When “amateur” rhymes with “force”

yoland-roy(Sherbrooke) The 2015-2016 season will surely go down in history as one of the most prolific in amateur theater in Sherbrooke. These are ten different productions that have succeeded this year in the hall of the Parvis and Cultural Centre Pierre-Gobeil, which must be added the six productions of the Double Star Spring who return year after year. Not to mention the activities of Magog Renaissance Theatre, Scéneux of Coaticook, the First Stage Marston, of Thetford Mines Cabotins … And while professional summer theaters redouble their imagination to keep the head out of the water, Sherbrooke will host not one, but two amateur productions this summer (see text on pages W6 and W7). On the occasion of the 4th Amateur Theatre Festival Victoriaville, which opens today, we offer a small foray into this particular universe, which is increasingly noted for his passionate and happens to attract an audience growing, despite its often rudimentary means.

For four years in a row regulars Pierre Gobeil Cultural Center can subscribe to an amateur theater season. Not only Artdramus the troupe in residence CCGP, presents a creation annually, but it offers to outside forces to come to produce it.

For example, last winter, Quapla troops Victoriaville and Frasqc Saguenay came to give some street performances Haut-Bois.

“In the case of Saguenay, the company could not give two performances at home”, illustrates Yoland Roy, artistic director of Artdramus.

“By creating a theater passport, we not only want to allow amateur companies to play more, but we also want to make theater accessible to the population,” says one who is also general manager of the Quebec Federation of Amateur Theatre (FQTA).

The current popularity of amateur theater, Yoland Roy attributes this to several factors. “First, municipalities offer more appropriate infrastructure, as CCGP and Parvis. We also note that the troops have a way to work more rigorous at all stages. This will increase the quality of production and it is the viewer who benefits. ”

For example, several companies plan a budget to hire a professional director. They may also allow a greater number of actors or larger sets, since no one is paid. But mounting a play when one has no subsidies (at most, maybe some sponsors) remains a small miracle each time, he insists.

In FQTA, Yoland Roy a slight increase in the number of member companies, but no explosion. This did not surprise the arrival of new troops is often offset by the disappearance of others.

“It’s just normal that a breath settles at the immensity of the task. Sometimes people need to take a break. Often, these troops are based on a key person. Just as the latter withdraws to the group ceases operation if there is no succession. ”

FQTA according to the average age of people who play amateur theater is 42 years.

In promoting energy
One could almost say that the Sherbrooke room Parvis has become the new mecca of amateur theater. In 2015-2016, it hosted six different rooms. In two weeks, the summer theater will be back for a third straight year. Two other productions are in preparation for the fall, plus a French troupe will stop in September.

This abundant supply is obviously the general and artistic director Richard Vachon which is mainly responsible. With a theatrical training, he already had a personal sensitivity to the art form.

“It is a language that I have, so I can give a hand to direct the actors or motivate the troops,” says the man who, in 2014, has opted to present a summer theater with Skene troupe machine, Knock! Toc !, which was sold out for most of the season, added to the support.

“The advantage of having the amateur theater is the commitment of the participants. They put a lot of energy in the promotion to attract spectators, as they give several performances in the same room.

“Unlike, for example, a musical group, which needs less repetitions and walks from one room to the other,” says Richard Vachon. “In theater, it develops a strong team spirit. ”

Yes, the present summer theater at Parvis was a risk to run. “But the worst that could happen was that the public is not at the rendezvous. One would simply abdicated during the season. My philosophy is to tell the actors to have fun. If this is the case, the public will have fun too. ”

Unable to amateur theater in Sherbrooke talk without speaking theater workshops of Double Star, which, since the beginning of the company in 1985, allowed hundreds of fans to experience the boards. Some have become professional actors afterwards, but others founded their own amateur troupe, who lived more or less time.

Lilie Bergeron, director of Double Star, did not count the “reject” over the years, but it can only note the continuing interest in the workshops of the Double Star who for a decade, have six spring productions bringing together between 70 and 85 amateur actors. Again this year, just under 3,500 people bought tickets for the thirty performances.

“We never need to restart participants in the fall so they re-enroll. Many even take a work-week vacation when coming week representations “said one who sees a very good eye presenting summer theater by amateur groups and are no perceives a form of competition .

“It’s just more people going to the theater. It shows that this art is contagious, exciting, touching. Those who make it to taste one embodiment. ”

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