The Théâtre des Petites Lanternes (TPL) stages creative and inclusive citizen participation projects. In the Eastern Townships, elsewhere in Canada and around the world, we initiate many forms of artistic collaboration, some of which are short-lived while others create longer-term partnerships. In Sherbrooke, we are assiduously pursuing our work to be an integral part of our city centre, and we contribute to developing its unique signature by promoting its artistic development. Firmly believing that the arts play a major role in the workings of society, the TPL team ensures that its creations contribute to people’s well-being.
To produce theatrical creations that bring people and audiences together around issues that raise questions and dialogue.
To unite the imaginations of artists and people and to promote collective well-being through the evolution and development of new theatrical practices in social art.
At the Théâtre des Petites Lanternes, the human condition is at the heart of our creations. We approach our work with sensitivity and kindness toward others. We want our actions to reflect this approach.
We are starting a brand-new project to listen to those who live around us, from all walks of life. Our partnerships develop through this give-and-take. This is the cornerstone of our creations.
Our company is curious. Curious to hear your stories and see our artists bring them to the stage, with a sense of our responsibility to do them justice; curious to take the long way around, that direction that clears new paths and opens new horizons; curious to feel the human pulse, to grasp different realities, to dare to face the emotions that take root and make way for experimentation.
Our methods are ambitious. We work hard, we work well and we work with pleasure! Every choice we make during creation is thought out and measured. Working together for the common good is demanding, but that is our mission.
Acknowledgement of the First Nations and their traditional territories
The Théâtre des Petites Lanternes acknowledges that its activities take place on the traditional, unceded territories of the Abenaki and Wabanaki Confederations. These traditional lands include the southeastern parts of Quebec, the western part of the State of Maine, and northern New England.
The Abenaki and the Wabanaki derive their terms w8bAn (light) and Aki (land), which mean people in the morning of or people of the East. Their cultural and linguistic family is Algonquian. Now established in Odanak and Wôlinak, these peoples are renowned for their basketwork, traditional dances, masks, totems and for establishing the first Aboriginal museum in Quebec.
The Théâtre des Petites Lanternes also recognizes the historical stigmatization of the first peoples of what is called Canada and the responsibility that we have as a society and as citizens to be actively engaged in the process of reconciliation. It is committed, through its various creative approaches, to promoting dialogue.
Rivers of Lights
Grande Cueillette des mots
The Théâtre des Petites Lanternes (TPL) was founded in Sherbrooke in 1998 by artists and people from different fields of the performing arts, as well as people from different sectors of civil society. Over the years, the creators who have gravitated around the TPL have constantly pushed their limits to find innovative ways to approach our engaged artistic practice and bring forth our works. Our first creation was Les Lanternes oubliées or Allegorie d'une planète en quête de Lumières.
Between 1998 and 2008, we created in situ artistic residencies in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Then, we started the TERRE project in Sherbrooke, which lasted seven years.
In 2005, an artistic residency with the Théâtre de l'Artifice in France proved to be decisive for our Theatre. Angèle Séguin and Sylvia Rolfe, Community Relations Director, got their inspiration to create the Grandes Cueillettes des Motsduring that period through their work with the company's team and its artistic director Christian Duchange. In 2007, Sherbrooke became the crucible for the research-creation and production of the first Grande Cueillette des Mots. This spawned the creative process that our company is now known for.
In late 2007 and early 2008, the TPL left 18 Wellington Street North and moved into the Centre des arts de la scène Jean-Besré. This research-creation and production facility offered by the City of Sherbrooke provides us with free administrative, rehearsal, storage and set- and costume-making space. This invaluable support will undoubtedly contribute to the TPL's research and development and to its national and international success. Our process for the Grande Cueillette des Motshas made it all the way to Brazil, Haiti, Lac-Mégantic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2012, the TPL created the position of General Manager and Kristelle Holliday was hired. Building on her experience, she took over the artistic direction of the Rivers of Lightfestival in 2015 and continued to design major transformative projects in the heart of downtown Sherbrooke, such as Quatre-Quartsand Les Lanternes vivantes. It is this work that led her to be appointed as Co-Artistic Director of the TPL in 2018, which strengthened the TPL’s artistic vision and contributed to its success.
In 2018, the TPL completed a three-year project, built in collaboration with Oxfam-Québec and the Réseau des femmes chrétiennes du Congo, around violence against women and girls. This project was developed in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. On the working group, the TPL collaborated with the Canadian Embassy, UN Women, UNICEF, UNFPA, the Cadre permanent de concertation de la femme congolaiseand the Alliance nationale des autorités traditionnelles du Congo, among others.
The Théâtre des Petites Lanternes bases its artistic foundations on the theatrical concept of connecting creation to the spectator's experience well before spectators see the play. As artists who are based in the city and closely involved with the community, we promote processes of creation and co-creation in line with the personal and collective experiences big and small of those around us. The sharing of these stories stimulates our imagination, inspires images and characters and challenges us in our dramatic choices through which we try to represent all the intimate aspects of humanity. That is why our creations are artistically, socially and spiritually engaged. Transported to the heart of people's lives around the world for 20 years, our creations question, provoke and encourage transformation. That's how our theatre creates meaning.
A word from the artistic director
At the Théâtre des Petites Lanternes, to create is to speak about the human experience as a whole. That's what we have chosen to express in our work. Thus, our creative act blurs the boundaries between art and everyday life, propelling our search for new ways of "saying." Our artistic creations are engaged and we make sure that they fit into this logic where the work raises questions and where the tension between individual aspirations and collective issues plays out.
We are interested in developing creative processes that take into account our contribution to the work and to the community, and that lead us to developing new ways of writing for the stage. We are committed to being inclusive. Each new creation takes us out of our comfort zone, and sparks a strategy of co-creation between the artists with whom we develop our productions and the communities we work with. This is how we advance our modes of creation and rethink our ways of meeting, speaking and cooperating with each other.
And, while maintaining our artistic quality, we also aim for our art to contribute to a better collective well-being.