Dominic Champagne, playwright, scriptwriter, director, and show designer (born 1963 in Sorel, Québec). Dominic Champagne has been active on the Québec performing arts scene for over 25 years. He received his degree in playwriting from the National Theatre School of Canada in 1987 and soon made a name for himself both nationally and internationally. This great talent has placed his stamp as a writer, director, and artistic director on some 100 shows, including theatrical productions, television series, and public events.
In 1984, while still quite young, Dominic Champagne, together with college students from the Cégep François-Xavier Garneau in Sainte-Foy, Québec, founded the Théâtre Il Va Sans Dire to produce and promote the works of contemporary Québec playwrights. Champagne wrote many of the plays that this theatre produced, including Cabaret neiges noires, which not only toured throughout Québec but also was presented at the Intercity Festival in Florence, Italy.
Champagne’s résumé is impressive, to say the least. He continues to direct the Théâtre Il Va Sans Dire. He has adapted many of his stage plays for television while also writing numerous original dramas and variety shows for that medium, the best known of which are probably Les Grands Procès (1993- 1994), Le plaisir croît avec l'usage (1998-2001), Tous unis contre le SIDA (United Against AIDS), and La soirée des masques (1995-1996-1998-1999).
Champagne has designed and directed many prestigious public events, including several editions of Québec’s National Holiday celebrations (1996, 1998, 1999), the opening ceremonies of the Francophone Games (2001), the celebrations of the centenary of the Monument National building in Montréal (1993), and shows marking the 20th anniversary of the death of Félix Leclerc, presented at the Francofolies de Montréal. In 2011 he directed two plays at the Théâtre du Nouveau-Monde in Montréal: Ha! Ha!, by Réjean Ducharme, and Le boss est mort, by Québec humorist Yvon Deschamps.
Champagne has also written scripts for radio shows, such as Les mémoires de l'oreille (1987) and Théâtre in clip (1992). In addition, since 1992, he has been a professor of playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada. He also taught playwriting as a professor in the Department of French Studies at Montréal’s Concordia University from 1989 to 1990.
Champagne’s international career began in 2002, when Cirque du Soleil asked him to direct their show Varekai. He has since directed two more shows for the famous circus company: Zumanity, with René Richard Cyr, in 2003, and the fabulous LOVE, in collaboration with the Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd, in Las Vegas in 2006.
Other Professional Activities
In addition to his artistic activities, Dominic Champagne is one of the founding members of the Québec playwrights’ union, the Association Québécoise des Auteurs Dramatiques. In 1993, he served on the Conseil supérieur de la formation en art dramatique. From 1991 to 1992, he served on the board of directors of the Centre des Auteurs Dramatiques, whose aim is to support, promote and disseminate dramas written in French in Québec and elsewhere in Canada.
In 2011, Dominic Champagne showed another side of himself when he became engaged in the fight to impose a moratorium on shale-gas exploration. To advance his cause, he did not hesitate to ask for help from Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté and from Richard Desjardins, a filmmaker whose credits include L'erreur Boréale. Champagne believed strongly in his cause and called on all citizens to get involved.
Awards and Honours
Over the years, Champagne’s myriad talents have earned him many awards and honours. For the television series Les Grand Procès, he received the Gemini Award for Best Dramatic Series in 1994 and 1995 and a Golden Sheaf Award in 1995. He had a banner year in 1998, when his direction of the play Don Quichotte at the Théâtre du Nouveau-Monde earned him the Gascon Roux Award for Best Direction from that theatre, the Masque Award for Best Direction from the Académie Québécoise du Théâtre, and a nomination for the Masque Audience Choice Award. In 2000, his play L'Odyssée earned him the Québec theatre critics’ association award for best script. In 2001, this play brought him numerous additional honours: a nomination for the Masque Award for Best Direction, a Masque Audience Choice Award, a Masque Award for Best Adaptation, and the Gascon Roux Award for Best Direction at the Théâtre du Nouveau-Monde. That same year, Don Quichotte won two Prix Gémeaux, for Best Dramatic Program and Best Direction (in collaboration with Mario Rouleau).
In 2003, Dominic Champagne was a finalist for the prestigious New York Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. He was named Personality of the Year by the Montréal newspaper La Presse in 2006 and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2008.
Through his great talent, versatility, and social engagement, Dominic Champagne has left his mark on Québec over the course of his career. His commitment to promoting Québec culture will undoubtedly bring further remarkable achievements in the years to come.