La Comédie-Canadienne

La Comédie-Canadienne, flourished 1958-69, was founded by Gratien GÉLINAS in 1957 to foster the production of plays by Canadian authors.

Gélinas, Gratien
Gélinas's puppet character Fridolin was the central character in the annual revue Fridolinons (photo 1945 courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-122724/NFB/Ronny Jacques).

La Comédie-Canadienne, flourished 1958-69, was founded by Gratien GÉLINAS in 1957 to foster the production of plays by Canadian authors. After renovating the Radio-City cinema in Montréal, the company presented plays by authors such as Marcel DUBÉ, Jacques Bobet, Jacques Languirand and Gélinas. Seeking a wider audience, the Comédie-Canadienne offered innovations such as an earlier curtain time, a section of inexpensive seats, and acoustic subtitles for translation of plays. By 1961 Gélinas realized that Canadian plays alone could not sustain the 1200-seat theatre house, which was then made available to a variety of stage productions - theatre, dance and song. In the late 1960s an attempt was made to devote 43 weeks each year to Québecois music and theatre, but the company closed down in 1973 and its theatre became the permanent home of the THÉATRE DU NOUVEAU MONDE.

See also THEATRE, FRENCH-LANGUAGE.