Catherine Vidal is the winner of the first edition of the Jovette Marchessault Award, highlighting the important contribution of women theatre artists. This new award to honour and promote the contribution of women to Montreal’s theatre community, the first edition of which recognizes directors, is accompanied by a $20,000 cash prize that will be presented to the winner by the Conseil des arts de Montréal. Catherine Bourgeois and Pol Pelletier were the other finalists this year.
“I like not understanding. Basically, I like putting myself in situations where I don’t fully understand all the aspects, where I feel out of my comfort zone. It makes me dig deep, reflect, read, discover. I like the idea of keeping busy to keep my balance.” – Catherine Vidal
Director, writer, scenographer
“About five years ago, someone asked me why I had chosen to start a theatre company featuring some actors living with a disability. I couldn’t answer. I had never thought of doing anything else, of pursuing a different path. This made me start (re)viewing the path I had taken as a choice. The same way someone chooses (I guess) to go to the moon. Through passion, and for the collective advancement that results from such a challenge.” – Catherine Bourgeois
Actor, writer, director
“My work involves creating spaces in which the Feminine and the theatre arts coexist. The Feminine represents the oppressed segment of humanity. The theatre is where the collective subconscious of a people is most accurately expressed. The meeting point of these two passions in my life is where the truth manifests itself.” – Pol Pelletier
The Jovette Marchessault Award was created in 2019 in the wake of ESPACE GO’s Chantier féministe event, where the theatre community rallied behind a proposal by the Femmes pour l’Équité en Théâtre (F.E.T.) movement that awards be created specifically to recognize the outstanding work of women in theatre and raise the profile of female artists. The Conseil des arts de Montréal swiftly responded, eliciting the collaboration of partners ESPACE GO, Imago Theatre, Théâtre de l’Affamée and the F.E.T. movement to make this new award possible. All players were agreed that the award should be named for the inspiring woman artist Jovette Marchessault (1938-2012), Montreal novelist, poet, playwright, painter and sculptor.
The jury for this award, composed of male and female professional artists, received 17 nominations representing a broad range of theatre practices. Candidates were evaluated based on the quality and originality of their artistic approach as well as the impact of their work on the development of theatre.
The Conseil des arts de Montréal is responsible for selecting the jury and the candidates and for the cash prize, while ESPACE GO is handling logistics and promotion for the award. The current COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible to have any form of group celebration, but we felt it was still important that the award be presented to the winner on the scheduled date.
Image of the Jovette-Marchessault Award: Odetka Tuduri | Photo: Télé-Québec
Photos of the finalists: Charles Lafrance + Pol Pelletier + Julie Artacho
Videos: Editing: Sandrick Mathurin – Music: Frannie Holder
Video Q&A: Video : Clara L’heureux Garcia + Antoine Raymond + Laurent Schraenen – Editing: Sandrick Mathurin