Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Mani Soleymanlou joins a distinguished list of past artistic directors at the National Arts Centre French Theatre, including Robert Lepage, Jean Herbiet, André Brassard, Denis Marleau and Brigitte Haentjens.

Handout

The director, playwright and actor Mani Soleymanlou will succeed Brigitte Haentjens as the artistic director of the National Arts Centre French Theatre. He will take over from Haentjens on Aug. 31, 2021, at the conclusion of her nine-year term.

His appointment comes at an unprecedented time, with theatres across the country dark because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of what was programmed in the NAC French Theatre’s fall season has either been cancelled, rescheduled or reoriented into digital offerings.

“Theatre was one of the first things cancelled, and it’s likely going to be one of the last to come back,” Soleymanlou, 38, told The Globe and Mail. “It was a shocker for me, but all of a sudden we have this luxury of time to rethink theatre, in terms of what the audience needs and who the audience is.”

Story continues below advertisement

A 2008 graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and currently based in Montreal, Soleymanlou has also lived in Tehran, Paris and Toronto. He is best known as the artistic director of the Montreal company Orange Noyée, which he founded in 2011.

Soleymanlou’s connection to the NAC French Theatre stretches back to 2017, when he directed Le Wild West Show de Gabriel Dumont, a romp about a multilingual buffalo-hunting commander of the Métis forces in the North-West Resistance of 1885. After opening in Ottawa, the NAC production, written by 10 playwrights with various languages and backgrounds, toured to Montreal, Winnipeg, Quebec City and Saskatoon.

Soleymanlou is best known as the artistic director of Orange Noyée, the Montreal company he founded in 2011.

Handout

Soleymanlou joins a distinguished list of past NAC French Theatre artistic directors, including Robert Lepage, Jean Herbiet, André Brassard, Denis Marleau and, since 2012, Haentjens.

A native of Versailles, France, Haentjens was the NAC French Theatre’s first female artistic director and the recipient of the 2017 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime artistic achievement. She played a pivotal role in the development of franco-Ontarian theatre, particularly as artistic director of Sudbury’s Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario in the 1980s.

Haentjens will program the French Theatre’s 2021-22 season, to be presented after her departure.

Before assuming his new position next summer, Soleymanlou intends to give thought to the role of theatre in society. “The theatre is one of the only places where we can sit together, think together and stay quiet together,” he says. “I understand the health aspect of closing theatres now, but it’s important to get it back. Not only that, we need to rethink how to make it essential.”

Keep up to date with the weekly Nestruck on Theatre newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies