Théâtre de la Vieille 17 is a professional theatre company that creates, produces and tours French-language theatre productions for adults and children.
Théâtre de la Vieille 17 is a theatre company dedicated to new works. It is rooted in the Ontario Francophone community and open to the world; a crossroads where adult and youth theatre come together. The company provides a forum for addressing current issues and the urgent preoccupations of the society we live and work in, as a way of nourishing discussion and reflection. Sharing its performances, and the skills and talent of its artists, provincially, nationally and even internationally, is an integral part of its mandate.
La Vieille 17 is above all a space for research and exploration over time, free from the pressure of immediate production. It fosters multigenerational encounters between theatre artists from here and elsewhere, so that various ideas, influences and experiences can come together in projects that stretch their horizons.
Convinced that art and theatre are an integral part of community life, the company develops community arts projects that offer an opportunity to create art and build self-esteem. Since 1999, La Vieille 17 has also been fully invested in La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins, a Francophone theatre centre which it shares with three other resident founding companies, Théâtre du Trillium, Vox Théâtre and Théâtre Catapulte.
Théâtre de la Vieille 17 seeks to move people through action, entertain through interaction and stimulate reflection through dialogue.
Ever since it was founded in September 1979, the Théâtre de la Vieille 17 has been recognized as one of Canada’s leading sources of new works in French, where adult and youth theatre go hand in hand. Whether performed at La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins, Ottawa’s Francophone theatre centre, across Ontario, at major theatre festivals or abroad, La Vieille 17’s productions have left their mark on the hearts and imaginations of its audiences.
Established along old Highway 17 (between Ottawa and Montréal) by Robert Bellefeuille, Roch Castonguay, Jean Marc Dalpé, Lise L. Roy and André Sarazin, later joined by Hélène Bernier, Anne-Marie Cadieux and Vivianne Rochon, the company shook up the town of Rockland for four years before moving to Ottawa. Although its initial purpose was to provide an outlet for young theatre artists seeking to confirm their identity, La Vieille 17, under the direction of Robert Bellefeuille, shifted its focus to young audiences, before turning to the development of socially relevant productions for adult audiences. In 2006, Esther Beauchemin took the reins of the company and reaffirmed a vital need to speak out freely, bringing her keen interest in social issues and her deep commitment to direct artistic action with the Francophone communities of Ottawa and Ontario. In July of 2020, Geneviève Pineault took the helm as the new Artistic Director.
La Vieille 17’s productions have contributed to the growing influence of Franco-Ontarian theatre and to the rise of talented artists who perform in Canada and even internationally. Several of its new works have been a resounding critical and popular success, and have received awards. Beyond its work of creating and touring, the company has become known for school and community arts projects, such as Tassez-vous, on joue!, Terre d’accueil, Lire et Délire, and more recently, Les Haut-parleurs. These innovative and community-driven activities have allowed thousands of participants of all ages and origins to express themselves and create art with the help of professional artists in their community.
After forty years, Théâtre de la Vieille 17 still holds a leading place in French-language theatre in Canada thanks to over seventy original theatre productions written and created by hundreds of dedicated artists; several thousand performances given to nearly a million audience members of all ages in Ottawa, across the country and internationally; and community arts projects involving thousands of participants.
Un conte de l’apocalypse, by Robert Marinier
Outstanding Male Performance nomination (Roch Castonguay), Prix Rideau Awards (2020)
Outstanding Design nomination (Martin Dawagne – Sound), Prix Rideau Awards (2020)
Le cheval de bleu, by Marcel Cremer
Outstanding Director (Milena Buziak), Prix Rideau Awards (2019)
Outstanding Design (Benoît Brunet-Poirier – Lighting), Prix Rideau Awards (2019)
Outstanding Male Performance nomination (Jonathan Poulin-Desbiens), Prix Rideau Awards (2019)
Emerging Artist nomination (Jonathan Poulin-Desbiens), Prix Rideau Awards (2019)
Et voilà encore un beau dimanche de passé!, by Philippe Dorin
Outstanding Design (Loïc Lacroix Hoy – Set Design), Prix Rideau Awards (2017)
Outstanding Design (Marianne Thériault – Costume), Prix Rideau Awards (2017)
Oustanding New Creation (Philippe Dorin), Prix Rideau Awards (2017)
Un vent se lève qui éparpille, by Jean Marc Dalpé
Outstanding Female Performance nomination (Annick Léger), Prix Rideau Awards (2016)
Outstanding Design nomination (Gabriel Tsampalieros – Set Design), Prix Rideau Awards (2016)
Quand la mer…, by Esther Beauchemin
Outstanding Design (Christian Fontaine – Set Design), Prix Rideau Awards (2015)
II (Deux), by Mansel Robinson, translation by Jean Marc Dalpé
Outstanding Male Performance (Jean Marc Dalpé), Prix Rideau Awards (2013)
Maïta, by Esther Beauchemin
Christine-Dumitriu-Van-Saanen Award, Salon du Livre de Toronto (2002)
Translation grant, Banff Playwrights Colony (2005)
Zof Partnership Award (2005)
L’Homme invisible/The Invisible Man, by Patrice Desbiens
Best Theatre Production Award, Capital Critics Circle (2005)
Lucky Lady, by Jean Marc Dalpé
Honorable mention, Le Droit Theatre Awards (1995)
Le Nez, by Robert Bellefeuille and Isabelle Cauchy
Chalmers Award for best youth theatre play (1984)
Honorable Mention, Le Droit Theatre Awards (1995)
Théâtre de la Vieille 17 is a French-language theatre company. Although we are pleased to offer certain performances of our adult productions with English surtitles, so that more people can enjoy Francophone theatre, certain sections of this site are not available in English. We apologize for any inconvenience.