André Brassard

2002 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Theatre)

André Brassard is acclaimed as one of Quebec's foremost directors. In a career spanning over 30 years, working in French and English in theatre, film and television, his originality, vision, and passion for theatre have profoundly marked the cultural landscape of Quebec and Canada. He has made a point of promoting contemporary Quebec creators in general and theatre artists in particular, and it is largely through his efforts that they (and Mr. Brassard himself) have achieved wide recognition both at home and abroad.

Born in Montreal, Quebec, on August 27, 1946, he made his directing debut at 20. His name is most closely linked with that of master Quebec playwright Michel Tremblay (himself a recipient of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 1999). In 1968 Mr. Brassard directed the premiere production of Tremblay's first play, Les Belles-Sœurs, at the Théâtre du Rideau Vert in Montreal, launching a creative collaboration that has become truly legendary and giving new impetus to the Quebec theatre scene. Since then Mr. Brassard has directed the premiere (and numerous subsequent productions, including English adaptations) of nearly all of Tremblay's plays, most recently (April 2002) L'état des lieux at Montreal's Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.

Conversely, Michel Tremblay wrote the screenplays for all three of Mr. Brassard's films: Françoise Durocher, waitress (1972), Il était une fois dans l'Est (1973), and Le soleil se lève en retard (1976).

André Brassard's stage directing credits read like a “Who's Who” of contemporary Quebec theatre: he has directed works by playwrights Réjean Ducharme, Michel Tremblay, Michel Marc Bouchard, Françoise Loranger, Marcel Dubé, Gratien Gélinas, Normand Chaurette, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu, and more, as well as numerous classic and contemporary productions from the international repertoire: Euripides, Aristophanes, Chekhov, Beckett, Shakespeare, Jean Genet, Arthur Miller, Brecht, Feydeau, Camus, Dario Fo, Tennessee Williams, Slawomir Mrozek.

Mr. Brassard was Artistic Director of the National Arts Centre French Theatre (1982–1990) and Artistic Director of the French section of the National Theatre School (1992–2000). Admired and respected mentor of an entire generation of Quebec artists, he inspires his actors and students to discover, explore and develop their own inner potential.

Awards and honours include: Prix Denise-Pelletier (Prix du Québec), 2000; Prix Gascon-Roux awarded by Théâtre du Nouveau Monde subscribers (1992, for his direction of Michel Marc Bouchard's Les feluettes, ou La Répétition d'un drame romantique, and 1989, for Samuel Beckett's En attendant Godot); and the Prix Victor-Morin (1987) awarded by Quebec's Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste for his outstanding contribution to Quebec theatre.