After three decades under multiple names but the same leadership, Montreal's Festival TransAmériques (FTA) has announced a new artistic director: Martin Faucher.
But the selection of the in-demand stage director will not mark a radical shift of course for the country's longest-running festival of international dance and theatre.
"This will be continuity," says Faucher, who has served as an artistic consultant at the FTA for the past eight years. "All the choices made since 2006 are ones that I've been very comfortable with."
With a career that has straddled theatre and dance, and his in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the festival, Faucher was the odds-on favourite to succeed Marie-Hélène Falcon as artistic director of the FTA; in addition to that role, he will share the duties of director-general with David Lavoie.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Faucher held his cards close to his chest about plans for the future – saying only that he is interested in expanding the geographical scope of the festival to consider contemporary dance and theatre in Japan and Korea, as well as the Scandinavian counties.
Faucher will take the reins from Falcon officially in June, after the latest edition comes to an end. Falcon, who announced she was stepping down in September, was the founding artistic director of the Festival de théâtre des Amériques – as it was then called – when it held its inaugural edition in Montreal in 1985.
While the festival's name, focus and frequency has changed a number of times in the intervening years, it has always sought to bring international performing artists to Montreal – and showcase Quebec's to the rest of the world.
Under Falcon's tenure, major European and American creators such as Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkine, Peter Sellars and Robert Wilson visited Canada for the first time. The FTA and its predecessors have also helped market the work of artists such as Robert Lepage and Denis Marleau internationally.
Faucher describes attendance at the festival – which presents shows with French and English surtitles – as healthy. "We have people from the Anglo side, from the Franco side, from their 20s thorugh to their 70s," he says. His main concern going in is how to continue to finance the festival. He's open to more co-productions, including with other Canadian festivals with similar remits – and says the PuSh Festival in Vancouver is a "great source of inspiration." As for Luminato in Toronto, Faucher doesn't rule out future collaborations, but notes: "We're on two different realities – unfortunately, the FTA doesn't have the same financial capacity as Luminato."
As for his career as one of Quebec's top stage directors – recent credits including the premiere of Sarah Berthiaume's Yukonstyle and Morris Panych's Vigil at Théâtre du Rideau Vert and the Segal Centre – Faucher says he will put it on pause for at least a year, but after that plans to return to directing one show a season. "For me, that's very important."
The next edition of the FTA runs from May 22 to June 7, 2014. Programming announced so far includes French director Julien Gosselin's adaptation of Michel Houellebecq's novel Les particules élémentaires and new dance works by choreographers Paul-André Fortier, Daniel Léveillé and Christian Rizzo.
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