The French Theatre Residency

© Caroline Robert et Vincent Morisset - Studio AATOAA

Clearing the field to write a show

Because theatre anchors us, challenges us, consumes us. Because making it deserves time, reflection, and interaction with the public. We want to nurture it, to expose its workings, to push back its limits. Let’s open the doors!

A special recurring project initiated by Mani Soleymanlou, the French Theatre Residency allows us to welcome a creator over a two-year period. Two full seasons to explore a particular approach or style, to hone their skills or just let them soar.

“In the creative process, time is always at a premium. The NAC French Theatre residency will allow me to explore Chekhov’s The Seagull in depth, to work on its translation, and to try out aesthetic avenues other than those often associated with this type of play. To explore the themes found in the play (art and creation, the generation gap, young artists’ need to carve out their place and established artists’ dread of obsolescence, traditions and the avant-garde) by delving into Chekhov’s correspondence and short stories, by reading essays or simply by observing my contemporaries ...”

  • la-residence-tf-catherinevidal-credit-julie-artacho
    Director Catherine Vidal

La mouette (The Seagull) investigated by Catherine Vidal

For the 2022–2023 and 2023–2024 seasons, French Theatre will host Catherine Vidal, a researcher of wide-ranging culture, inexhaustible curiosity and keen intelligence. Here at the NAC, she directed Le grand cahier (2012), arranged the words of women in S’appartenir (e) (2015), and orchestrated the fantastical journey Je disparais (2017).

Her goal? To build a dramaturgical and scenic notebook that will lay the foundation for an investigation of Chekhov’s La mouette (The Seagull). With that in mind, she will gather texts, echoes, images, music and atmospheres, and test them out on the performers’ bodies.

By dialoguing with this classic of the repertoire, Catherine Vidal seeks to impose a healthy distance from the chaos of the present. Will this venture quench our thirst for depth, perspective and new ideas? We’ll just have to follow her. Dare to dive into her creation with her.

Audiences will have unique opportunities to follow the project’s evolution through experiences such as musical readings, stage installations, sound creations. In the spring of 2024, a show will be produced by the Cœur battant company, in coproduction with French Theatre and Théâtre Prospero.

Catherine Vidal shares her impressions on her residency and the work she is doing on La mouette (The Seagull)

Letter to French Theatre audiences, November 6, 2023: So many things have been considered, put in place and tried out for the production of La mouette (The Seagull) since I wrote to you last January...

Letter to French Theatre audiences, January 29, 2023: My name is Catherine Vidal and I’m a director. At the invitation of the NAC’s new artistic director, Mani Soleymanlou, I’ll be the NAC French Theatre artist in residence this season and next...

Portrait of Catherine Vidal – Podcast

Do you want to know more about Catherine Vidal and her residency project around Chekhov’s The Seagull?

Listen to this podcast (in French) produced by Julien Morissette based on interviews with the director and her partner in this new translation, Guillaume Corbeil.

Catherine Vidal and the National Arts Centre

Catherine Vidal is no stranger to NAC French Theatre audiences. In 2012, she presented Le grand cahier, a skillful adaptation of a novel by Agota Kristof; in 2015, she directed S’appartenir (e), an evening dedicated to women’s voices to celebrate World Theatre Day; and in 2017, she orchestrated the fantastical journey Je disparais.

Listen to the podcast: Je disparais

With host Julien Morrissette, director Catherine Vidal and performer Marie-France Lambert talk about creating Je disparais. Available in French.