François Barbeau, costume designer, theatre director, artistic director, set designer (b at Montréal 20 July 1935). François Barbeau's career in the Québec theatre rests not only on flawless knowledge of fashion, cut, and character creation, but also on the use and even the design of material. Barbeau, in collaboration with many artisans, was an acknowledged master in fabric restoration.
When just out of Montréal's Cotnoir Caponi School for haute couture in 1952, Barbeau became Paul BUISSONEAU's resident costume designer, first at La Roulotte ( a travelling trailer theatre), then at the Théâtre de Quat'Sous, founded by Buissonneau in 1955. During this period he developed his expertise in reconciling conception and technical execution. At the time, the attention he gave to designing costumes set him apart from other designers in the field.
In 1958, he joined the THÉÂTRE DU RIDEAU VERT as Robert Prévost's assistant, and since 1962 he has made the costumes for more than 185 of its shows. This productivity did not keep him from working on many shows at the Nouvelle Compagnie Théatrale, the Théâtre Jean Duceppe and the THÉÂTRE DU NOUVEAU MONDE, among others. His reputation took him to the Théâtre Botanique in Brussels, the Théâtre Populaire in Strasbourg, and even to the Comédie Française, where in May 1983 he made the costumes for Maxime Gorki's Les Estivants, staged by Jacques Lasalle.
In the field of dance, there have been shows for the GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS, Salt Lake City University Dance, the Boston Ballet, and the Eddy TOUSSAINT Dance Company. Since 1984, Barbeau has staged more than 30 productions in Montréal theatres, as well as throughout Québec, in New Brunswick and Toronto. He worked on programs for television and film, which earned him 8 nominations and two Prix Gemeaux (1992, 1995), and Emmy Awards for best artistic direction for Eliza's Horoscope (1970) and Kamouraska (1972). He won two Genie Awards for costumes for Les portes tournantes (1989) and Léolo (1991).
Barbeau taught at l'Université du Québec á Montréal (1993-97) and at the National Theatre School of Canada (1962-71), where he was in charge of the set and costume design program (1971-87). Many of his creations were honoured by the Prix de la Critique, Masques and Théâtre du Nouveau Monde's Gascon/Roux Prize. His contribution to our artistic life was recognized through the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste's Victor Morin Award in 1979, the GOVERNOR GENERAL's Award in 1996, and an Honorary Masque Award from l'Académie québécoise du théâtre in 2000. He received the ORDER OF CANADA in 2000 and the Banff Centre Award in 2001.