by Réal Couture
President of FQTA
by Silvia Bagnara Milan
Amateur theatre in Québec, told by the president of FQTA. Among its aimings: support to young people, connection with schools and international exchanges.
First of all, let me greet all the theatre lovers of your wonderful country. I hope I will be able to attend one of your theatre festivals, so to discover your amateur reality.
I am the president of Québec’s Amateur Theatre Federation (FQTA). Our Federation has been founded in Montréal in 1958. Here are, in a few words, its aimings: “FQTA’s mission is to unite the individuals and the companies who make theatre, to promote the evolution of the amateur practise and to contribute to artistic, esthetic and social education. It aims to establish a constant contact among the groups scattered on the territory and, by doing so, to give them the opportunity to exchange works, researches, methods and materials relating to theatre”.
During the past years, much of our effort has been dedicated to the improvement of our services, developing challenging projects for our members, among which:
- - a library of texts;
- - a contest of creation-production-theatre;
- - the States General of amateur theatre of Québec;
- - an insurance plan;
- - our magazin: Le Trac;
- - The Gala of Arlequins;
- - some tips on video (copyright, scenery, etc.)
All these efforts allow us to give a good credibility to our Federation, and our associates participate more and more often to all of its activities.
Here, in short, some important data:
- - our companies are more and more steady: their average age is around 19 years;
- - our members’ average age is 30 years;
- - women participate much more than men (women are twice the number of participating men);
- - The kind of texts: 45% popular theatre; 29% original drama; 18% classic theatre and 8% other kind of texts;
- - Genres: 55% comedies; 29% dramas; 16% musical comedies and other genres.
Beyond these statistical data, changing is our companies’ costant focus. Apart from the consultation for the renewal of Cultural Politics of Québec, we insisted on the presence of culture inside of our schools. Our teens must be put in condition to develop their creative potential, and this happens thanks to a well-structured teaching of arts and letters, integrated with the presence of artists inside of schools. Changment is close, we don’t have to risk losing it because of our inaction. There must be a strong government action to give culture a better place into the scholar system.
Now, it is important to underline the challenges we must face everyday to keep our activities alive. To begin, the economical fragility is a constant concern. Moreover, we must continuously work to make our amateur practice be recognized and valued. The quality of our productions is, unfortunately, still a too-well guarded secret. Also, the renewal of our human resources is a big challenge we must tackle to avoid the break up of our companies because of the lack of members. Finally, for us in Québec, it is important to underline that theatre is really useful, among other things, to ensure the protection of our language.
These challenges must not limit our actions and dreams. Among these, undoubtedly, there are the international exchanges. It is very important for us to work to facilitate the participation of our companies to various festivals or exchanges with theatre lovers from other countries. On our part, we contribute to this with the International Theatre Festival of Mont-Laurier that unites around twenty countries for each edition. Venues, where to meet and exchange opinions on our common concerns and try together to find ways towards solutions, are needed. Being part of CIFTA, we would love other stages of international learning for the youth of our federation to be organized again soon.
I shall leave with some more words about an activity that our associates particularly love, being the Gala of Arlequins. This year the tenth edition of this annual event will take place, and it is attracting more and more participants every year. This activity points mainly to honour the job of creation done by the companies that are part of our Federation. In my opinion, this is the key-event of our federation; the challenge we will have to deal with is being able to have a changeover to continue this beautiful initiative.
Here, in a couple of words, the life of our Federation and of its associates.
I convey to you all the greetings from all theatre fans from Québec.