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…a wonderful narrative language that has the courage to move toward a real and unexpected conclusion.

Louise Bombardier, Rébecca Déraspe, Sylvain Scott
Members of the Jury, Louise-LaHaye Award 2016


It is with great pleasure and much pride that Théâtre de l’Œil welcomed the good news: Étienne Lepage has been awarded the 2016 Louise-Lahaye Award, presented by the Fondation du Centre des auteurs dramatiques (CEAD) for Le cœur en hiver / A Heart in Winter.

The Louise-Lahaye Award honours the best French-Canadian text for young audiences brought to the stage during the previous season. The winner receives a $10,000 writing scholarship and becomes associate playwright for a year at the Maison Théâtre, in Montréal.

Playwright and actor Louise Bombardier presided over a jury made up of playwright Rébecca Déraspe and stage director and actor Sylvain Scott.

The writing in A Heart in Winter manages to revive the audacity and the ambiguity of Andersen's tale, creating a work that balances light and darkness, cruelty and sensitivity, and offering a wonderful narrative language that has the courage to move toward a real and unexpected conclusion,” said the jury.

Other award finalists were Jean-Rock Gaudreault for his play Jouez Monsieur Molière! and Annie Ranger for her play Jusqu’au sang ou presque.


Interview with Maureen Labonté, translator of A Heart in Winter

Le cœur en hiver / A Heart in Winter will perform its English-language premiere at the Ottawa Children’s Festival in spring 2017. The show will also be presented at the Calgary International Children’s Festival and the Vancouver International Children’s Festival.

The translation was entrusted to Dramaturgy Consultant Maureen Labonté. Over her career, Maureen has translated more than forty plays into English, including Théâtre de l’Œil’s Holy Cow! and A New World: “When translating a story, the goal is to convey the author’s voice, in another language and to another culture,” says Maureen Labonté over the telephone. “Étienne Lepage’s text is rich, complex and intelligent. It incorporates several levels of language that are fun to read and to hear. It was a pleasure to dive into his world, into his writing. From one translation to the next, the issues are pretty much the same: You need to capture the beauty of a text and remain faithful to it.

This was the first collaboration between Maureen Labonté and Étienne Lepage: “After putting together a first draft, I sent it to Étienne,” says Maureen Labonté. “We then met for a working session. Playwrights have an ear for English, whatever their knowledge of the language. They know what they’ve written and, when they read their [translated] text, they have a good ear for their own words. We paid special attention to narration. In this play, the dialogues are realistic, written the way we speak; but the narration is more poetic, musical and rhythmical. It was a question of translating this musicality into a precise language that contrasts with the dialogue. Sometimes, all you need is to take away a single word, and you realize it’s much better. It can be just as simple as that. This is how we manage to strike the right tone. In English, we say God is in the details [in French, it’s the devil...], and that’s exactly it: changing, eliminating or adding a word makes all the difference and allows us to find the right rhythm.

After working with the playwright, the translator produced another version of the play, edited and annotated by Étienne Lepage. “Now,” says Maureen Labonté, “we just have one more step in the process, and that is making sure the text works with the performers: we need to hear the text spoken. After that, I can make corrections and work out a few details. Translation is a literary exercise, but when it comes to translating for theatre, we work with and for the actors who will be conveying the text to the public. We must therefore listen to the text.



Le cœur en hiver / A Heart in Winter was performed in November at the Focus Québec event held at the Maison Théâtre, and also at the OFF-CINARS at the maison de la culture Ahuntsic-Cartierville. Both events offer an opportunity to meet presenters from here and abroad.

After a well-received start to the season in Shawinigan, Terrebonne and Montréal, Le cœur en hiver / A Heart in Winter was in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu this week (December 13–14), and will be in Valleyfield on December 18 (what a great Christmas present to give to a child!). It will move on to Sorel (January 17–19, 2017), Gatineau (January 22–24), Trois-Rivières (January 29–30), and then to Sherbrooke on March 12. A show that reaches out to every child, and also to the young at heart (that’s a lot of people...). A not-to-be-missed show to be enjoyed with classmates or family!


In July 2016, Le Porteur / The Star Keeper toured China for a second time, visiting Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. It was an eventful journey full of surprises: Pretzel and his team were literally blown back home by a hurricane on their trip back! Not to worry! They survived and only a few scares and many wonderful memories remain!

An itsy-bitsy storm will never be enough to stop our intrepid Star Keeper. He’s off to conquer the (Canadian) West, with stops at the Banff Centre (January 19) and the Vertigo Theatre in Calgary (January 22–26).

Then in March, he’s back in Montréal, performing in the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough on March 25 and in Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension on April 2.

Check out the tour schedule

For the past 10 years now, Joël Losier has been keeping a benevolent and informed eye on Théâtre de l’Œil’s finances. Quite officially and from this day forward, he holds the title of Assistant General Manager / Administration. A great opportunity to overhaul your necktie collection, Mister Director Sir. Congratulations, Joël.                                                  Théâtre de l’Œil is in good


If Théâtre de l’Œil manages to tour both nationally and internationally, it’s thanks to the work of the company’s Marketing Coordinator and staff, especially their networking abilities at theatre marketplaces and showcases.

Last October, Anne-Valérie Côté was at the Shanghai Performing Arts Fair (SPAF) while Joël Losier proudly represented the company at the Réseau des organisateurs de spectacles de l’Est du Québec (ROSEQ) in Rimouski.

Anne-Valérie will be in New York at the Association of Performing Art Presenters (APAP) conference and marketplace January 6–10 (Booth 2118), then in Madison at the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) showcase January 17–21 (Booth 65), as part of the CINARS delegation from Québec. And February 12–16, you may bump into her in Québec City at the Bourse Rideau (Booth M1).


  From all of us at Théâtre de l'Œil,
                    Happy Holidays!



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A Heart in Winter
Script: Étienne Lepage Stage Direction: Catherine Vidal Artistic Consultant: André Laliberté Puppet and Set Design: Richard Lacroix Sound Design: Francis Rossignol Lighting: Alexandre Pilon-Guay

The Star Keeper 
Storyboard: Richard Lacroix, André Laliberté, Richard Morin Stage Direction: André Laliberté Puppet Design: Richard Morin Set and Prop Design: Richard Lacroix Music: Libert Subirana Lighting: Luc Désilets

Text: Michelle Chanonat Translation: Denise Babin Coordination: Mélissa Basora Template: Julien Berthier
Photo credits: (1)_Michael Slobodian (2)_Lucie Desrochers (3)_Michel Pinault (4)_Léon Gniwesch
(5 & 6)_Richard Lacroix (Photo) / Mélissa Basora (Graphic Design)

Théâtre de l'Œil acknowledges the financial support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, The Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts de Montréal.

Puppet Theatre Company
Montréal (Québec) Canada

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Théâtre de l'Œil · 7780, av. Henri-Julien · Montreal, QC H2R 2B7 · Canada

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