© Vivien Gaumand

To our forests, to our dreams!

There is a voice that tells a story. That goes on telling it. Maybe for hours, maybe even for days. Who knows if this voice remembers, if it daydreams, or if it imagines the story on the spot, invents it from scratch? We could interrupt it, put in our two cents’ worth, fuel the fire. But instead we’ll just listen, and when the next silence comes, we’ll add… “and then?”

How can we listen, beyond the words, to the silenced or forgotten stories, to the ancient knowledge that only our bodies can bring to light? The artists of this 17th edition of FTA bring us their stories. From the mountains, forests and villages, from their maternal lineages and ancestral voices. Those who tell them may be eleven years old or a thousand years old. Their stories arise from the bowels of a computer or the alleyways of a city; they summon spirits and ghosts; they emerge from secret letters or lost photographs. Their stories feed into the revolutionary archives of the future. Once unleashed, they are an antidote to oblivion; they tug at our heartstrings. On stage, rebirth is possible.

But how can we listen when we have a thousand eyes to see, multiplied as they are by the eyelets of our electronic devices? When a surfeit of images and noises clutter our screens, walls, and cities? Excess is a barrier to complexity and imagined worlds. The Festival does not look for an escape from reality; very often it is grounded in this excess of reality. Tirelessly, we search for the missing dimension—that umpteenth dimension that opens up stories and worlds as far as they reach.

Why produce art? With whom? With what? Under what conditions? For the artists in the program, who come from 21 countries and as many realities, everything counts. The act of creation does not take place outside the contingencies of the world—it helps to forge them, often in defiance of market pressure. We admire the artists’ perseverance and stubbornness in distinguishing art from ideology, in illuminating the world of shadows, in trusting in the hereditary traces deep within us. Their stories speak to our senses, our bodies and souls, filling the gaps of reality… and of dreams.

The dream of FTA is one we share. It rests in the hands of a devoted and passionate team and a recently renewed, inspiring Board of Directors. Our partners, donors and hard-working volunteers, along with our cherished audience, complete this small community that every spring launches itself into the Festival’s adventures.

What is theatre? What is dance? We have lined up 24 projects with as many answers—each powerful, disturbing and open-ended—to replenish our mental forests, which need to be fortified again and again. Let your eyes open wide! We invite you to bask in bountiful stories and visions. And then? Let’s dance.

Martine Dennewald and Jessie Mill
Co-Artistic Directors



© Hamza Abouelouafaa

The Art of Living Together

In preparing the 17th edition of FTA, we were driven by the belief that we must never stop learning how to live together as a community. At the city or the global level, the future will be better for all if we choose to reach out, connect with others, and give them more consideration.

This year’s program offers you access to an unrivalled selection of theatre and dance shows from Australia, Brazil, Brazil, Northern Ireland, Morocco, Norway, and Zimbabwe—not to mention the U.S., Canada, and Quebec, whose artists are strongly represented. The 24 shows and the activities in FTA Playgrounds promise to deliver a grand celebration. They’re a bountiful feast that will feed your understanding of the world, inspiring your passion for discovery and desire to see and hear works that tell you unique stories.

I want to give a special thank you to our team for their commitment to creating this unforgettable event. Each of our partners, sponsors, donors, and volunteers also deserves our heartfelt gratitude. On behalf of everyone who makes our city an outstanding hub of contemporary creation, I wish you an enriching experience at FTA this year.

David Lavoie
Executive Director