The Story of Infinithéâtre

Over the course of the past ten years, in addition to its own work, Infinithéâtre has made a concerted effort to help younger and smaller companies and writers develop their projects and stage their productions.

2021/22

The season includes the English-language premiere of Mohsen El Gharbi's Omi Mouna and the premiere of Anana Rydvald's The Sighlence of Sky. The Pipeline play reading series returns with Write-on-Q runner-up Nick Carpenter's Arco, QWF Prize for Playwriting winner Mishka Lavigne's Albumen and Write-on-Q winner Joy Ross-Jones' Fix. Infinithéâtre launches infiniPRESS, in-house publishing press, with Guy Sprung's Fight On!.

2020/21

After over 20 years as Artistic Director, Guy Sprung steps down, with Zach Fraser as his successor. Infinithéâtre holds its first annual The-Write-Stuff playwriting competition for youth. Paul Van Dyck's King of Canada is presented as two live-streamed broadcasts, with nearly 900 viewers. Infinite Playwrights' Chat Rooms hosts 10 public discussions, with over 2000 online viewers.

2019/20

2019 Kafka’s Ape successfully tours Montréal schools, Maisons de la culture, as well as Japan and China. The Pipeline 2019 presents four plays that capture the cultural diversity of the English-language community in Montréal. In May 2020, five public Zoom discussions achieve a combined 2000+ hits on Facebook as part of new dramaturgical initiative The Infinite Playwrights' Chat Room

2018/19

In collaboration with McGill University, Infinithéâtre produces performances of Shakespeare's Sonnets: Transforming the Voices of Montréal.

2017/18

Infinithéâtre continues an ongoing relationship with Japanese theatre by bringing 23 world class artists to perform the original adaption Godot Has Come at the newly renovated NDG arts centre Espace Knox. The Unit play Successions by Michaela Di Cesare is picked up for The Centaur Theatre’s official 2017/18 season. The Unit Cohort 2 is selected and the 12-month period of script development shifts into full swing. Infinithéâtre’s The Pipeline staged reading series plays to audiences at Espace Knox with Louise Arsenault’s Strange Fire, Alain Goulem’s The Ex-Mas Party, Arthur Holden’s The Past (2017 Theatre BC National Playwriting Competition) and Infinithéâtre’s 1st Place WOQ Prize Winner, Michaela Di Cesare’s Extra/Beautiful/U. Alyson Grant’s Conversion and Artistic Director Guy Sprung’s Fight On! workshop performances were produced in the spring of 2018 to complete the three-play season.

2016/17

Infinithéâtre hosts another season of world premieres, including Oren Safdie’s hugely controversial play, Mr Goldberg Goes To Tel Aviv, which is produced in yet another ‘found’ venue: the basement of the former head office of the CIBC in Old Montréal, as well as the world premiere of Battered by Arthur Holden and a remount of the Montréal Fringe Festival award winner for Best English Text: Honesty Rents by the Hour by Michael Milech (both Write-On-Q finalists).

2015/16

With the co-operation of the MUHC, Alyson Grant’s play, Progress is produced in the empty former Royal Victoria Hospital building, a perfect venue as the action of the play actually takes place in the hospital. Members of Montréal medical community flock to the show as audiences fight for tickets in the lobby. On behalf of the English-language theatre community of the entire province, Infinithéâtre inaugurates The Unit, a 12-month script development program for an initial cohort of eight playwrights working on seven plays.

2014/15

As The City of Montréal undergoes extensive renovations on the Bain St-Michel during the season, Infinithéâtre finds itself homeless. The company toured Ontario and Québec with Kafka's Ape and presented David Sherman and Nancy Lee's Lost & Found at the Rialto Theatre on Avenue du Parc in the Plateau neighbourhood. The Pipeline play reading series has returned once again in December 2014. 

2013/14

Due to popular demand, Kafka's Ape is remounted in the Fall of 2013. Infinithéâtre holds a full public workshop for Arthur Holden's Book of Bob in December 2013, which was a runner-up for Write-on-Q 2011 and a part of Centaur Theatre's 2013-2014 season. December also sees the return of The Pipeline series, where 5 plays received public readings, including Write-on-Q winner Andrea Boyd's For the Love of Gracie Gray, and David Sherman and Nancy Lee's Lost & Found, which was remounted the following season. The company's cooperation with a theatre in Tokyo in 2010 led to the hosting of Tokyo's Ryuzanji Company for their production of Hanafuda Denki, presented in Japanese with English and French surtitles. In February, Montréal-native Oren Safdie's Unseamly was presented as a world premiere.

2012/13

The three-play season includes two world premieres: Trench Patterns by Allyson Grant (the 2011 Write-On-Q! winner), Kafka’s Ape (an adaptation of a Kafka short story by Artistic Director, Guy Sprung), as well as the guest production, Cornered by Jim Burke, produced by Rabbit in the Hat. In addition, Infinithéâtre provides the space, technical and organizational support to facilitate a variety of other groups and artists self-producing in the Bain.

2011/12

The three-play season includes Philippe Ducros’, The Poster (translated by Shelley Tepperman), a guest production presented by Teesri Duniya Theatre, known for bridging opposing sides of charged socio-political issues; Arthur Holden’s Ars Poetica, a comedy about a Montréal Anglophone poetry magazine struggling to survive (incidentally his third consecutive submission to Write-On-Q!); and the postponed production of The Leisure Society, directed by Ellen David, a well-respected actor in both the French and English acting communities.

2010/11

Renowned playwright David Fennario bestows a new play about the realities of war, Bolsheviki, to Infinithéâtre for a world premiere on Remembrance Day, and the production tours to Stratford, Ontario the following spring, while David Sherman’s bio-play, Joe Louis: An American Romance is world premiered for a run during Black History Month.

2009/10

The three-play season is comprised entirely of scripts submitted to the previous year’s Write-On-Q! and read at The Pipeline 2008: Arthur Holden’s winning script, Father Land, former Gazette copy editor and journalist David Sherman’s The Daily Miracle (a comedic commentary on the future of print journalism) and National Theatre School student Amy Lee Lavoie’s Rabbit Rabbit, which won Ms. Lavoie the MECCA Revelation Award, as well as Best Text in a draw with Johanna Nutter.

2008/09

Infinithéâtre holds another season of three productions: Carole Fréchette’s John and Béatrice (a Québec English premiere); the world premiere of Carolyn Guillet’s Plucked, Hammered and Strung and the world premiere of Bruce M Smith’s Blessed Are They (developed through The Pipeline), which wins the Best Production MECCA.

Infinithéâtre initiates Write-On-Q!. an annual play writing competition and essential building block in ongoing play development.

2007/08

Infinithéâtre launches its first “season” of three plays: That Woman (by Daniel Danis, directed by Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal freshly appointed Artistic Director, Emma Tibaldo), GAS, (by Jason Maghanoy, who was still a National Theatre School student during the development of his play through The Pipeline) and the Canadian premiere of Trevor Ferguson’s Zarathustra Said Some Things, No?.

Infinithéâtre initiates the flexible 6 Pack discount ticket package and implements Gildan Action Infini, the High School, CEGEP and university outreach program. More than 1,000 students see GAS, Maghanoy’s play about the war in Iraq (the Bain St-Michel holds 100 seats). The play is remounted by the author at the Factory Theatre in Toronto and subsequently translated into Japanese and presented, thanks to Infinithéâtre’s brokerage, in Tokyo in 2010.

2007

The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, is remounted in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre as part of the Québec Scene festival, Infinithéâtre being the only Québec anglophone theatre company invited to participate. The production is also played at Toronto’s Factory Theatre. Trevor Ferguson’s fourth play, Zarathustra Said Some Things, No? is brokered by Infinithéâtre for an Off-Off-Broadway world premiere to rave reviews.

Nicholas Billon’s, The Elephant Song, which was initially developed through Infinithéâtre and through the dramaturgy of Mr. Sprung, is given its world premiere at the 2004 Stratford Festival as well as its Montréal premiere in February 2007 at the Bain-St-Michel.

2006

The Pipeline public play reading series is inaugurated as part of the new work development process. The reading series goes on to blossom into an important and popular event on the annual Infinithéâtre calendar.

2005

Death and Taxes, Mr. Sprung’s controversial play about the Gomery Commission breaks Infinithéâtre’s record for single ticket sales at the Saidye Bronfman Centre and is nominated by the French Critics Association as best English production of the season.

2004

Québec screenwriter and playwright, Bruce M Smith, creates an adaptation of the short story: The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Québec novelist Yann Martel, garnering the triple crown of awards: French Critics Association award, a les Masques for best English production and the MECCA (Montréal English Critics Circle Award) for best production. Carolyn steps down as Co-Artistic Director, but continues to collaborate with the company in a multitude of ways.

2003

Mr. Sprung takes nine Montréal actors and American icon, William Hurt, to the Manitoba Theatre Centre, in Richard III, in a contemporary concept developed at Infinithéâtre. The production is a huge critical and box office success. Mr. Sprung adapts and directs Major Barbara (G. B. Shaw) in an Infinithéâtre/Saidye Bronfman Centre co-production, as part of the Centre’s subscription season.

2002

Québec novelist Trevor Ferguson writes the first play for Infinithéâtre: Long, Long, Short, Long, performed at Monument National and nominated for Best New Text at the 2002 Soirée des masques. La Compagnie Jean-Duceppe later presents the translation, Le pont, directed by Mr. Sprung at Place-des-Arts in 2005.

2000/01

Infinithéâtre puts on a co-production with OMNIBUS of the bilingual Farce (Michael Mackenzie) at Espace Libre as an official Heritage Canada Millennium event. Byron Ayanoglu’s Food/Bouffe is staged bilingually at Lion d’Or as a Montréal Highlights event. Carolyn Guillet is made Co-Artistic Director.

1999

Carolyn Guillet is made Associate Artistic Director. Infinithéâtre transforms Old Montréal’s immense abandoned Darling Foundry into a performance venue to present a bilingual production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame/Fin de partie, subsequently remounted Sept. 2001 at the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre, where Québec and Canada were represented for the first time through Infinithéâtre.

1998

Carolyn Guillet joins the company as Artistic Associate.

1997

On January 1st, over lunch at a Portuguese restaurant, Marianne Ackerman passes the company onto Guy Sprung. Mr. Sprung is named Artistic Director; he changes the company name to Infinithéâtre and overhauls the mandate. The depth and quality of Montréal's small English theatre companies are showcased with three festivals of new plays.

1995

Sliding in all Directions, with a story by Ms. Ackerman, wins the prestigious Les Masques award for the best English production of the season.

1993

Clare Schapiro steps down as Co-AD in January, after a huge festival event that Theatre 1774 organized called Celebration '93.

1992

The NFB documentary Breaking a Leg, directed by Don Winkler, debuts. The documentary follows Lepage, Ackerman, Schapiro and company from the first workshop, through rehearsals, to opening night and the subsequent publicity firestorm.

1990

A co-production with Theatre Passe Muraille, Echo completes a run in Toronto, and wins a Dora Award for lighting by Lepage.

1988

THEATRE 1774 is founded by Marianne Ackerman and Clare Schapiro to create original work and adaptations of classics reflecting the bicultural history and culture of Québec. The company's debut production Echo was created and directed by Robert Lepage, based on A Nun's Diary by Ann Diamond. Other selected highlights include: Woman by a Window and L'Affaire Tartuffe (both by Ms. Ackerman).