic and educational practice, and they clearly took that lesson to heart. I’ve loved the worlds we’ve created together and I look forward to creating many more with Tableau D’Hôte in the years to come,” says Valdez, resident Associate Producer who has won both Montreal English Critics Circle Awards (MECCA) and Montreal English Theatre Awards (META) for her directorial contributions to the company.
“We owe much to the mentors we’ve had,” recognizes Murphy-Perron. “It was Liz who first introduced me to George F. Walker, Judith Thompson, and Morris Panych. It blew my mind to discover that there were people writing plays right here in Canada. Why had I only been taught about Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams prior to that?”
From there the entrepreneurial mandate began to take distinguishable form. “Tableau D’Hôte Theatre was born from a want to see more Canadian representation on Montreal stages,” explains Payette. “And it’s not that local content wasn’t being created, but we weren’t particularly impressed by what was being produced, and the stories that were out there didn’t speak to our generation. I don’t know if we could have articulated it back then, but Mat and I know now that a lot of our inspiration came from the discourse in what we wanted to see in our city that wasn’t being addressed by the larger commercial theatre institutions at the time. And at [the ages of] nineteen and twenty, we thought we could do better.” he chuckles.
Murphy-Perron echoes the aspiration: “We loved what Toronto’s Factory Theatre had done in the 70’s and we wanted to be a smaller-scale student (and eventually non-student) version of that in Montreal. We had complete faith that we could make it happen. We didn’t know exactly how – but we knew we’d get there.”
Lawrence and Holloman at the Actors’ Studio of Montreal in March of 2005, which featured Mathieu and Mike in the cast (the two-hander was the first and last time the two performed on stage together with Tableau D’Hôte.) | Photographed design elements: Marie-Christine Meunier (Set, Lighting and Costumes)
A concerted and intrepid response to a perceived gap in English Montreal theatre, Tableau D’Hôte etched an instant mark on the scene with an ambitious inaugural season of four shows from 2005-2006: Panych’s Lawrence and Holloman, Walker’s Tough!, Murphy-Perron’s own PrAgression, and Thompson’s I Am Yours.
Then, within their second season, the regional landscape shifted with the migration and closure of several frontrunning independent companies – most notably, Gravy Bath Productions and the Montreal Theatre Company – and, in the vestigial vacuum of foldings, Mike and Mat’s brainchild found itself embraced by the community and the media as one of the new darlings of Montreal indie theatre.
By its third year, Tableau D’Hôte had already amassed its first MECCA, along with a loyal following of audiences and collaborators.
“Our profile got really large really quickly,” analyzes Payette. “In our first year, we were all mostly students. Toward the end of the second season, however, we began to notice that the professional community was also now paying attention because we were providing work opportunities where so few were available. At the beginning we were paying our pro artists next to nothing, but at the end of the day they too just wanted to be a part of this ‘movement’, if we can call it that – this resurgence of a fresh voice.”
And it was the sui genesis voice of contemporary Canadian theatre committed to telling stories celebrated across the country that had never before been heard in English.
One Night – a striking melange of theatre, dance, poetry, and projections – was the company’s first foray into development. “The design for that show was fantastic, of course, but it was also a highlight for me in that it was a true collaboration. I really boil my experience with Tableau D’Hôte down to meeting so many amazing, creative people that taught me so much in terms of cooperation and different ways of working.” – Rebecca Harper, Director/Co-Choreographer| Photographed design elements: Sonja Rainey (Set), Noémi Poulin (Lighting and Costumes). Photo: Sabina Matiyuku
The new wave of young creators readily pulled in a tide of other industrious budding talent – many of whom have credited the company for providing them with early breakout work in an insulated market. Tableau D’Hôte collaborators past and present comprise many of the city’s foremost theatre practitioners today.
Paul Brian Imperial is such a name. The resident Associate Producer has been involved with the troupe from their debut production.
“Tableau D’Hôte has given many opportunities for artists to develop their skills, and not only in their own fields. Working on so many productions in different capacities has given me the tools, the resume, and the contacts to also go on to other projects,” affirms Brian Imperial, who is presently an Associate Producer at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts.
Rebecca Harper, Head of Movement at the National Theatre School of Canada, also came on board during the first season with I Am Yours at MainLine Theatre as an up-and-coming director and choreographer.
“As an emerging artist, I just wanted to be in any rehearsal room, and with Tableau D’Hôte I not only got to watch professional artists work – which is incredibly valuable when you’re starting out – but to really see what drive looked like as a young person,” she conveys. “Mat and Mike offered so much guidance, but they also provided the freedom and space to let me be the artist that I needed to be at that time.”
Celebrated stage and screen performer Cat Lemieux joined the company in 2007 with 7 Stories, and later also left an imprint in Suburban Motel and Dark Owl. She shares in her grateful nostalgia: “Tableau D’Hôte was seminal – that is the word for me – as an actor. It cemented my career. It’s an odd thing to pursue acting as a profession and to encourage yourself to do that, and that’s all the more true for emerging artists. Even if you have a formal theatre education, you still need to be able to practice, perform, and establish your art within yourself. Mat and Mike’s belief in me kept me going. This company was – and is – in many ways based on giving people a chance to spread their wings, and that’s really the spirit of it for me.”
Jaclyn Turner joined the team in 2010 in a unique capacity – first as a photographer, and more recently by bringing a keen artistic eye to the production side of things as a set and projection designer. Coming from a background in architecture and photography, “I didn’t know anything about theatre,” says Turner (who is also Murphy-Perron’s cohabiting partner). “Transitioning into this world was completely unexpected, but it came just at the right time when I was wanting to make a shift in my life. I was willing to try new things, and I was given here that chance.”
In due time, Tableau D’Hôte was thus not only a vessel for new stage practitioners, but a sought out employer for veteran creators. The bridging of emerging and established artists in a professional independent setting became part of the company’s fabric in its early years.
“Doing Morris Panych’s 7 Stories at Theatre St Catherine was one a moment of high artistry for me. What set designer Jennifer Goodman was able to create using that small space was remarkable [her work went on to win the 2008 MECCA for Best Set]. Being able to bring one of my favourite Canadian plays to life in that way and to have it received the way it was received was a career highlight.”
– Mathieu Murphy-Perron, Artistic Director | Photographed design elements: Jennifer Goodman (Set), Noémi Poulin (costumes), Cara de Grandpré (lighting). Photo: Cindy Lopez
By the time it had reached its five year milestone, Tableau D’Hôte Theatre was closing in on staging a total of twenty shows as the production value of shows increased, presenting houses got bigger, and the roster of professional collaborators lengthened.
“We started by doing four shows in our first season – which is a ridiculous concept – and maintained a similar rhythm for a number of years,” marvels Payette. “I don’t know what independent company thinks that way. I would never advise anyone to do that today unless you had your resources lined up. If you can do one show every couple or so years, you’re lucky. We were crazy.”
As per the old adage, however, with great power comes great responsibility, and the sustainability of their machinal, prodigious efforts began to come into question.
“As we grew, we needed more resources to support our expanding structure,” articulates Murphy-Perron, “but working in Montreal as a linguistic minority amounts to a limited audience pool. We were continuing to struggle to sell more tickets and to receive funding, and ended up putting much of our own money into the company,” he divulges.
“There was this one show, for example, that we did in our third season where we were really broke. We needed to make the floor of our slanted set for 7 Stories sticky so actors wouldn’t slip and slide on it, and the solution we came up with was to pour Coke on the ground. But neither Mike and I had any cash for a bottle of Coke at that time. He was living off of coffee and I was living on a muffin a day.”
Turner reflects on the hardship. “When I first started dating Mat a decade ago, I didn’t understand why he couldn’t see me until he finished “tech” (whatever that was) at eleven at night, and how he could literally spend a whole day without eating,” she recollects. “But I discovered the many parallels between theatre artists and architects: people in both fields work ridiculous hours, are compelled to shape worlds, and certainly don’t do it for the money. And now that I’m also working as a theatre designer I know just how easy it is to forget to eat when you’re stuck in a black box for twelve hours a day.”
Payette recalls “months of literally deciding whether I was going to buy a pack of Ramen, pay my rent, or pay an artist.” It was always a question of balancing the trifecta of money versus opportunity versus exposure, “and Mat and I fought a lot about it. However, we always ended up doing our shows.”
“When you’re a sucker for the art and a sucker for the story, you want to do everything you can – even if that comes at great personal sacrifice,” Murphy-Perron concedes. “I am extremely appreciative of Jaclyn for supporting me in the sometimes the ludicrous amounts of time that I dedicate to bringing this stuff alive.”
“One of my highlight experiences was Suburban Motel at the MainLine Theatre in 2009, where we had rehearsed and presented six shows concurrently. The designers and actors were working on multiple productions simultaneously, directors were both directing and performing in shows, and as a stage manager I was managing several casts, crew, and costs at the same time. It was a testament that it was possible to do so many different projects at once as long as management is in communication with each other and has an outline in place.” – Paul Brian Imperial
“When it was hard, it was really hard,” Payette reveals. “There was this particularly difficult period when the company had gotten to a place where there was an expectation of us to perform. At this point, we were both in our early to mid twenties, and just trying to survive. One day, I was working at a sandwich shop to pay for Tableau D’Hôte, and someone recognized me. I was so embarrassed; I felt like a sham. At that time Mat was doing a lot of advocacy work and solidifying himself in that, and I suddenly felt isolated and alone in just trying to keep things alive (which I’m sure he felt as well). In that moment, I began to worry: ‘are we losing our friendship over this?'”
Murphy-Perron reflects. “For me, my low point came after Suburban Motel, even if it was otherwise a stellar moment of artistic fulfillment. No one had ever staged all of Walker’s six plays at once before, and it was huge. The hype around the project was massive. But we still lost so much money, and that really discouraged me, so I went into cruise control mode for a number of years. Mike’s artistic career was starting to flourish exponentially and I had other demanding jobs outside of theatre, so I took a step back and became less artistically involved. The company was doing great work. But I was disengaged.”
The ADs report mutually agreeing to re-evaluate the company around year eleven: if the financial outlook didn’t improve, they were going to call it a day.
It was in year eleven that the grants finally began to regularly come in. And it was in year eleven that Mike Payette stepped down from Tableau D’Hôte Theatre to take the helm of Geordie Theatre as its newly appointed Artistic Director.
“Mat and Mike called me one day and said they wanted to do a production of A Lion in the Sand at the Segal Centre, which was my first play. It’s a dark, difficult piece and I thought to myself, ‘are you kidding me’? These were my students, and I loved them, but it’s a challenging play to make work. It did extraordinarily well. That made me go, ‘oh, they’re serious in terms of their drive, and they actually know how to make complex shows work’. And that’s a rare commodity. I have nothing but support and appreciation for the decade and a half of the hard work they’ve done to make Tableau D’Hôte a real thing.” – Marcus Youssef, Playwright | Photographed design elements: Lara Kaluza (set), Noémi Poulin (lighting and costumes). Photo: Laura D’Alessandro
Mathieu Murphy-Perron continued solo at the reins of Tableau D’Hôte Theatre. But the tight cords of friendship had not been lost.
“I didn’t want to leave the company without knowing that I would always have this lifelong partner,” shares Payette. “After our rough spot had passed, I came to realize that what I do is not important enough for me to forget about somebody who has given as much as I have to something that we both believed in profoundly. Nothing is worth it at the end of the day if you can’t treat the value of the connections you’ve made. Mat taught me patience, perseverance, and trust. And the necessity to be kind in collaboration is something that through him, I really understand on a deeper level now.”
The appreciation is reciprocal.
“Mike also taught me the importance of kindness and, really, this is fully to his credit. I carried a lot of harshness with me in those times, and it would have been very easy for a lesser man to say, ‘I’m out’. But he didn’t. I think I’m less harsh now and it’s entirely because of his compassion and instance in holding all of us to a higher moral standard.”
2018 remount of Michel Tremblay’s Hosanna at Centaur Theatre. Photographed design elements: Lara Kaluza (set), Noémi Poulin (costumes), Audrey-Anne Bouchard (lighting). Photo: Andrée Lanthier
The time leading up to Payette’s departure was defining for the company. Their critically acclaimed Another Home Invasion by Joan MacLeod – Payette’s last production at the helm of the company – amassed six META nominations, their multi-META earning Hosanna by Michel Tremblay had been solicited for a remount at the Centaur Theatre for the next season, and everything was lining up for their Québec Premiere co-production (with Black Theatre Workshop) of Lorena Gale’s Angélique. It marked the final show Mike and Mat programmed together. One that rippled through the community with extraordinary reception.
Even with his co-founder’s departure, “it was never a question for me that Tableau D’Hôte would close shop,” says Mathieu. “And Mike stepping away forced me to go back to the big-picture re-visioning of it: Why did I start this company? What kind of stories do I want to tell? Who am I as an artist, right here, right now, in relation to world around me? I was tired of being on autopilot, and soon enough that drive, energy, creativity, and fearlessness I had when I first began came rushing back.”
“A lot changed with Angélique. It lit a bit of a fire,” says Murphy-Perron (we smile at the pun).
The masterwork swept the nominations at that year’s METAs and was awarded the top honour of Outstanding PACT Production.
Lorena Gale’s Angéique at the National Arts Centre. Photographed design elements: Eo Sharp (Set and costumes), David Perreault Ninacs (Lighting). Photo: Andrew Alexander
“Seeing people respond to Gale’s world with their own appall at themselves and at our educational system for not previously knowing this part of Montreal’s history really solidified my vision and mandate for Tableau D’Hôte Theatre,” asserts Murphy-Perron. “Storytelling is what drew me to theatre in the first place, and that has evolved into a desire to tell more stories that challenge the dominant historical narratives that seek to shape our sense of self and of country.”
Theatre as a means for social change is at the core of Murphy-Perron’s hustle today.
“Mat’s sociopolitical care that has evolved for him through time has become a focal point in his creation,” contributes Payette “He’s not afraid of conflict, and I’ve always deeply admired that in him.”
Murphy-Perron, whose passion for advocacy also manifests in his parallel work as a union advisor, elaborates. “When something’s not okay, you stand up and resist. And activism is fulfilling in that sometimes you can have instant gratification. But it is exhausting; there’s a lot of burnout and too little beauty. I think my theatre is about bringing the beauty to these stories of upheaval – and there is such an active history of resistance in Quebec. It’s about taking the time to craft something that might be born out of anger but that’s also not only a single cry of rage. It is a living, breathing entity that we put out there for the world to have. It’s slower, a bit more paused kind of activism, but it’s important to find and bring that beauty to this world.”
Above: Blackout. When asked to describe his aspired aesthetic – which Tableau D’Hôte is reputed for its consistent attention towards, both in its curated marketing and stage design: “A lot of time theatre design is very literal and narrow and not abstract at all. The French influence of these surreal elements that kind of live in and of themselves is something that influenced our work tremendously and that we still strive towards.” – Mathieu Murphy-Perron | Photographed design elements: Sophie El-Assaad (Set), Noémi Poulin (Costumes), Audrey-Anne Bouchard (Lighting), Jaclyn Turner (Projection). Photo: Jaclyn Turner
Blackout, a devised creation directed by Murphy-Perron, is arguably Tableau D’Hôte’s most politically confrontational piece (and largest scale production) on record. 2019 itself was an unprecedented year of landmark achievements, including the monumental opening of the collective creation of Blackout: The Concordia Computer
Riots at Mat and Mike’s alma mater, the tour of Angélique at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and Factory Theatre in Toronto, the English adaptation of Matt Prescott’s Encore at the MainLine, and the world premiere of Jesse Stong’s Winter’s Daughter at the Segal. There are indeed few signs of stoppage.
To what, then, does Tableau D’Hôte owe its extraordinary 15 years of shelf life?
“It’s a mix of a lot of privilege, some luck, and a steady stream of tenacity,” infers Murphy-Perron.
The chorus weighs in: “Tableau D’Hôte is making work that actually speaks to critical questions that are occurring in the culture, and with tremendous clarity of vision.” maintains Youssef. “Together Mathieu and Mike did the impossible, which is to build a viable independent English speaking company in Montreal. It’s not that many people moving into Montreal city who are going to make English theatre a priority. That’s a real testament to their talent and equally their drive.”
“The company has lasted because of Mike and Mat’s creativity, dedication, and intent to always present an engaging show” chimes in Brian Imperial, “and what really makes you come back year after year [as a collaborator] really are the people. It’s just always been a nice group to work with. When you have the personnel and the passion for it, there’s no reason not to return.”
“Tableau D’Hôte’s mission has always been true and clear for me, and the kind of shows that we did often had a real challenge to me as person, and therefore as an artist,” contributes Lemieux. “I believe in Mike and Mat as innovators of theatre in that respect. And in the productions I was a part of – I don’t want to sound artsy fartsy, but – everyone involved was just in such synchronicity. I love and respect Mat and Mike as people and artists, and I am incredibly grateful for all the shows that I got to be a part of.”
“Their work and place in Montreal theatre continues to be as important as ever for for emerging and professional artists, and that comes with both Mike and Mat’s thoughtfulness,” considers Harper. “They think deeply and outwardly. They are thoughtful in what they want to do, present, create, and they also are thoughtful in outwardly expanding into the community. Their mandate and message is consistent. And it’s their constant drive to do the work no matter what was in the way that is the essence of their success.”
“Mat is honestly one of the most productive people I’ve ever met,” Turner admires. “I don’t know how he does it, but he’s always on top of things and making big ideas happen. Mike has similar traits and the two of them together seemed unstoppable.” She contemplates further. “Maybe it’s communication – I think Mat is very good at communicating with people. He doesn’t sugar coat things, he’s very upfront, and he tries his hardest to ultimately treat everybody he works with well. And he really knows who to surround himself with.”
Payette speculates “it has a lot to do with the gumption of myself and Mat and the people who invested in our pursuit. I think there’s a myriad of things that have happened as a consequence to that boldness of starting something from the ground up and learning what it means to make those decisions. We’re not the only ones who have experienced that, but to go through that, we understood that notion of raw, gorilla style creation against all odds. It was that hunger and perseverance to accomplish at all costs that I think has informed the artists and artistic director that I am, which is founded on the belief that everything is possible. If you work, you’re intelligent, and you’re resourceful, you can create anything with nothing. And that’s what Mat and I were trying to do while trying to be something greater.”
Tableau D’Hôte’s Encore is one of the bilingual productions presented by the company in its initiatives to bridge French and English theatre in Montreal. “It is often frustrating how these communities look at and interact with each other. I would like to continue to create more artistic spaces in our city where anglophones and francophones can be in the same room and talking.” – Mathieu Murphy-Perron / Photographed design elements: Jaclyn Turner (Set), Zoe Roux (Costumes and Lighting). Photo: Jaclyn Turner
In asking Payette what it’s like to be watching from a distance something he birthed, he breathes with warm sincerity: “You stuck it out, Mat, and I’m just super proud and impressed.”
“Artistically speaking, what Tableau D’Hôte is doing is engaging in challenging conversations, and whether a person agrees or disagrees with the aesthetic or the art or whatever, you cannot say there hasn’t been an attempt. There’s a pursuit for a dialogue through theatre, despite the possibility of failure. There continues to be a platform from various backgrounds and experiences seen by this audience. I don’t think there’s a lot of companies of our youth, for example, that went to the NAC. That’s a huge thing for a two (now one)-handed company with no operational support and lots of moving parts. Impressive sounds a little bit trite and almost insulting, but it’s really cocooned. I’m really proud to be a part of the legacy and I hope that I will always be a part of the legacy of it.
“Now is the time for it to go into the next chapter of exciting contributions and believe Mat has the capacity to do that. These past two seasons alone, which Mat has been leading alone, has been awesome to witness because he’s not going backwards; he’s growing and continuing it. He’s trying to do more and really think about what it means to be an engaged community member and the possibilities Tableau D’Hôte has within that.”
The memorable projections of Winter’s Daughter point to Tableau D’Hôte’s evolution in the use of video components in its productions. “Director Emma Tibaldo threw up the word ‘landscape’, and that struck a chord for me due to my background. Theatre, like architecture, is about creating worlds and universes. I had a lot of fun creating this animated fairy tale.” – Jaclyn Turner, Projection Designer / Photographed design elements: Zoe Roux (Set and Lighting), Lara Kaluza (Costumes), Jaclyn Turner (Projections).
Photo: Jaclyn Turner
What’s next for Tableau D’Hôte Theatre?, Murphy-Perron is prompted.
Thy Woman‘s Weeds, by the Governor General’s award-winning playwright Erin Shields is the big one on the horizon, though its May 2020 premiere may be postponed in the fury of the global COVID-19 pandemic. A debut co-production with Repercussion Theatre directed by Amanda Kellock, it thus awaits its highly anticipated world premiere at the Centaur. Panicle, a theatrical adaptation of Gillian Sze’s book of poetry led by Murphy-Perron and choreographer Cai Glover, is also in development .
“Then, with our More Than a Footnote initiative, we also have three brand new works in the pipeline: Mizushōbai (The Water Trade) by Julie Tamiko Manning – which just had its first public reading with Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal – as well as The Caravan by Anna Burkholder and Hot Blooded Foreigner by Michaela di Cesare.”
Born out of Angélique, the program is designed to bring little known Canadian histories to life through a democratic play selection and commissioning process involving the public. Playwrights approached by Murphy-Perron pitch their ideas, audiences vote, and the two pitches with the greatest votes are considered by the Tableau D’Hôte Team, with the selected pitch ultimately rewarded with commissioning and professional development by Tableau D’Hôte and companies like Playwrights Workshop Montréal.
“My hope is that these new works will be important additions to the Canadian canon.”
“One other big ambition is to start having more of a national reach, especially because our mandate is Canadian theatre,” expresses the AD. “Our commitment is and always will be first and foremost to Montreal audiences and Montreal artists, but I would like for our shows to tour and have longer lives. I am also interested in having new collaborators from out of town, especially with co-pros. There are important conversations that are happening on a national scale, and if we enclose ourselves strictly within our Montreal bubble, we’re doing a disservice to what our city and its artists can bring to that conversation.”
A final aspiration is to mentor the next cycle of young theatre creators.
“There’s already great mentorship happening in our city, but I very much want to start a program for emerging artists-producers,” he says, hopeful in his company’s potential to inspire by example and leadership. “There are some beautiful visions out there, but too often I see artists struggling to tell their stories under the misconception that producing is impossible. And we need more young flourishing independent companies. I want to find these driven artist-producers and help them get the resources they need to do their thing and spread their wings.”
$15 for 15 Years
Consider contributing $15 to Tableau D’Hôte’s fundraising campaign to celebrate its 15 year anniversary. All funds donated will be transferred to the Actors’ Fund of Canada, which provides emergency financial aid to help entertainment professionals.
Disclaimer: On top her role as Editor-in-Chief of Montreal Theatre Hub, Camila Fitzgibbon is presently serving as Tableau D’Hôte Theatre’s Apprentice Artistic Director as part of the Conseil des art de Montréal’s DémART–Mtl program. Some of the hours of her internship have gone into the research and writing of this article.