Théâtre À l’Envers (TAE) was established in 2007. Its mandate is to create original works based on a creative research and experimentation process that merges different artistic and theatrical forms, with the aim of reaching out to younger audiences and young people in general. The company practises a contemporary form of puppet theatre that combines acting, shadow theatre, masks, dance, etc. TAE strives to offer original theatrical performances in which the visual dramaturgy is at times poetic, at times humorous. TAE strives to share an original perspective on the world, by sometimes going “against” (à l’envers, in French) the established order. Its performances are nurtured by outreach projects that help lay the groundwork for new productions. The company focuses on the integration of artists from other fields and cultural communities in an effort to add depth and meaning to its productions.
Established in 2007, Théâtre À l’Envers explores both shadow theatre and puppetry arts, drawing its inspiration from some of the wildest ideas children’s imaginations can come up with to fuel its productions. In doing so, the company gives us the opportunity to dream, and helps us see the world in a new light.
TAE’s first production, Woânda, was performed throughout Québec for almost 12 years (Conseil des arts de Montréal touring program, Réseau Scènes, ADICIM, ROSEQ, Objectif Scène, Réseau Centre, etc.). In 2018, the show toured the United Kingdom, performing in both French and in English as part of a co-production with Théâtre Sans Frontières (England), with a team equally composed of Canadian and British performers. In 2011 the company premiered L’Ezdaï, which received financial support from the Cole Foundationand was the basis for a cultural mediation project in a Parc-Extension elementary school.
In 2012, following a commission from Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), the company premiered Tetsuo, a show that combines shadow theatre and manga. The show featured Congolese artist Kens Mukendi, among others, as part of the Conseil des arts de Montréal’s Dém’Art-Montréal program.
In an effort to nurture its productions, Théâtre À l’Envers leads artistic outreach projects upstream of the creation of its shows: in elementary schools, daycare centres, community centres, etc. The Maison de la culture Parc-Extension has also contributed to the development of the company’s projects through its creative residency program.
In 2017, Théâtre À l’Envers created, in co-production with Place des Arts, Mwana and the Turtle’s Secret, a play for young audiences featuring a Congolese storyteller, a puppeteer, and shadow and object theatre. In just two years, this play was performed over one hundred and twenty times (in French with the Conseil des arts de Montréal touring program in 2018-2019, the Réseau Ontario Francophone school network and the Alliance française in 2019, and in English at Toronto’s Wee Festival, also in 2019. During the 2019 FrancoFête en Acadie festival, the show stirred up a lot of interest with presenters from the Cerf-Volant performing arts presenters network, receiving the Alliances RADARTS-RIDEAU 2019 Award. The 2020-2021 tour was postponed due to the global pandemic. The company also received support from the Québec Government Office in New York to present the unabridged version of the show in English at the Off-IPAY 2020 in Philadelphia (U.S.).
During the pandemic, the company co-produced, with Théâtre Sans Frontières (England), a shadow theatre film called The Golden Conch Shell, entirely created remotely by a team equally composed of Canadian and British artists.
Along with its different shows, the company offers puppetry and shadow theatre workshops in elementary and high schools across Québec as part of the Culture à l’école program, and participates in creative residencies within the school system to help nurture its upcoming productions.
Cofondatrice / Directrice artistique et co-directrice générale / Artiste médiatrice
Patricia is a career actress and puppeteer, and holds a bachelor’s degree in acting and a master’s degree in theatre from École supérieure de théâtre de l’UQAM. She toured across Québec, France, Tunisia and England with over a dozen companies before co-founding Théâtre À l’Envers in 2007, where she is now Co-General director and Artistic director. This is where she learned to manage a theatre company, while also working as a playwright (Woânda, Tetsuo, Mwana and the Turtle’s Secret), stage director, actor and puppeteer. Passionate about human relations, she developed cultural mediation projects upstream of the company’s productions with people of all types. She also worked as a cultural mediator at TOHU for three years. She now holds workshops in shadow theatre, mask theatre and puppet manipulation in Québec schools, through programs like Culture à l’école, and as a teacher’s assistant at École supérieure de théâtre de l’UQAM.
A graduate of École supérieure de théâtre de l’UQAM (1992), Bertin Savard quickly identified with cultural work, and became a theatre producer. He founded with colleagues the Théâtre Quatre/Corps company, which presented summer theatre shows as well as productions for children and for adults, for almost 15 years. His creations led him to travel across Québec, France and Tunisia. He contributed to the construction of a magnificent 400-seat, variable geometry theatre on Saint-Bernard Island in Châteauguay. In parallel to his work as the theatre company’s Co-General director, Bertin has been a champion for the arts, and has co-chaired and chaired the CLD de Roussillon’s and CRÉ de la Vallée du Haut-Saint-Laurent’s cultural development committees. He has earned the recognition from his peers at the municipal level, and received the Prix reconnaissance Culture (Cultural Recognition Award) for his outstanding contribution to the creation of a special fund for professional artists in the Roussillon RCM. He was involved in Théâtre À l’Envers from its very start, as a co-producer for Woânda and as a member of the board of directors. Today, Bertin is proud to join the team as Co-General director.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jean-Léon Rondeau, Arts manager
Bertin Savard, Cultural worker and Co-general director
Anne-Claire Hurillon, Process Optimization and Continuous Improvement Manager, Laurentian Bank
Patricia Bergeron, Co-General director and Artistic director, Théâtre À l’Envers