A word from the Co-directors
Co-Executive and Artistic Director
© Maude Chauvin
There Is No Compromising Beauty
We are diving headfirst into the course of humanity at an increasingly breakneck speed. Shameless profits, the senseless accumulation of useless goods, exploitation, contempt, and ruthless violence against one another. We stumble, and strenuously get back up again to continue ransacking our lands.
The past year, which we have experienced at a great distance from one another to avoid contamination, perfectly encapsulates our failure to truly take part in our collective wealth. I fear that our lack of respect towards nature, the essence of life on earth, will be the end of us.
This is why it is crucial to cultivate our sense of beauty, in every moment and at every age.
In this city
I follow the human
Of the moment
Seeking my footsteps
The Festival TransAmériques is a rallying event that sets out to question the erratic course of our failing humanity. This celebration of dance and theatre gives voice to artists who boldly point out our shortcomings. These highly sensitive and lucid men and women are also capable of dreaming of a kind and caring world, allowing us to see all the good and the beauty within us. Their whimsical, clairvoyant, and emotional imaginations give us courage and energy to keep going, with love and cleverness.
Conceived in an uncertain, anxious, and life-affirming atmosphere by a fearless and devoted team, the format of the 15th edition of the FTA remains unclear. Will we be there, in front of you, in the same venue or outdoor space? Will we be broadcast through a screen allowing us to reach you anywhere, at any time of day and night? No matter what turns out to be feasible this coming May and June, we are ready to greet you. Our desire to share the dreams and doubts of these artists from Montreal and from all around the world is colossal and vital.
Two of the performances featured in this edition were created by First Nations artists and have titles in Indigenous languages. The first, Meshtitau, means “he has destroyed, pillaged everything in his wake” in Innu, while the second Aalaapi, means “growing quiet to hear something beautiful” in Inuktitut.
This edition tackles chaos, destruction as well as reconstruction through gestures, movement, language, words... Time and space are envisioned in new ways so that we may better inhabit this life that we have mistreated. These recent days of eternal confinement have awakened our thirst for freedom, our appetite for a beneficial recklessness.
In keeping with this spirit, the artists linger in venues or public spaces longer than usual. Their works require slow and patient encounters, and this time spent in contemplation allows new realities to emerge, with unforeseen details and subtleties. Silence thus becomes a precious ally.
Montreal, Tio’tia:ke, serves as a backdrop to this edition. Several of the performances take place in spaces that the FTA had never, or rarely, explored: a square in the Vieux-Montréal with an overlooked history, the hidden garden of the Musée d’art contemporain, church steps, a desacralized chapel, the wall of an administrative building, or theatres that have been reconfigured to establish a new dialogue with the audience. Wherever you look, these spaces spark considerations, criticism, and hope. Yes, we have the power to repurpose our walls and our ground to ensure that the course of life is rekindled and that a new story can be written, with newfound respect for all things.
This edition will be my last as artistic director. For seven years, I have had the privilege to share with you my vision of the world, my deep belief in the positive power of art. Your presence, as a large, curious and eager audience, has given a sense of purpose to my quest for the unprecedented, the unspoken, the enchanted. I sincerely thank you for having been by my side in the perpetually renewed adventure of the Festival TransAmériques.
I leave a happy man, proud of the work we have accomplished. None of this was achieved on my own, far from it. I have only praise for David Lavoie, my loyal executive co-director, with whom everything is possible. I can never adequately express my gratitude to the large and wonderful Festival crew, with whom I have joyfully collaborated year after year to offer you a collision of forms and ideas, and most importantly, a celebration.
I am deeply grateful to FTA cofounder Marie-Hélène Falcon, who, 15 years ago, invited me to join her as artistic consultant. I have learned everything I know about the strange position that is festival director from this visionary, persistent, and inspired woman.
As the world enters a decisive chapter, I wish all the best—and more—to the new artistic codirectors, Martine Dennewald and Jessie Mill, who will undertake the vital task of writing a new chapter of the FTA’s history. May the adventure that started 35 years ago continue!
I am learning to see.
I don’t know why it is, but everything enters me more deeply and doesn’t stop where it once used to.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
All these years spent with the Festival TransAmériques have made me a better person.
Co-Executive and Administrative Director
© Maude Chauvin
We are moving together towards an uncertain future. Our society has been hit hard by environmental, social and economic crises, including a pandemic that has been creating havoc for over a year.
The present has many faces, which we keep at a distance, but which cannot leave us indifferent. The fragility of the planet, the health of the most vulnerable, the course of youth interrupted, the cultural sector severely impacted, the world’s precariousness, inequities and injustices.
In such a context, what is the role of an international festival devoted to contemporary dance and theatre?
In response to the current situation, the FTA is showing solidarity with its social fabric. It has chosen to support its stakeholders: artists and cultural workers, companies, theatres, schools and partners of all kinds. To this end, we announced last September that we would be making major investments under the FTA Breathing Space program, helping artists and their teams to take a positive approach to the future. This initiative, made possible through the support of public authorities and our generous donors, has enabled over forty artists to launch new projects, many of which are part of this 15th edition.
At a time when vaccines are being administered and new surges are threatening Quebec, this edition has been designed to take all perspectives into account, and to ensure a safe environment for all festivalgoers, artists and employees. I would like to salute the courageous Festival team, which has heartily taken up this immense challenge of adaptation.
This year there are multiple entry points to the Festival, including a digital programming component that we hope will spark your interest. Dear festivalgoers, you are the ultimate recipient of this great event. Our relationship with you is essential. Thank you for being there, steadfast and supportive.
We recognize that we are in an ancient First Nations territory, a site for encounters and diplomacy between peoples. This territory, never handed over, is where the Great Peace of Montreal treaty was signed in 1701 between New France and 40 First Nations of North America. We wish to thank the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) nation for its hospitality.
A word from Public Partners
La danse et le théâtre à l’honneur à Montréal
Le gouvernement du Québec est fier de s’associer à ce 15e Festival TransAmériques. Cet événement unique compte aujourd’hui parmi les plus grands rendez-vous de danse et de dramaturgie contemporaines en Amérique et dans le monde.
Ce succès et cette renommée sont à la hauteur de Montréal, métropole culturelle d’un Québec à l’avant-garde dans la recherche et la diffusion en arts de la scène.
Bravo aux organisateurs du FTA, bienvenue aux artistes de tous les domaines des arts de la scène et excellent festival à toutes et à tous !
Ministre de la Culture et des Communications
Ministre du Tourisme
Ministre déléguée aux Transports
et ministre responsable de la Métropole et de la région de Montréal
This past year has been quite a shock for the cultural scene. Given these exceptional circumstances, I’d like to congratulate everyone who lent their talents in bringing 2021 Festival TransAmériques to life. Thank you for overcoming the many challenges of the pandemic. More than ever, we need artists and creative minds. Together, it’s easier to overcome these challenges. Enjoy the Festival!
Minister of Canadian Heritage
Now in its 15th year, the Festival TransAmériques invites us to discover the best in contemporary theater and dance. As the largest festival of its kind in North America, the FTA helps position our city on the international cultural scene and promotes the reputation of Montréal.
I would like to salute the work of the organizers who have brilliantly adapted this essential Montréal festival to the current context.
Enjoy the Festival!
Mayor of Montréal
The arts further our understanding of one another, and they bring us together to imagine a better world.
In these unprecedented times, artists and arts organizations are embracing innovative approaches so that they can continue to create their work and share it with audiences. As we grapple with enormous global challenges, the arts offer an endless supply of renewal, inclusion, and resilience.
The Canada Council for the Arts is proud to support the Festival TransAmériques, which centres on the unifying power of the work it presents.
Simon Brault, O.C., O.Q.
Director and CEO
Canada Council for the Arts
How can we infuse the performing arts with new energy in the midst of the storm? For its 15th edition, the FTA invites us to explore a Montreal of art and beauty and takes us to unexpected realms.
The Conseil des arts de Montréal wishes to salute the Festival’s ongoing dedication and contribution to the strength and vibrancy of local dance and theatre communities. Thanks to the artists and the entire team for continuing to wow us all with original and inspiring creations!
Conseil des arts de Montréal