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Cole Foundation Intercultural Conversations Grants Awarded to 12 Local Theatre Companies

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12 companies were given crucial grants to bolster diverse and inclusive theatrical stories in Greater Montreal for a total of $194,500 for the 2021-22 season.

Cole Foundation Intercultural Conversations Grants Awarded to 12 Local Theatre Companies

Ever creative, theatre artists have made their way through these trying times, whether exploring and sharing digital performance, researching and writing new works, or teaching a variety of online classes. Nevertheless, the excitement of returning to the stage is palpable.

The Cole Foundation's Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles (IC-CI) program has been a lifeline for local theatre companies throughout the uncertainty. For the recent spring competition, 12 companies were given crucial grants to bolster diverse and inclusive theatrical stories in Greater Montreal for a total of $194,500 for the 2021-22 season, as well as added funding for post-show audience talkbacks to continue the conversation initiated in the play.

Cole Foundation President and Chairman Barry Cole is proud to announce this latest round of grant winners. "There have been a number of returning companies where work supported by the Foundations' Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles program is now an integral part of their seasons' programming. I am honoured to have helped influence the landscape of Quebec theatre and will continue to encourage and foster intercultural and multilingual theatrical works in order to sustain current companies and inspire new ones, be they independent or long-established members of the professional theatre community."

The pandemic has enabled time for focused play development, as reflected in a third of the grants funding commissions. Companies have also been motivated by current news, including racial bias in security software algorithms, issues around promoting workplace diversity, and sixties scoop survivors. Theatrical styles and inspirations offer one-person shows, drama, autobiography, history, comedy and classical texts given a modern, Afro-descendant spin.

Play submissions encompass a widespread range of cultures and identities. Anticipated works, written by both emerging and awarded playwrights, present themes and ideas about the privilege of colour, various countries including Tunisia, Guatemala, Haiti and Iran, understanding one's roots, Indigenous activism, Jewish culture, not appearing 'enough' of a visible minority, Martin Luther King on his last night, entrenched colonial history, and a mix of languages that share roots and expressions.

In this past trying time, the Foundation's support has been a lifeline for theatre companies. Marc-André Boyes-Manseau, Espace Libre's administrative director and co- general manager, is thankful for the Cole Foundation's support to the artistic community throughout the pandemic. "We are especially grateful to be able to continue presenting works created by seasoned, avant-garde artists who push the boundaries of theater, and who question and explore different forms of performances and relationships with audiences," he said. Zach Fraser is the new artistic director of Infinithéâtre. "Both of our projects live in the spirit of intercultural conversations; a new work by our 1st annual Artist-in-Residence, Drew Hayden Taylor, as well as the English-language premiere of a fantastical, heartfelt family epic. We can't wait to keep conversations growing as we begin a gradual return to live theatre and the development of important community connections," said Fraser. "At this time when the planet is upside down, thanks to the Cole Foundation we are able to focus in depth about our upcoming project, À l'ombre des volcans and the North-South links that unite us, between Guatemala and Quebec; a beautiful opportunity to let whatever rumbles, speak," said Nicolas Gendron, artistic director of ExLibris Theatre. From Simoniaques Théâtre's Artistic Director Simon Boudreault, "The Cole Foundation is an increasingly vital support in the Montreal theatre scene. Thanks to its support from playwriting to production, we have been able to germinate, grow and flourish this project, allowing us to create a rich and explosive work." Théàtre de la Sentinelle is a first-time IC-CI grant recipient. "Receiving help from the Cole Foundation in this time of crisis shows us there is a ray of hope for the performing arts. The Foundation supports projects and emerging companies trying to leave their mark on the Quebec cultural imagination. This is an important and significant motivator for our latest creation; a way of saying that our ideas have an immense reach and that there is a place for a voice that is unfortunately not heard often enough," said Lyndz Dantiste, company co-founder.

COMMISSIONING grants include: Infinithéàtre- Open House by Drew Hayden Taylor; Tableau D'Hôte Theatre- Nakuset by Heather White; The Other Theatre- How We Lost Control of Our Faces by Stacey Christodoulou and company; and Théâtre ExLibris- L'Ombre des volcans by Nicolas Gendron.

PRODUCTION grant awards go to: Infinithéàtre - Omi Mouna by Mohsen El Gharbi; The Segal Centre for Performing Arts - Admissions by Joshua Harmon; The Segal Centre for Performing Arts - English by Sanaz Toossi; Simoniaques Théâtre- Je suis un produit by Simon Boudreault; Théâtre aux Ecuries- Mononk Jules by Jocelyn Sioui; Duceppe- Au sommet de la montagne (The Mountaintop) by Katori Hall, translated by Edith Kabuya; and Espace Libre et Théâtre de la Sentinelle- Qui veut la peau d'Antigone based on Sophocles.

TRANSLATION grant for Théâtre de la Sentinelle- Andromaque S,aa adapted & translated by Lyndz Dantiste with Elena Stoodley.

There are two annual Intercultural Conversations- Conversations Interculturelles grants, in October and April. The deadline for the next competition of the award is Friday, October 1, 2021 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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