Scotland/Québec cultural relations celebrations

On 8 March 2012, International Women’s Day, Stellar Quines and the Québec Government in the UK hosted a pre show reception and post show drinks around the performance of ANA that evening at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh.

Thanks to the Québec Government in the UK for the pre show reception and thanks the British Council in Québec for post show drinks.

Stellar Quines Scottish/Quebec cultural relations celebration

From left to the right: Linda Crooks, Executive Producer Traverse Theatre; Clare Duffy co-writer ANA, Muriel Romanes, Artistic Director Stellar Quines; Pierre Boulanger, Agent General Québec Government Office UK; Fiona Hyslop, MSP Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs; Maude Laflamme, Québec Government Office UK; Orla O’Loughlin, Artistic Director Traverse Theatre and Graham Sheffield, Director Arts British Council.

Photograph: Marc Marnie

Doubling up in style

Neil Cooper of The Herald writes:

These are interesting busy times for Scottish theatre company Stellar Quines.

They are, as you read this, in the midst of premiering Ana, a new bilingual play by Scots writer Clare Duffy and Quebecois playwright Pierre-Yves Lemieux. Co-produced with French-Canadian company, Imago, Ana opened last Tuesday night at Theatre Epace Go in Montreal prior to a Scottish tour in spring 2012.

On the face of it there is nothing unusual about any of this.


Byron Toben of the Charlebois Post writes:

After the world premiere opening of the wonderful, thought-provoking play ANA at Espace Go, I wisecracked that it should be subtitled Six Annas in Search of their Mother.

Later, reading director Serge Denoncourt’s program notes, I was gratified to see that he also paraphrased Pirandello to describe the show. The co-authors, Clare Duffy of Scotland and Pierre Yves Lemieux of Montreal spent three years working up a script based on a concept by Clare Schapiro of Montreal and Muriel Romanes of Scotland.

The Charlebois Post also interviewed Pierre-Yves Lemieux, one of the writers of ANA, you can see the interview here.

Muriel’s Montreal Diary – entry one

Muriel Romanes is the Artistic Director of Stellar Quines Theatre Company. Muriel has been developing Ana for over five years and is currently in Montreal for the rehearsals and opening of the show.

I travelled from Edinburgh to Montreal two weeks ago to be here for the rehearsals and opening of ANA.

We have had wonderfully sunny cold autumn days with the trees luminous yellow and carmine with the changing season, the city is looking really beautiful.

Autumnal tree in Montreal

A glimpse of Montreal's striking autumn colours

I have a very strong sense that there is a synergy between Scotland and Quebec. As I re-walk the streets I sense similarities but maybe I am dreaming it up and a left over memory from 21 years ago with the Scots translation of Michel Tremblay’s texts is ringing in my ears.

The Scottish team have settled into their apartments and are beginning to get to know this amazing city. We attended a production of Il Campiello directed by Serge Denoncourt and there are invites to a Halloween party and other theatre visits. The business of learning lines goes on at a pace and last week the play was blocked around 6 huge towers which form the set.

Part of the set for Ana

The beginnings of ANA's set

Some of the Canadian actors are working on other projects at the same time and are not always available for rehearsals – this is a very different way of working which enables actors to earn a better living by being able to work in TV, film and other more lucrative jobs at the same time. Certainly the productions here have much longer rehearsal periods but also periods of gestation between blocks of rehearsal.

I saw the first run through of the second half of ANA last night and feel very heartened by what I saw. This piece is a true hybrid and it is very exciting to watch the text unfolding in French, English, Spanish and Italian with all the different richness that these vernaculars bring. I am always surprised by the way in which the sounds in language often convey as much meaning as the text itself – this is a trifle of delights.

Stellar Quines has had a strong relationship with Quebec theatre over the past few years. And we always looking at other female playwrights here in Canada, as well as promoting the work of Scottish female playwrights in Quebec. We wish to continue our relationships in Quebec and Canada and build new alliances in the future to enable more women’s voices from Canada and Scotland to be heard internationally. The experiences of this production will help to further develop a better understanding of the diversity of world theatre and the development of the creative skills of all our artists.

Clare Schapiro and I are trying to learn the art of subtitling, which is enormously complex, not only do we have to put the English into French and visa versa, we have to edit the text to make it concise and take the audience through a journey that enables them to understand without being fixed on reading subtitles.