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Theatre francais de Toronto's Artistic Director Announces Retirement

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The Board of Directors of Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT), headed by Michael Davenport, announced today that Guy Mignault would retire from his position as artistic director in June 2016 after a term of 19 exceptional years as the head of the company. Indeed, during the meeting that brought together TfT's board as well as the administrative team, Mr. Mignault expressed the wish to leave his post at the dawn of Théâtre français' 50th anniversary:

"I arrived at the 30th anniversary. So there was a momentum that accompanied this round figure, a window of opportunity. And I think that the 50th anniversary, which is knocking at our door, will bring with it an invaluable dynamism that the new artistic direction will be able to benefit from," he explained. "But let's not speak of retirement," he clarifies, "I still have too much energy for that!"

Since 1997, TfT has had the chance to benefit from the inexhaustible talent, charisma, and the warmth of it Artistic Director, Guy Mignault. Under his direction, the company has established itself as an essential cultural institution in the heart of Canada's largest city, and as much with Francophones as with Francophiles. Thanks in large part to surtitles, an initiative dear to the artistic director and begun in 2005, the company has succeeded in promoting its accessibility and inclusiveness to the city's English-speaking Population.

Eager to create a conducive environment to develop the new generation of creators and following the example set by the Les Zurbains project led by Théâtre le Clou, in 2011 Guy Mignault decided to launch Les Zinspirés, an educational program aimed at exposing young people aged 13 to 18 to theatre and particularly playwriting. Not forgetting the younger ones, acting classes for children aged 5 to 13 began in the TfT studio in 2012. The current success of these programs demonstrates their relevance.

Guy Mignault's contribution to the theatrical world and his passion for the French language has not gone unnoticed. He received the Prix Alliance from Alliance Française de Toronto in 2004 and Théâtre Action's award of excellence in 2005. In the spring of 2010, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie awarded him the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre de la Pléiade. In 2012, he received an honorary arts degree from Collège Boréal as well as a tribute from the Salon du Livre de Toronto French Book Fair for his exceptional contribution to Toronto theatre and the cultural life of French Ontario. In the fall of 2014, the Consul General of France in Toronto bestowed on Mignault the insignia of Chevalier from the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Last month, to highlight his entire career and impact on Franco-Canadian theatre, he received the Prix Marcus-Banque Nationale, awarded by the la Fondation pour l'avancement du théâtre francophone au Canada (Foundation for the advancement of francophone theatre in Canada) and the French Theatre of the National Centre Arts.

Only recently, following some personal events, did Mignault begin to ponder his future. "Life caused me to lose my sister last year, which makes you think," he says. "You support someone that you love and who tells you she still hasn't run out of dreams to fulfill. Then life dictated that I have a heart attack this year. Lying in a hospital bed also makes you think. Time passes. I want to see what life has in store for me." In nineteen years, TfT has experienced remarkable growth, from 5,200 spectators during the 1998-1999 season to nearly 10,000 in 2014-2015. The company's reach extends beyond Ontario's boundaries. Many productions and co-productions have been presented across Canada since 2008, from East to West, showing that Franco-Ontarian talent and culture is booming.

It is a robust theatre, known for the quality of its shows and creativity that Guy Mignault leaves behind. "TfT and me is a love story," he concludes proudly. "There are no good or bad times to pass the torch - but when everything's going well, it's better!"

A call for applicants for the position of Théâtre français de Toronto Artistic Director is available on the company's website: www. http://theatrefrancais.com/fr/emploi/.


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