La Chapelle: 30 years of daring

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

Bring out the drums and trumpets. La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Since the artistic director, Olivier Bertrand, does not do things by halves, the celebrations, which officially kicked off in the spring, will last all year round.

After founding director Richard Simas and the whimsical Jack Udashkin, Bertrand discreetly slipped into La Chapelle five years ago. Originally from France, he now feels in symbiosis with the Montreal artistic community. In early September, he confidently unveiled the two main thrusts of this anniversary programming, as if to taunt the pandemic that has shaken, and may still be disruptive to, the performing arts. The first invites artists who made the great moments and the reputation of La Chapelle. The second, which sometimes crosses the first, brings together projects that have collaboration in common.

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Renowned since its beginnings for its alternative, hybrid and eclectic stage, La Chapelle will present until the end of May 2021 a season of 20 performances fed by 175 artists – compared to the usual more or less 25 shows per season. “This is the programming that was meant to be,” says Bertrand. “We had to make some slight modifications, but despite the many uncertainties caused by the current context, it remained the same in its essence.” A few shows have therefore been transferred to public settings while some dates are still to be determined. Bertrand adds: “We’ve been listening as much as possible to each and every artistic team, in order to satisfy the requirements of each as closely as possible.”

La Chapelle is one of the rare venues in Montreal that each season present several productions in the two official languages, with English and French subtitles. This detail partly explains the rich history of the programming in the old church. For example, Jacob Wren and PME-Art, stars of the select circle of the performance arts, will be back with the amusing A User’s Guide to Authenticity is a Feeling. Emma Tibaldo and Joseph Shragge presents Skin, a play that began at the Playwrights’ Workshop (2016). Talisman Theatre offers Habibi’s Angels: Commission Impossible, a poetic piece by Kalale Dalton-Lutale and Hoda Adra, addressing dissimilar women’s points of view. On the French side, note the names of System Kangourou and Théâtre du Tandem, which propose Bermuda (Drift); and those of the Création dans la chambre (Félix-Antoine Boutin, Odile Gamache and Gabriel Plante) and the Belgian Ersatz, which will offer Au jardin des potiniers. Dance affictionados will get their fill with Sierranevada by Manu Roque, Measuring distance by Maria Kefirova, Papillon by Helen Simard, Face à face by Jérémie Niel, Catherine Gaudet, Félix-Antoine Boutin and Louise Bédard, as well as Cet intervalle of Morena Prats. Candy for your eyes!

There is not enough space to list all the recommended shows. Please consult the website to join the party. Attention: For Covid reasons, the capacity of this intimate room of 100 seats had to be reduced. So book early! www.lachapelle.org

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

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