André Brassard

André Brassard, director (born 27 August 1946 in Montreal, QC; died 11 October 2022). 

Passionate about theatre since adolescence, Brassard had his first directing experience with Les Saltimbanques, then in 1965, founded Mouvement Contemporain with Michel Tremblay. He made a resounding entry into Montréal's professional milieu by directing Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-Sœurs. The play, in joual, premiered on 28 August 1968 at the Théâtre du Rideau Vert. The Tremblay/Brassard tandem would later collaborate for three decades, as Brassard would stage all Tremblay's productions and shoot his screenplays (among them, Françoise Durocher, waitress in 1972 and Il était une fois dans l'Est in 1974).

Also in 1968, with Rodrig Mathieu (Les Saltimbanques) and Jean-Pierre Saulnier (Les Apprentis-Sorciers), he founded the Centre de Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui. The following year, on June 3, he inaugurated the stage of National Arts Centre, in Ottawa with an adaptation by Tremblay of Lysistrata d'Aristophane. However, his career as director was not limited to Tremblay. Brassard made his mark with two hundred productions, such as Euripides' Les Troyennes, Les Bonnes by Jean Genet, Anton Chekhov's La Mouette, Racine's Andromaque, Shakespeare's La Nuit des rois, and Les Sorcières de Salem by Arthur Miller. He was the first to stage many major Quebecois works: Les Feluettes by Michel Marc Bouchard, Quatre à quatre by Michel Garneau, and Double jeu by Françoise Loranger. He also translated a play by Brad Fraser, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love.

With his practical experience and mastery of the profession, Brassard was instrumental in helping contemporary Québec culture come into its own. Notably, he contributed to ridding the Québec stage of its falsely vulgar idiosyncrasies, frequently borrowed from old French tradition. Parallel with his career in stage direction, Brassard headed major theatre establishments: the French Theatre of the National Arts Centre from 1983 to 1989, and the French section of the National Theatre School of Canada since 1991.