Every two years, Ottawa hosts the largest Francophone theatre festival in Canada: Zones théâtrales. Its origins go back the “10 jours de la dramaturgie franco-ontarienne” organized in 1994. Produced by the National Arts Centre, Zones théâtrales seeks to extend professional Francophone theatre beyond the urban centres, while encouraging encounters between artists and audiences.
The sixth edition of the festival took place from September 14 to 19, 2015, under René Cormier’s direction. Ottawa theatre companies were among the participants. Théâtre de la Vieille 17 presented its children’s play Petites bûches, written by Jean-Philippe Lehoux and directed by Joël Beddows. It tells the story of Marco, who is lost in an Eastern European city, where he meets two young girls. Théâtre du Trillium staged its #PigeonsAffamés, written and directed by Anne-Marie White. In social networking style, this performance features a series of sketches that prompt viewers to reflect on the contemporary era. Other plays were read in the “Zone de découvertes” while artists talked about their creative process in the “Zone de confidences”.
The seventh edition of Zones théâtrales was presented from September 11 to 16, 2017, under the new artistic direction of Gilles Poulin-Denis. The program included the usual roster activities, while opening new “zones” for original scripts in workshop productions and for original projects that don’t fit the parameters of conventional performance. Up-and-coming creators deserved special attention.