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Produced by National Arts Centre Théâtre français

Canadian designers

Robert Prévost | François Barbeau | Claude Goyette | Danièle Lévesque | Jean Hazel |
Mérédith Caron | Michel Smith | Denis Gougeon | Michel Beaulieu | Guy Simard

Robert Prévost (1927-1982)

© TNM, photo by Henri Paul
Robert Prévost

Considered the father of contemporary set design in Quebec, Robert Prévost has created over 200 sets and thousands of costumes during his 30-year career. While doing his classical studies, this Montrealer became a member of the Compagnons de Saint-Laurent. After starting his career as an actor, he decided, in 1949, to devote himself to set design for various organizations. The founding of Radio-Canada television allowed him to create sets and costumes for ballets, television-plays, variety shows, and series. He participated in over 75 productions at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, as well as some 30 shows at the Théâtre du Rideau Vert. He worked at the Stratford Festival and designed the sets and costumes for the Opéra de Montréal, Grands Ballets canadiens, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Although he is considered to be a specialist in the theatre of Molière, Prévost’s talent has served both the classic and Quebec repertoires. In 1977, he became a sculptor and created the metal gates and monumental doors of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal.

© André Le Coz
Denise Pelletier and Albert Millaire performing on a set designed by Robert Prévost for Hamlet by Shakespeare, TNM, 1970.

Title: Hamlet

Playwright: William Shakespeare

Production: Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, 1969-1970 season

Directed and translated by: Jean-Louis Roux

Set and costumes: Robert Prévost

Music: Gabriel Charpentier.

 

About Robert Prévost:

  • Robert Prévost : scénographe et favori des dieux, Lucien Pépin, Pélican.

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François Barbeau

© Josée Lambert
Marthe Turgeon (in front), Philippe Cousineau, Jean-Guy Viau, and Paul Latreille wearing costumes by François Barbeau in Marie Stuart by Friedrich von Schiller, NCT, 1995.

Title: Marie Stuart

Playwright: Friedrich von Schiller

Translation: Normand Chaurette

Production: Nouvelle Compagnie Théâtrale, 1994-1995 season

Director: Alice Ronfard

Costumes: François Barbeau

Set: Raymond-Marius Boucher

Music: Jean Sauvageau and Marcel Brunet

Lighting: Michel Beaulieu.

With his remarkable knowledge of the history of clothing and an exceptional sense of theatricality in his costumes, François Barbeau is one of Canada’s best-known and most respected stage artisans. An internationally renowned designer, since 1958 he has created the costumes for hundreds of ballets, operas, circuses, and plays: Hedda Gabler (1969) by Ibsen at the Théâtre du Rideau Vert, Tartuffe (1982) and L’Avare (1963) by Molière at the TNM, to name but a few. Resident designer at the Théâtre du Rideau Vert since 1962, his contribution to L’Oiseau Bleu (1968) by Maeterlinck had made a huge impression at the time. He regularly collaborates with Montreal’s major theatre companies and, along with director Jacques Lassalle, created Les Estivants (1984) by Gorki at the Comédie-Française. He has also directed over 50 plays since 1984. He trained countless artists during his 25 years at the National Theatre School of Canada where he taught and directed the Set and Costume Design Program. François Barbeau continues to be a leading designer, and many generations of designers consider this man to be their mentor.

About François Barbeau:

  • “François Barbeau : le maître” Sophie Pouliot, Jeu 99, 2001, p. 109-113.

Centre National du Costume (CNC) website: http://collections.ic.gc.ca/costume/index.html

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Claude Goyette

© Claude Goyette
Sketch by Claude Goyette for his set design of Catoblépas by Gaétan Soucy, Ubu, compagnie de création, NAC, and FTA, 2001.

Title: Catoblépas

Playwright: Gaétan Soucy

Coproduction : Ubu, compagnie de création, National Arts Centre French Theatre, Festival de théâtre des Amériques

Director: Denis Marleau

Set design: Claude Goyette.

Renowned set designer Claude Goyette has created sets for most of the mainstream and experimental theatres. Founder of the Association des professionnels des arts de la scène du Québec (APASQ), he was also the organization’s first president. As a researcher and teacher, and in his work capacity, he is interested in the relationships between bodies and space, between the stage and the audience. The sets he creates have an emotional and energetic impact thanks to effect the scenic architecture produces on the audience. He has shared his design talents with countless major directors such as René-Richard Cyr for Le Malentendu (1993) by Albert Camus, Martine Beaulne for Albertine en cinq temps (1995) by Michel Tremblay, and Roger Blay for Macbeth (1978) by Shakespeare at the Théâtre de la Manufacture. However, his meeting with director Denis Marleau will be one his most important. He designed the stage environments for many of the Théâtre UBU’s creations, including Maîtres anciens (1995) by Thomas Bernhard and Catoblépas (2001) by Gaétan Soucy. Claude Goyette teaches at the École supérieure de théâtre at the Université de Québec à Montréal.

© Claude Goyette
Sketch by Claude Goyette for his set design of Britannicus by Racine, NAC and TDP, 1984.

Title Britannicus

Playwright: Jean Racine

Production: National Arts Centre and Théâtre Denise-Pelletier, 1984

Director: André Brassard

Set design: Claude Goyette

By Claude Goyette:

  • “Le lieu théâtral : réflexion sur une pratique scénographique“, Jeu 79, 1996, p. 61-67
  • “Temps d'espaces” in L'album du Théâtre UBU, Éditions Jeu-Lansman, 1994, p. 111-112
  • Website: http://www.er.uqam.ca/nobel/r10040/index.htm

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Danièle Lévesque

© Maxim Côté
Danièle Lévesque

Well-known Quebec designer Danièle Lévesque learned the rudiments of her craft at the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS), studying under famed designers François Barbeau and Yannis Kokkos. Since she began her career in 1983, she has designed countless sets for plays - whether they be from the classic, creation, or avant-garde repertoires - as well as for dance and opera. Her work has largely contributed to the affirmation of scenic art in Quebec; her style is highly recognizable, her signature is personal. The sets she creates, often at the TNM and at Espace Go, are either grandiose and austere or filled to excess with all kinds of objects: cars, aquariums, and refrigerators, such as in Bonjour, là, Bonjour (1987) by Michel Tremblay. She has worked with directors whose approaches are very different, such as Brigitte Haentjens, René Richard Cyr, and Lorraine Pintal. Together with them, she has succeeded in bringing to life the worlds of Racine, Molière, or Ducharme in an innovative way, as she did with Ducharme’s Ines Pérée et Inat Tendu (1991). Lévesque has taught at the NTS since 1991 and is currently director of the Set and Costume Design Program.

© Pierre Desjardins
Set design by Danièle Lévesque for Ines Pérée et Inat Tendu by Réjean Ducharme, TNM, 1992.

Title: Ines Pérée et Inat Tendu

Playwright: Réjean Ducharme

Production: Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, 1991-1992 season

Director: Lorraine Pintal

Costumes: François Laplante

Lighting: Michel Beaulieu

Set design: Danièle Lévesque

Props: Jean-Marie Guay

Music: Philippe Ménard.

 

About Danièle Lévesque:

  • “La scénographie, un métier de poète”, Lynda Burgoyne and Solange Lévesque, interview with Danièle Lévesque, Jeu 62, 1992, p. 41-50.

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Jean Hazel

© Louise Leblanc
Jean Hazel

Versatile designer Jean Hazel works in Quebec City. He has created the sets, lighting, or costumes for over 100 productions. A graduate of the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec in 1985, he quickly developed a partnership with director and artistic director Gil Champagne. Having taken part in all of the Théâtre Blanc’s productions since 1988, he is considered to be its resident designer. He has also collaborated with Robert Lepage for Le Polygraphe (1987) and Les Plaques tectoniques (1988). The daring and symbolic scenic environments that he creates often provide a totally unexpected view of the plays they serve. The area where he most naturally applies his talents is that of modern plays, from here or abroad. At the Théâtre du Trident, he designed a magnificent space for Gil Champagne’s production of Michel Tremblay’s classic À toi pour toujours, ta Marie-Lou (2001), complete with floating statues of the Virgin Mary and beer bottles. This impressive water-filled set won him his first Masque award for Best Set Design. Since 2003, Jean Hazel has been artistic director of the Théâtre Blanc.

© Louise Leblanc
Érika Gagnon and Lise Castonguay seen on a set designed by Jean Hazel for Les Reines(The Queens) by Normand Chaurette, Théâtre Blanc, 1997.

Title: Les Reines (The Queens)

Playwright: Normand Chaurette

Production: Théâtre Blanc, 1997

Director: Gill Champagne

Set design and lighting: Jean Hazel

Costumes: Isabelle Larivière

Soundscape: Serge Gingras.

 

Sur Jean Hazel:

  • “Matière vivante : Jean Hazel, scénographe”, Marie-Christine Lesage, Jeu 86, 1998, p. 128-133.

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Mérédith Caron

© Terry Manzo
Mérédith Caron

With over 100 designs to her name, her invaluable know-how, and her marked artistic integrity, Mérédith Caron is surely one of our most highly sought-after costume designers. Since launching her career in 1978, her talent has graced many important stage and film productions. Equally devoted to the classic repertoire as to modern creations and summer theatre, she has worked with a wide range of directors. Among them, Martine Beaulne, for whom she did the costumes for Molière’s Dom Juan (2000), Serge Denoncourt, Pierre Bernard, Denise Filiatrault, Daniel Roussel, Claude Poissant, and Olivier Reichenbach, designing the costumes for his production of Othello (1985) by Shakespeare at the TNM. Her reputation has led her to work several times for the prestigious Stratford Festvial. Never one to back away from challenging projects, she has created the costumes for two Cirque Éloize productions as well as for several operas. In the profession just as within the walls of the National Theatre School of Canada, where she teaches the costume designers of tomorrow, her career serves as an example for many artists.

© Robert Etcheverry
Gérard Poirier and Raymond Bouchard wearing costumes by Mérédith Caron for Othello by Shakespeare, TNM, 1985.

Title: Othello

Playwright: William Shakespeare

Production: Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, 1985-1986 season

Director: Olivier Reichenbach

Set design: Claude Goyette

Costumes: Mérédith Caron

Lighting: Michel Beaulieu.

 

About Mérédith Caron:

  • Théâtre en jeu (show no. 4), a documentary produced by Michel Duchesne, Télé-Québec, 1997, 25 min. 30 sec. VHS. Featuring Mérédith Caron, Guillaume Lord, and Michel Beaulieu.

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Michel Smith

© Michel Smith
Michel Smith

Born in Quebec in 1958, composer Michel Smith has worked for the past 15 years in theatre and the multidisciplinary arts. His highly original work is rooted in electroacoustics. Along with the Ensemble Karel, which he founded in 1992, he has designed sound and visual installations which leave room for improvisation. During his performances, he uses video and unusual instruments which he creates himself. A very versatile artist, he has created original sound tracks for several plays, operas, films, and television shows. In the theatre, he has worked closely with directors such as André Brassard, René-Daniel Dubois, Robert Lepage, Alice Ronfard, Lorraine Pintal, René Richard Cyr, and Serge Denoncourt. The sound environments that he designs, often dominated by his own piano playing, manage to blend in with the very diverse styles of the productions. He is currently a guest lecturer at the Université de Montréal, from which he obtained a master’s degree in composition. Among his recent achievements are Macaque (1997), a sound happening presented as part of the Symphonies portuaires de Montréal and the music for the epic Kosmogonia (2001). Passionate about new technologies in sound, Michel Smith is a creator who always has the wind in his sails.

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Denis Gougeon

© Jean-François Bérubé
Denis Gougeon

Prolific composer Denis Gougeon was born in Granby in 1951; he learned his art at the École Vincent-d'Indy and at the Université de Montréal. During the 1980s, he worked at developing his own musical language while making a name for himself on the Montreal music scene. In 1988, when his piece Heureux qui comme… gained international success, his career began to soar. It was undoubtedly his characteristic curiosity and versatility which led him to compose for the theatre. Since 1993, the year of his defining meeting with the director of the Théâtre UBU, Denis Marleau, Gougeon has composed the music for most of the company’s shows. From Roberto Zucco (1993) to Quelqu’un va venir (2002), his soundscapes blended so well with Marleau’s staging that critics and the audience were always unanimous in their praise. Among contemporary composers, Denis Gougeon stands apart thanks his lush, accessible music. With over 80 compositions to his name—from solos to orchestral works, from concert music to chamber opera, and also musical tales and works for ballet—he continues to devote himself exclusively to composition.

By Denis Gougeon:

  • Most of his compositions are available on the Analekta label.
  • Musique pour le théâtre UBU (1998), Analekta.

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Michel Beaulieu

© Jean-Claude. Labrecque
Michel Beaulieu

Considered to be one of the most important lighting designers in Canada, Michel Beaulieu has spent his life in theatres. In 1969, he met Nicolas Cernovitch; alongside this great master, he received his education and learned the rudiments of his future craft while on tour with the Grands Ballets canadiens. Working in the greatest halls in North America fast-tracked his creative abilities. In the early 1970s, he started to design the lighting for the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. At a time when this was traditionally handled by the set designer, he would be one of the first to see his name associated with the lighting design of a play. At the time, he was also lighting the shows of the biggest pop singers in Quebec. The creation of Floralie, où es-tu (1972) by Roch Carrier marked the true beginning of his career as a lighting designer. After having worked with all of the major Quebec directors such as Lorraine Pintal Olivier Reichenbach, René-Richard Cyr, and Serge Denoncourt, Michel Beaulieu continues to sculpt light with his talent and transform the stages of Quebec with his intense, vibrant lighting designs.

© Pierre Desjardins
Michel Beaulieu’s lighting for Les oranges sont vertes by Claude Gauvreau, TNM, 1998

Title: Les oranges sont vertes

Playwright: Claude Gauvreau

Production: Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, 1998-1999 season

Director: Lorraine Pintal

Set design: Danièle Lévesque

Costumes: François St-Aubin

Lighting: Michel Beaulieu

Music: Jean Derome

Assistant: Lou Arteau

Props: Jean-Marie Guay.

 

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About Michel Beaulieu:

  • Théâtre en jeu (show no. 4), a documentary produced by Michel Duchesne, Télé-Québec, 1997, 25 min. 30 sec. VHS. With Mérédith Caron, Guillaume Lord, and Michel Beaulieu.

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Guy Simard

© Pierre Desjardins
Denis Bernard and Sylvie Drapeau lit by Guy Simard in Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, TNM, 1996.

Title: Hedda Gabler

Playwright: Henrik Ibsen

Production: Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, 1995-1996 season

Translation: Normand Chaurette

Director: Lorraine Pintal

Costumes: François Barbeau

Set design: Raymond-Marius Boucher

Lighting: Guy Simard

Music: Catherine Gadouas

Props: Michèle Gagnon.

A lighting designer and graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, Guy Simard has been building up an impressive list of accomplishments since 1971. Considered to be a leader in his field, he has participated in over 300 stage productions. Although he is artistically renown for his creative talent, his knowledge and experience have led him to hold the positions of technical director, production manager, technical consultant, and stage manager. He has designed for all of the major theatres in Montreal. Other than the Opéra de Montréal, where he has been the resident lighting designer since 1992, he has regularly lit the stages of the Espace Go, Quat'Sous, and Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, notably for the TNM’s Combat de nègre et de chiens (1997) by Koltès, directed by Brigitte Haentjens. His talent has crossed the borders beyond Canada. The lighting he has designed for various opera houses have enabled him to work in the world’s most prestigious halls. His fruitful collaborations with Denis Marleau have led him to work in Europe and to develop close ties with local companies. Always keen on the development of new technologies in lighting, this explorer never ceases to diversify his activities.

About Guy Simard:

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On a final note, here are some other designers who could be added to the list we have presented to you:

set designers Louise Campeau, Stéphane Roy, Yvan Gaudin, Jean Bard, Raymond-Marius Boucher, Carl Filion, Mario Bouchard, David Gaucher, Anick La Bissonnière, and Guillaume Lord, Olivier Landreville, Martin Ferland, Isabelle Larivière ;

costume designers François Saint-Aubin, Maryse Bienvenu, Linda Brunelle, and Julie Charland;

lighting designers Luc Prairie, Alain Lortie, and Martin Labrecque;

sound designers Michel Normandeau, Nancy Tobin, Larsen Lupin and Michel F. Coté ; 

stage-manager Alain Roy