Newswire | Cole Foundation Grants Over $200,000 to Intercultural Theatre Companies

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Montreal, July 2022 –The Montreal theatre community has re-entered the building! Applications for the Cole Foundations Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles (IC-CI) program are back to the same number as pre-Covid times; companies are planning ahead with business as usual. For the recent spring competition, eleven companies were given vital grants to share diverse and inclusive theatrical stories in Greater Montreal for a total of $209,950 for the 2022-23 season, as well as added funding for post-show audience talkbacks to continue the conversation initiated in the play. Ongoing Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles funding follows many scripts from commissioning to production and often onto translation and a subsequent production in another language. Another positive trend is revisiting a successful script to revise and improve it further, extending its reach.

For these recent submissions, Indigenous-themed productions and commissions are at the forefront, with six works from Indigenous artists. Cole Foundation President and Chairman, Barry Cole, is proud to announce this latest round of grant winners. “The Cole Foundation is supporting and developing an increase in Indigenous works and culture. Not only are Indigenous-run companies applying regularly, but longstanding mainstream Montreal companies, both English and French, are producing a wide variety of styles and diverse stories about Indigenous Peoples’ lived experiences.”

The dialogue is refreshed

Theatres are brimming with new ideas, having used the closures of the pandemic as time for creative percolation. Five out of the eleven companies received grants for new commissions. Theatrical styles and presentations on stage include drama, comedy, storytelling, dance, history, autobiography, music, installation art, videos, podcasts, oral traditions, and cooking. Play submissions encompass a widespread range of cultures and identities, including Jamaican, Chinese, and traditional Quebec and Acadian folklore. Stories from Indigenous Peoples include Inuit, Innu, Dene, Wolastoqiyik/Maliseet and Anishnaabe, with many plays seeking to illuminate the common ground between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous cultures. Upcoming works, written by both emerging and awarded playwrights, present themes and ideas about second generation immigrants living a double life,  love stories inspired by people in the neighbourhood, collective rituals of celebration and mourning, intergenerational Indigenous and Black women around the theme of love and eroticism, and the privilege of colour. Productions are aimed at all ages from children to seniors.

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Ce Monde-La, Chloé Luchs-Tassé and Aiza Ntibarikure, Youtheatre (image taken by Robert Desroches)

Recipients of the latest competition

The Foundation’s support during this time of recovery has meant the world to the theatre companies. “This important Cole Foundation grant allows Système Kangourou to open our creative space to a wide range of people of all ages from diverse communities. Our artistic approach is rooted in new ways of meeting each other and, in the case of Fantômes, to collectively question the ways in which we cohabit with our dead,” said Anne-Marie Guilmaine, co-artistic director of Système Kangourou. Zach Fraser is the artistic director of Infinithéâtre. “We are honoured that the Cole Foundation is able to support our Artist in Residence as she develops a new work for the stage. Originally from Kuujjuaq in Nunavik, Sylvia Cloutier is a unique and versatile artist; radiant, eloquent, and seeking to examine colonialism and climate change as she looks to the past and envisions potential futures,” said Fraser. “For several years now, les Productions Ondinnok has collaborated with artists from different backgrounds and have brought Indigenous talent to the fore. Our languages form the portrait of this new generation. The Cole Foundation’s mandate and contribution to culture is essential to Montreal’s landscape,” said Dave Jenniss, artistic director, Ondinnok. Talisman Theatre is thrilled to get the support of the Cole Foundation, “We created quite a bit during the pandemic but never shared it with live audiences. These funds will help remount the work,” said Lyne Paquette, artistic director, Talisman Theatre. “Receiving the Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles grant for Ce monde-là enables Youtheatre to revive this wonderfully-written play for a new generation of teen audiences. After largely focusing on digital productions for the past few seasons, the company is thrilled to return with such a timely and incisive piece,” said Hanna Nes, Outreach Coordinator, Youtheatre. “Receiving the support of the Cole Foundation allows leThéâtre I.N.K. to reconnect to the citizens and spectators who are our first sounding board when a work is created. The Theatre seeks inspiration from the neighbourhood and this is especially true with its Duo en vitrine series, where Montrealers are invited to share their stories of love, commitment and deep respect for each other. We are grateful to collaborate with the local people who enrich our work in so many ways,” said Marilyn Perreault, co-artistic director, le Théâtre I.N.K.

Duos en vitrine, Théâtre I.N.K. (image taken by Julie Beauchemin)

COMMISSIONING grants include

  • Centaur Theatre/Talking Treaties: Tiotia:kè CollectiveStone and Bone by Ange Loft, Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo & Iehente Foote
  • Productions OnishkaNichumis by Émilie Monnet (also production grant)
  • InfinithéàtreHome by Sylvia Cloutier
  • DuceppeManikanetish by Naomi Fontaine (also production grant)
  • Théâtre aux Écuries/Système KangourouFantômes by Anne-Marie Guilmaine and company.

PRODUCTION grant awards go to

  • Jamais LuTiohtia:ké: cartographie de récits autochtones by various artists
  • YoutheatreCe monde-là by Hannah Moscovitch
  • OndinnokToqaq Mecimi Puwiht /Delphine rêve toujours by Dave Jenniss
  • Théâtre aux Écuries/Nervous HunterBonnes Bonnes by Sophie Gee
  • Talisman TheatreHabibi’s Angels: Commission Impossible by Kalale Daltan & Hoda Adra
  • Théâtre I.N.KDuos en vitrine by various artists.

There are two annual Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles grants, in October and April. The deadline for the next competition of the award is Friday, September 30, 2022 at 5:00pm. Theatre companies interested in applying for a grant can download the necessary application forms and information from the Cole Foundation’s web site at: www.colefoundation.ca/en/programmes/intercultural-conversations/

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