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Friday, May 6, 2011

The Friday Five, May 6, 2011

Where WE like to see theatre
by Estelle Rosen and Gaëtan L. Charlebois 

We decided to provoke discussion, again, and also want readers to offer the spaces they like and (especially) discussion of less-used spaces.

Theatre Ste-Catherine
Its brick wall adds a homey atmosphere and it's intimacy is solid. It's well placed (metro hub) right beside a Van Houtte.

Monument National Studio
The stage adapts well to a small or medium size production and the balconies around the pit are a glorious design idea. You can't beat the neighbourhood for interest-quotient. AND it's easy walkies between two metro lines.

We feel there's a good connection between audience and what's presented on stage. It's a pleasant venue in an easily reached neighbourhood and comfortable into the bargain.

Centaur 1
The seating rake allows the audience a good view no matter where one sits. The entire complex, as well, is comfortable and well-serviced and (in summer) in a fabulous neighbourhood.

Mainline/4001 Berri
We disagreed on these. We like the funky, old-style alterno feel but they're neither a cinch to get to nor particularly comfortable. However, the people who go there are the kind of people we like to be around.

Also rans: Segal (great spaces, truly profoundly awful public transpo); Moyse Hall (glorious space but
 in winter virtually out of bounds to anyone even slightly handicapped); Centaur 2 (a cavernous and ugly space but in a nice complex)


  1. Overall, I agree with the "reviews" (for lack of a better word) of the main Montreal theatre spaces, adding only that Theatre Ste-Catherine is a space I have not seen used to its fullest extent very often, with a few exceptions (Tableau D'Hote's 7 Stories and Raoul Bhaneja's Hamlet: Solo come to mind).
    What unnerves me about this list is simply its length. Can anyone name spaces in the city other than these? (Uhh.. The Freestanding Room? The Rialto?) While the spaces themselves provide some layout challenges that usually challenge artists in their staging, thus creating more dynamic shows, the spaces are, for the most part, financially out of reach for emerging Montreal artists.
    While this may lead to some companies striking off in bold new directions using new media and/or non-traditional spaces (C'est La Vie's Podcasts; Astra Theatre's ArtHere!), many artists are still at a loss as to how they can make theatre if they don't have a space.
    Can't we, as a community, crack open this metropolis and find some new (hopefully affordable) space? While emerging artists can surely take advantage of the Fringe circuit, we need space all year round!

  2. Off the top of my head I can name a whole bunch of other spaces: Centre Calixa Lavallée, Jeunesses Musicales, Conservatoire d'art musicale et dramatique, Atwater Library, McGill Players, Tuesday Night Café Space, La's a question of claiming a space at the right price and, more importantly, for the audience you want.


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