History of the company

  • 1975
  • 1975 à 1978
  • 1979
  • 1980 à 1985
  • 1985 à 1990
  • 1990 à 1995
  • 1995 à 2000
  • 2000 à 2005
  • 2005 à 2010
  • 2010 à 2015
  • 2015 à 2020
  • 2020 à aujourd'hui
Foundation of the company

Suzanne Lebeau and Gervais Gaudreault found Le Carrousel. Both artists play in the company’s shows.

The first steps

Suzanne Lebeau writes her first plays, and different artists bring them to the stage: Ti-Jean voudrait ben s’marier mais… (1975) and Le jardin qui s’anime (1976), La chanson improvisée (1977), Chut! Chut! Pas si fort! (1977), and Petite ville deviendra grande (1978).

Pascal Desgranges, Alain Fournier, Jean Fugère, and Mona Latif Ghattas direct Le Carrousel’s early productions

Une lune entre deux maisons

Une lune entre deux maisons is the first Canadian play written specifically for young children.

To write this play, Suzanne Lebeau adopts the point of view of the child: “Starting with this text, my writing would carry, between the words and images, the presence of children, a direct, effective, decisive, vibrant presence even in what is not said, and the incredibly theatrical suggestion that one dares to make so rarely to children, always deeming it necessary to explain.”

Gervais Gaudreault directs for the first time with this first version of Une lune entre deux maisons, which will be performed 675 times in French, English, and Spanish. The play will be presented again twice more in the company’s history, and more than thirty other productions of Une lune entre deux maisons will have been staged for audiences over the next forty years.

First international tours: Le Carrousel in Europe

In 1981, Alain Grégoire becomes the company’s third co-director.

Two new plays by Suzanne Lebeau are premiered: Les petits pouvoirs (1982), directed by Lorraine Pintal, and La marelle (1984), directed by Alain Grégoire.

In 1982, Le Carrousel, le Théâtre de l’œil, and La Marmaille (today Les Deux Mondes) found La Maison québécoise du théâtre pour l’enfance et la Jeunesse, which opens its doors in preview in fall 1984. A group of 19 member companies combine forces to create a performance venue in Montréal devoted specifically to young audiences.

In 1983, with a series of performances in Belgium and France, Une lune entre deux maisons becomes Le Carrousel’s first play presented internationally.

In the 1980s, Gervais Gaudreault and colleagues create Théâtres Unis Enfance Jeunesse (TUEJ), which, starting in 1985, will represent theatre companies for young audiences with artists’ unions (UDA, APASQ, etc.).

Gil and Argentina

Gil is Suzanne Lebeau’s adaptation of a novel by Howard Buten, Quand j’avais cinq ans je m’ai tué. Gervais Gaudreault directs the play. The show sends shock waves through the adults who attend the performances, but wins the award for the best production for young audiences 1987–88 (Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre/AQCT). Suzanne Lebeau says about Gil, “For the first time, I felt in my heart that there are limits to what we can present to children and that these limits come not from the children for whom I’m writing, but from the adults around them.”

The company’s first South American tour takes place in 1988 with Una luna entre dos casas.

Also in 1988, Alain Grégoire directs Hélène Lasnier’s 242M106. It is Le Carrousel’s first experiment with a production aimed at teenagers.

In 1989, Gervais Gaudreault premieres Suzanne Lebeau’s Comment vivre avec les hommes quand on est un géant.

Also in 1989, Alain Grégoire resigns as co-director of Le Carrousel but continues to work freelance with the company for a year before taking on a two-year stint at the Ministère des Affaires culturelles, becoming director of theatre for Québec.

Gervais Gaudreault, director

In 1990, Gervais Gaudreault becomes the company’s exclusive director: he will direct all the shows for Le Carrousel for the next 20 years.

Between 1990 and 1995, he directs three new plays by Suzanne Lebeau: Conte du jour et de la nuit, Contes d’enfants reels, and Salvador, which is presented at the New Victory Theater on Broadway.

In 1992, Odette Lavoie becomes executive director of Le Carrousel. She, Gervais Gaudreault, and Suzanne Lebeau form an outstanding team of directors for almost 20 years. In 1994, Nathalie Ménard joins the company. Still financial manager today, Nathalie now holds the institutional memory of Le Carrousel.

Le Carrousel takes on the world

Salvador is presented in English in New York and Philadelphia (1997) and Albuquerque (1998).

Le Carrousel hosts authors in residency: Normand Chaurette writes Petit navire; Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf, L’Autoroute (1999).

In 1996, in France, L’Espace Malraux – Scène nationale de Chambéry and La Scène nationale de Narbonne decide to co-produce Petit Navire. Le Carrousel thus becomes the first Canadian company to lay the foundations for co-production of shows for young audiences, in Québec and abroad.

L’Ogrelet is premiered in 1997 by Le Carrousel, in co-production with Théâtre du Vieux-Terrebonne. In 1999, the show receives Masques awards for original text and lighting design (Académie québécoise du théâtre). Dominique Gagnon, Le Carrousel’s technical director, designed the lighting for L’Ogrelet. Dominique was involved in all of the company’s productions for 28 years (1990 to 2018).

L’Ogrelet becomes one of the most important plays in the company’s repertoire, with more than 450 performances in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, Québec, Spain, and Switzerland. The show goes on to be presented in French, English, Italian, and Spanish for many years.

Suzanne Lebeau’s play is translated into 15 languages: Catalonian, Czech, English, Euscara (Basque), Galician, German, Greek, Italian, Maya, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian, and Yvette Hardie, who was president of the executive council of ASSITEJ for many years, mounts L’Ogrelet in Xhosa, South Africa’s most-spoken second language.

The repertoire grows

In 2002, Gervais Gaudreault directs Suzanne Lebeau’s play Petit Pierre.

Three years later, he premieres Le pays des genoux by Geneviève Billette, an author hosted in residency at Le Carrousel. The show is a new co-production with L’Espace Malraux in Chambéry, France.

First appearances at La Comédie Française and in Asia

In 2006, Souliers de sable is premiered.

In 2008, Marie-Eve Huot begins a long-term internship at Le Carrousel, following which the co-directors invite her, with her company Théâtre Ébouriffé, to a four-year residency.

Le Carrousel co-produces Le bruit des os qui craquent with Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui in 2009.

In 2010 and 2011, the award-winning play is presented by La Comédie-Française.

In 2009, Gervais Gaudreault reprises Petit Pierre in Mandarin, in co-production with the Taipei Children’s Arts Festival. This first foray into Asia will be followed by several others in coming seasons.

Artistic transmission and start-up of the Le Cube real-estate investment project

In 2010, Gervais Gaudreault adapts and directs Michèle Lemieux’s picture book Nuit d’orage. The show is performed in French, Spanish, Mandarin (Taipei Children’s Arts Festival, 2012), and Polish (Korczak Festival, for the 18th World Congress of ASSITEJ in Warsaw, Poland, 2014).

A long-term collaboration also begins between Le Carrousel and Théâtre le Clou in 2010: Both companies have been working on relocation projects. They finally reach an agreement with the Centre culturel et communautaire Sainte-Brigide-de-Kildare to relocate their respective organizations to the former Sainte-Brigide church.

To this relocation project is attached a third, newly created entity that is to become a service organization devoted to the field of theatre for young audiences. Le Cube, centre de recherche et de création, has a mission complementary to that of Maison Théâtre, which meets the many needs of young companies whose vitality ensures that the practice will continue to evolve.

The collaboration between Le Carrousel and Le Clou seems relevant and natural, as both companies are interested in young audiences: children (Le Carrousel) and teenagers (Le Clou). The investment project of both companies is added to that of Le Cube, centre de recherche et de création, intended to become the owner of the former Sainte-Brigide church that would provide a home for the three organizations.

In 2011, Gervais Gaudreault reprises Le bruit des os qui craquent in Spanish with the actors from the Compañía Nacional de Teatro de Mexico.

In fall 2011, wishing to integrate Marie-Eve Huot fully into the company’s operations, the co-founders ask her to direct the reprise of Une lune entre deux maisons. Her work earns her the LOJIQ/RIDEAU Francophonie award for 2013.

In 2013, Gretel et Hansel is premiered. The show is to become one of the company’s key works and will be presented in French, English, Spanish, and Japanese.

Gretel et Hansel is performed 275 times before audiences in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, Québec, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom between 2013 and 2019. At the time it is first presented, no one imagines that the show will also presented online in Argentina and Paraguay in 2021, during the pandemic.

In 2014, Le Carrousel makes its first foray into adult theatre, premiering Chaîne de montage, in co-production with Théâtre de Quat’sous. The show is presented in France and Argentina in 2015.

In 2014, Marie-Eve Huot becomes an associate artist at Le Carrousel.

A new artistic co-director: Marie-Eve Huot

In 2016, Marie-Eve Huot directs Martin Bellemare’s Des pieds et des mains, the last production by Théâtre Ébouriffé, the company that she co-founded in 2007. Le Carrousel becomes associate producer of this show, following the closure of Théâtre Ébouriffé in 2017.

Also in 2017, after nine years of guidance, Marie-Eve Huot succeeds Suzanne Lebeau as artistic co-director of Le Carrousel, alongside Gervais Gaudreault.

In 2016, Gervais Gaudreault directs Trois petites sœurs, which is a core piece of Suzanne Lebeau’s doctoral research; her dissertation is called Écrire pour les jeunes publics, une conquête de la liberté (Writing for young audiences: Freedom’s conquest).

In 2017, Le Carrousel plays for the first time in Africa, presenting Gretel and Hansel at the Cradle of Creativity festival during the 19th World Congress of ASSITEJ, in Cape Town, South Africa.

In 2018, Gretel y Hansel wins the Premios Atina award for best foreign play presented in Argentina, and Gervais Gaudreault reprises the show in Japanese, in co-production with the Kanagawa Arts Theatre in Yokohama, Japan.

In 2018, Marie-Eve Huot directs a brand-new version of Une lune entre deux maisons. Thirty-five years after its first European tour, Une lune entre deux maisons takes to the road in France.

A new period begins

A year after the COVID-19 pandemic begins, in order to keep in touch with its audiences who can’t go to the theatre, Le Carrousel returns to schools with the invisible theatre project La question du devoir.

In fall 2021, Gervais Gaudreault resigns as artistic director and becomes an associate artist for one season. Marie-Eve Huot becomes the sole artistic director of Le Carrousel.

She premieres Antigone sous le soleil de midi, a play that Suzanne Lebeau wrote for her. This production closes the 10-year circle of transmission with the co-founders of Le Carrousel.

In spring 2023, Le Carrousel, in collaboration with BRONKS | Théâtre jeune public (Brussels), presented Chœur battant / Beating Choir, choreographed by Zoë Demoustier with six teenage performers – three from Belgium and three from Québec.

This season, Marie-Eve Huot will bring to the stage Une petite fête – Cabaret de la dissidence as part of Le Carrousel’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations!

As always, there’s more to come …