François Barbeau (1935-2016)

1996 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Theatre)

Humanity lies at the heart of this leading designer's work in all the vast number and quality of plays, ballets and films that he has "dressed". His belief that "once you put clothes on someone they should be able to live through these clothes" has been a vital key to character for many dramatic artists. His aim? "To find the truth in a work", not impose a vision.

The same applies to his occasional theatre-directing. His sensitivity and tact, combined with his extraordinary design skills, have influenced productions at theatres both large and small, in Quebec, at Stratford, and abroad, at the Comédie Française. In cinema, his award-winning designs and art direction have been seen in films such as Jutra's Kamouraska and Lauzon's Léolo as well as in the work of international film great Louis Malle (Atlantic City).

As a teacher and Head of Design at the National Theatre School he has enriched the skills of countless young designers. His work, as it has evolved, has simplified. He says "it's out of style". In reality this demonstrates the high degree of clarity which this artist has achieved. The continued demand for his talents amply demonstrates the rightness of his principles.