There is but one true wealth, and that is human relations.”

-Antoine
                de Saint-Exupery

Jean-Louis Roux (1923-2013)

2004 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Theatre)

As an actor, director, artistic director, playwright, translator, author, and founder of cultural organizations, Jean-Louis Roux is an artist of his time and a man for all seasons. For more than 60 years, he has made his mark on the Canadian cultural landscape through his integrity, daring, theatrical know-how, and determination.

Born in Montréal on May 18, 1923, this doctor's son completed his classical studies at Collège Sainte-Marie before pursuing medical studies at Université de Montréal from 1942 to 1946. In 1939, he performed with the Compagnons de Saint-Laurent. After the war, he went to Paris and Europe where he opened his soul, mind, and heart to the latest trends in European thinking.

When he returned to Montréal in 1949, he founded the Théâtre d'essai with Éloi de Grandmont. In 1951, he co founded the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde with Jean Gascon, Guy Hoffman, and Georges Groulx, among others, and held the positions of secretary general (1953 to 1963) and artistic director (1966 to 1982).

He has performed in over 150 theatrical roles and more than 70 productions. Whether through the classical works of Molière, Claudel, and Genet, of Quebec playwrights such as Normand Chaurette, or the anglophone repertoire of Shakespeare, Strindberg, and Canadian playwright Wendy Lill, his art has transcended frontiers, seducing Quebec audiences as well as those at Statford and in Europe. In addition to writing two of his own plays, Rose Latulippe and Bois Brûlés, he has translated and adapted over 20 works by the likes of Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Peter Shaeffer.

He has written screenplays for television and radio, and he has portrayed some 50 roles in television series such as La Famille Plouffe and Septième Nord. In film, he has appeared in Cordélia by Jean Beaudin and L'empereurdu Pérou by Fernando Arrabal.

He has been president of the Société des auteurs (1953 to 1962) and of the Centre canadien du théâtre (1959 to 1968), director general of the National Theatre School of Canada (1981 to 1986), and president of the Canada Council for the Arts (1998 to 2003).

Other prizes and distinctions awarded Jean-Louis Roux include honorary doctorates from the universities of Laval, Concordia, and Ottawa, the World Theatre Award, the Prix Denise Pelletier, and the Molson Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1987 and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Ordre de la Pléïade, as well as being a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec. In addition, he served in the Senate of Canada and was Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec from September 1996 to February 1997.

At the age of 80, this exceptional man continues to pursue his career of artistic excellence.To the delight of his public, his immense talent will grace the National Arts Centre stage this winter, where he will perform in Kafka's Le Procès, directed by François Girard.