- reaches diverse communities in the Ottawa region, as well as throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada;
- proposes many art enrichment initiatives to youth and general audiences;
- offers local communities a greater access to professional theatre and culture.
Théâtre Catapulte, a professional theatre company based in Ottawa, champions emerging artists through productions that attract both general and youth audiences. Deeply rooted in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and in French-speaking Ontario, its productions are presented throughout Canada. In its over 25-year history, Théâtre Catapulte has created more than 45 productions, presented over 30 shows from other companies and won numerous prizes. It has been an active participant in the creation of the Centre de théâtre francophone d’Ottawa, the Nouvelle scène Gilles Desjardins, constituting to this day one of its four resident companies.
1992 to 1998: PATRICK LEROUX
Théatre Catapulte was founded in Ottawa in 1992 by a group of young artists reunited around the playwright Patrick Leroux. The future of theatrical practice and artistic creation are at the forefront of the company’s mandate: Leroux’s plays Le Beau prince d’orange, Rappel, and Le Rêve totalitaire de dieu l’amibe are but a few examples.
The intent is to push the boundaries of theatrical form.
1998 to 2010: JOËL BEDDOWS
In 1998, the director and instructor Joël Beddows succeeds Patrick Leroux. Under his leadership, Théâtre Catapulte continues to grow and becomes one of the strongest voices of French-Canadian theatre. Its youth programming, began by Leroux, is developed further (L’Hypocrite, Cette fille-là…). Artistic development continues through the adaptation of classic myths (Faust, Turandot, and Tristan and Isolde), creation of new Franco-Ontarian works (Le Testament du couturier, Exit(s), La Meute, Afghanistan…) and through a provincial writing contest. The company also wins several local, provincial and national prizes. The company’s incredible dynamism shines in the Projet Rideau Project, a bilingual travelling show in downtown Ottawa (2009), as well as through important national tours and art enrichment activities. Joël Beddows’s tenure is marked by an ethic of esthetic research, in conjunction with the distinct power of words.
2010 to 2017: JEAN STÉPHANE ROY
Director, actor and instructor Jean Stéphane Roy continues the “5-Year Project”, designed to develop Franco-Ontarian audiences in partnership with the Théâtre français de Toronto, through the production of Les Médecins de Molière and four subsequent productions. In the same vein, Roy programs Frères d’hiver by Michel Ouellette, developed and directed by Roy’s predecessor. He continues to advance the young adult programming (Ik Onkar, La Fille d’argile, Ceci n’est pas une lettre d’adieu…) and develops more activities promoting public development (preparatory workshops, Oeil du Prince, Club des Mordus…). The tours multiply: Les Médecins de Molière reaches 100 presentations, while Zone passes the 170-performance mark. In February 2017, the ambitious coproduction Les Passants is performed in French with English surtitles, at the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC)—marking Roy’s final season as head of the company.
His artistic practice emphasizes the role of the actor, and is defined by its exploration of diverse genres.
2017-PRESENT: DANIELLE LE SAUX-FARMER
Danielle Le Saux-Farmer takes over from Jean Stéphane Roy as head of the company in September 2017. Actress and director Le Saux-Farmer strives to bring innovative works to Théâtre Catapulte, and to shine a light on contemporary dramaturgy in order to reflect the society it strives to depict. In addition to her artistic endeavors, she has immersed herself in Ottawa’s theatre scene by supporting emerging voices, as well as by conceiving an internship program for newly-graduated creators, stage managers and technicians. Princesse de personne, the first play she directed for the company, continues to push her artistic, feminist preoccupations by commenting on a topic that is foremost on people’s minds: consent in the age of the #metoo movement. She increases project development, and initiates a mandate to prioritize and integrate works from diverse ethnicities and communities. The company’s artistic direction thus begins to focus on political engagement and societal debate.
ONE LOCATION, FOUR COMPANIES: CREATING LA NOUVELLE SCÈNE
In 1999, Théâtre Catapulte joins forces with three other Ottawa companies (Théâtre du Trillium, Théâtre de la Vieille 17 and Cie Vox Théâtre) to open a theatrical venue unique to them all, La Nouvelle Scène – Ottawa’s centre for Francophone theatre. This new venue allows the company to present shows hailing from all over Canada.
In January 2013, La Nouvelle Scène undergoes an ambitious reconstruction process which lasts until January 2016, when its doors are reopened. The official inauguration of the newly-christened La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins (in honor of Mr. Gilles Desjardins’s considerable contribution) takes place on December 1st 2016. The new building occupies 24,000 square feet, and is modern and luminous.