Jean-Denis Leduc

Jean-Denis Leduc, artistic director (b at Valleyfield 12 Aug 1944). Although he directed some productions and appeared on stage until the mid eighties, his main contribution to Québécois theatre practice has, since 1975, undoubtedly been his work in artistic management at Théâtre de la Manufacture.

Leduc, Jean-Denis

Jean-Denis Leduc, artistic director (b at Valleyfield 12 Aug 1944). Although he directed some productions and appeared on stage until the mid eighties, his main contribution to Québécois theatre practice has, since 1975, undoubtedly been his work in artistic management at Théâtre de la Manufacture.

After his cours classique at the Collège de Valleyfield, where he founded two theatre companies, he studied performance with Tania Fédor, and then at the National Theatre School. In 1968, he and his fellow third-year classmates slammed the door on the school in a challenging gesture to an administration that wanted to impose Molière on a generation keenly interested in Québécois creation. Certainly, Leduc performed Québécois works with such directors as Olivier Reichenbach, André BRASSARD, Albert Millaire and Jean-Pierre RONFARD, but he played in the classics as well, (including Le Misanthrope, THÉÂTRE DU NOUVEAU MONDE (TNM) in 1971).

In 1975, he founded the Théâtre de la Manufacture with Claude Maher, Christiane Raymond and Louise Gamache. This collective broke up in the late seventies, and the company continued with two or three-headed leadership until 1996-1997, a pivotal year when Jean-Denis Leduc alone took over the artistic and general management. In 1981, he participated in founding the café-théâtre la Licorne on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, where shows from la Manufacture as well as other artists would be presented. The theatre was well attended, and had several hits such as Addolorata and Gens de silence by Marco Micone, directed by Lorraine Pintal in 1983, and Tom WALMSLEY 's Something Red, directed by Daniel Valcourt, in 1985. In 1989, la Licorne moved to Rue Papineau into a larger but still intimate hall that was a meeting place for budding actors. Here, Cabaret Neiges noires (a co-production with Il va sans dire, 1992) and les Contes urbains (co-broadcast with Théâtre Urbi et Orbi, 1994) would be premiered.

For about a dozen years, despite being solo at the helm of the company, Jean-Denis Leduc took a clear artistic stand that contributed to making la Licorne an important place on Montréal's theatrical landscape. Favouring theatre with a social significance, he promoted current playwrights, here and elsewhere, whose strong voices in their works question the world we live in. The artistic director of la Manufacture on one hand supported such authors as François Létourneau (Cheech, 2003), François Archambault (La Société des loisirs, 2003) and Jean Marc DALPÉ (Trick or Treat, 1999), and on the other encouraged translations by lesser-known British national playwrights: Gregory Burke (Gagarin Way, 2003) Scottish; Mark O'Rowe, Howie le Rookie/Howie the Rookie, 2002) Irish; and (Edward Thomas, La Maison d'Amérique/House of America, 1997) Welsh. In order to bring these often blunt but powerful texts to the stage, la Manufacture's artistic director sought young up-and-coming directors. Thus, Martin Faucher, Michel Monty, Fernand Rainville, Frédéric Blanchette, and others would find at la Licorne a favoured space for their creations.