Unique Intercultural Theatre Grants- $334,000 To 20 Local Companies- The Cole Foundation

Unique Intercultural Theatre Grants- $334,000 To 20 Local Companies- The Cole Foundation

Encouraging theatrical dialogue between the various cultures in Montreal

Twenty local companies awarded indispensable grants for their upcoming seasons

Cole Foundation, Barry Cole photo by Steve Gerrard 2

The Cole Foundation is pleased to announce the latest grant winners for the Intercultural Conversations-Conversations Interculturelles (IC-CI) program, established to encourage greater understanding of Montreal’s cultural mosaic by having audiences enjoy professional plays showing diverse cultures on stage and seeing their stories presented.

Barry Cole, president and chairman of the Cole Foundation, explains: “Our belief is that these financial awards animate change of theatre practice to include intercultural conversation as part of mainstream theatrical society.”

There are three types of intercultural dialogue considered: plays with more than one cultural community in dialogue; plays with only one cultural community- in this case the dialogue is with the audience; and plays that show the uniqueness of the French or English Quebec communities translated into the other language.

It’s heartening that intercultural dialogue is a hot topic. Of note is the ongoing ‘black face’ discussion sparked by Théâtre Rideau Vert, along with conferences on racism (Centre des Auteurs Dramatiques) and diversity (Conseil du theatre Québecois). Awareness and momentum continues with sizeable, established theatre companies submitting requests, including Centaur Theatre and Duceppe, promoting the cause on a considerable scale.  As well, there are ever-increasing numbers of new applicant companies and those that specialize in theatre for young audiences.

This year’s awarded companies

As theatre holds a mirror to society, the IC-CI granting program has reflected the varying cultural landscape over the years, marking our artistically sensitive evolution. New works this year explore the effects of radicalization, sex-selective abortion, racial profiling, feminist dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and little known circumpolar communities, among other topics. Lauded returning applicants strengthen the message: playwright Sarah Berthiaume continues to offer hard-hitting, poignant stories, Annabel Soutar addresses headlines we can’t ignore and Marcus Youssef engages and enlightens children. Cole is especially encouraged seeing requests from theatres for young audiences, “This kind of support has lasting benefits, impressing important values on children and offering productions that return to schools for multiple years.” He also appreciates following the arc of an important, intercultural piece, “The Foundation supported the commission of Porte Parole’s play about Fredy Villanueva and I’m looking forward to see the resulting production.”

COMMISSIONING grants include: Black Theatre WorkshopA Tale of Two Islands by Christine Rodrigues; Geordie ProductionsRadical by Marcus Youssef; Mise au JeuLa pour rester, collective creation; Teesri Duniya TheatreMissing Girl by Rahul Varma and Théâtre BluffAntioche by Sarah Berthiaume.

PRODUCTION grant awards go to: L’Acteur en MarcheKarma by Mohsen El Gharbi; Black Theatre Workshop- Angelique by Lorena Gale, and Bluenose by Emil Sher; Centaur TheatreYou Will Remember Me by François Archambault; DuceppeRace by David Mamet; Geordie ProductionsJabber by Marcus Youssef; Imago TheatreDonna by Stefano Massini (also translation grant); Mise au JeuFéministe et Croyante by Alice Pascual; Nouveau ThéâtreAi-je du sang de dictateur? by Didier Lucien; Porte ParoleFredy by Annabel Soutar; Productions MenuentakuanMuliats, collective creation; Productions OnishkaTsekan, collective creation; Talisman TheatreYukonstyle by Sarah Berthiaume; Théâtre de l’OpsisJ’appelle mes frères by Jonas Hassen Khemiri; Théâtre InclinéNordicité/Walking on the Circle by José Babin; Théâtre I.N.K.File d’attente by Marilyn Perreault (also commissioning grant); Théâtre La ChapelleThe Agokwe Collective by Waawaate Fobister; Théâtre MotusRêves by Izumi Ashizawa & Marco Collin (also commissioning grant) and Volte 21Les Électres des Amériques Les Phares de la Mémoire by Hanna Abd El Nour.

Cole by the numbers

The Cole Foundation is the only private foundation in Montreal with an intercultural theatre program, offering companies up to $25,000 for production grants with the aim to modify public opinion. There is no set limit on the number of companies who can receive funding. Recent grants, totalling a record $334,000 presented to the highest number of applicants since the program’s creation, went to theatre companies for their 2016-2018 seasons. For this year’s competition, the Foundation received 40 applications from 35 companies – 23 French and 12 English, an 11% increase compared to last year. These figures include 3 First Nations productions; 2 in French and 1 in English. Thirty-four applications were for production grants, 10 requests for commissioning money and 1 for translation. Since its inception, the Foundation has contributed to the costs of commissioning 34 plays, the translation of 32 plays, production costs of 90 plays, plus various workshops and outreach events. A panel of bilingual Montreal theatre professionals adjudicate the applications.

Grants for the next competition relate to shows starting March 1 for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 theatre seasons. The deadline for the next competition of the award is Sept. 30, 2016.

Theatre companies interested in applying for a grant will be able to download the necessary application forms HERE.