Alexandra Vandelle, President of the Board of Directors and member of the selection committee, is pleased to announce the appointment of Joël Beddows as the new Artistic Director of Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT).
Beddows’ talent, professionalism and profound dedication to the arts garnered the respect of the selection committee during the rigorous selection process. Moreover, his experience not only as Artistic Director of Théâtre La Catapulte from 1998 to 2010 but also as Chair of University of Ottawa’s Department of Theatre from 2011 to 2016 substantiated the view that Beddows was indeed the perfect candidate for this position.
Over the past two decades, Beddows has pursued creative projects that lie at the crux of social critique, poetry and symbolism. Whether he is directing a new play, a text drawn from the canon, or a production destined for young audiences, he considers every project an opportunity for questioning our contemporary world and its rapport with imagination, history, and collective memory. Beddows’ work has received many distinctions and prizes. In 2004, Le Testament du couturier by Michel Ouellette received Québec’s Masque for Outstanding French-Canadian Production; a year later, he was honoured with the John Hirsch Prize for his innovative work as a director as well as a second Masque for Outstanding Production for Cette fille-là by Joan MacLeod. In 2006, the Capital Critics Circle named La Société de Métis by Normand Chaurette the best production of the season. In 2008, he received a Prix Rideau Award for Best Direction for The Empire Builders by Boris Vian; the following year he was recognized by l’Association des
théâtres francophones du Canada and the National Arts Centre of Canada with the French Embassy Marcus Prize in honour of his remarkable career. In 2010 he received a Prix Rideau Award for Best Direction for Swimming in the Shallows by Adam Bock, and in 2012 he received two additional Prix Rideau Awards for Best Direction for The Lavender Railroad by Lawrence Aronovitch and Frères d’hiver by Michel Ouellette.
As Chair of University of Ottawa’s Theatre Department from 2011 to 2016, Beddows instigated and oversaw the planning and construction of a new creation centre featuring a black-box theatre and four rehearsal studios situated in Ottawa’s Arts Court. He also helped to design what will soon be regarded as French Canada’s premiere conservatory acting program.
Finally, Beddows is widely published as an author. His edited collections include Les théâtres professionnels du Canada francophone: entre mémoire et rupture, co-edited with Hélène Beauchamp (Le Nordir, 2001; second edition by Prise de parole, 2014), and Histoire et mémoire au théâtre : perspectives contemporaines, co-edited with Louise Frappier (Presses de l’Université Laval, 2016). His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Jeu, L’Annuaire théâtral, Recherches théâtrales au Canada, Canadian Theatre Review, and Liaison.
The staff at TfT joins the Board of Directors in welcoming Joël Beddows whose dynamism, artistic talent, and theatrical expertise will be invaluable as the Théâtre français prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Joël Beddows succeeds Guy Mignault as Artistic Director of TfT as of July 4, 2016. Beddows’s full biography is available online at the following link.