35 years of the FTA in Montreal
Montreal, Tuesday, May 19, 2020 — Since the creation in 1985 of the Festival de théâtre des Amériques — 35 years already! — and its transformation in 2007 into the Festival TransAmériques, springtime in Montreal has vibrated to the rhythms of the FTA. With dance and theatre as their means of entry, artists from every continent have come to the city to the delight and enrichment of local audiences.
The 14th edition of the FTA was scheduled to open this Wednesday, May 20, but spring this year is unlike any other — it is sadly extraordinary. The desire to create and present art remains intact, but the hoped-for rendezvous with artists and audience did not take place. The 22 shows from here and elsewhere that were to have been presented from May 20 to June 3 were cancelled.
So what do we need? Courage and kindness, undoubtedly. And beauty, always. Because life is right there, vibrant and thriving despite everything, and the FTA will also be there, differently and humbly.
Like offerings to enrich this sudden pause imposed upon us, here are four inspiring conversations with five Quebec scholars and thinkers who present new ways of perceiving the visible and the invisible: Inhabiting. As of May 27 the FTA will present this podcast in four episodes in an effort to probe the mysteries and confines of a habitable world: territory, nature, birds, the sky. What if we listened with a keener ear to the vibrant, pulsating life around us and thus venture deep inside ourselves?
In the company of an anthropologist and Abenaki elder (Nicole O’Bomsawin), a Sufi imam (Sheik Omar Koné), a writer enamored of Montreal (Daniel Canty), a philosopher-political scientist (Dalie Giroux) and a prodigious ornithologist (Olivier Barden), the FTA will promote ideas that resonate, quietly stimulating the thinking of attentive listeners.
Directed by Antoine Bédard and Jessie Mill. Subscribe via the website or the listening platform you prefer (Balado Québec, iTunes Podcasts, Google Play, Soundcloud, etc.)
Input from Festivalgoers
Given that we will not have the pleasure of meeting with artists and audience members this year, we have invited festivalgoers to send us accounts of their FTA adventures, memorable moments they experienced since the Festival début in 1985: the first show they saw, the shock of an outstanding performance, the discovery of an incredible artist, an unforgettable moment, etc.
By means of their recollections, their words and their unique take on the Festival as spectators, both the FTA and the incomparable power of the performing arts will be brought back to life in the days to come. Stay tuned to our social media posts so that, after a fashion, we can get together despite everything.
You will find on our website Life, Life (a Series), a series of six texts by Martin Faucher that evoke the shows selected for FTA 2020. Ever since the first one posted on April 21, the artistic director of the festival has been providing readers with an intimate look at how he selects dance and theatre works for the FTA program. A rare incursion into a fascinating world, he gives a spirited take on the meandering path to his encounters with artists and the shows he seeks to present on Festival stages. This series of impressionistic texts will continue until June 3, 2020.
A loyal partner of the Festival, ICI ARTV highlights some of the artists engaged to create new theatre or dance works in five capsules entitled Les moments FTA. Responding frankly and openly to the same questionnaire, Louise Lecavalier, Daina Ashbee, the duo of Christian Lapointe and Nadia Ross, Mélanie Demers and Marie Brassard share with the public their sensitive perspectives on the present moment, and discuss their approach to their art form. Les moments FTA will be online starting Thursday, May 21 at ici.artv.ca/fta and will also be broadcast on ICI ARTV.