La Troupe Comédienne

The first French-speaking theatre to play in the province of Québec was advertised in the Québec Gazette in April 1765 as Pierre Chartier's La Troupe Comédienne.

Troupe Comédienne, La

The first French-speaking theatre to play in the province of Québec was advertised in the Québec Gazette in April 1765 as Pierre Chartier's La Troupe Comédienne. The troupe was announced at the opening and closing of navigation season and offered, among other things, a harlequin version of Don Juan known as Le Festin de Pierre. The bilingual ad, which translated the title as Peter's Feast, suggested that Chartier - known to have been a French spy at Fort Beauséjour in 1755 - played the role of the Commander. The actor playing Don Juan was in fact the famous Monsieur Dominique, a Swiss-born actor who had acquired members for the troupe from Amsterdam, Milan and Great Britain.

In November 1765 they played recent stock from the Comédie-Italienne, which had been written and composed by two Walloons, Robert Desbrosses and Jean-François De Hesse (or Deshayes). They also performed a play by Jean-Baptiste Sauvé de Lanoue, from the Comédie-Italienne. It is not known whether Frances BROOKE, who lived in Québec City from 1763 to 1768, had anything to do with organizing a tour for the troupe in the British provinces. Governor James MURRAY, who wouldn't have accepted troupes from France, did admit these French-speaking Swiss and Walloon plays and players.