Featuring a set of five theatre works and two post-show music series performances, January 16 to February 11 across Montreal in association with la Chapelle Scéne Contemporaines 

Centaur Theatre is thrilled about the in-person return of Wildside Festival 2023, featuring a thought-provoking collection of experimental artistry with five theatre works, curated by Rose Plotek. At its core, the festival is on a mission to support local artists and independent theatre work, creating a platform for experimentation and unique artistry that challenges traditional conventions surrounding mainstream theatre. In Centaur Theatres ongoing efforts to integrate cross-cultural conversations through theatre, Wildside Festival 2023 will present works across languages, January 16 – February 11 in theatres across Montreal.

Festival Curator Rose Plotek states; “With this year’s Wildside offering I am pleased to continue to introduce Centaur audiences to bold experimental theatre. This has always been what Wildside is at its core and it allows Centaur to encourage and support theatre creators from a great diversity of backgrounds in our community. It is a privilege to work closely with innovative artists that are creating unconventional theatre; theatre that challenges its audience and explores deeply personal yet worldly ideas and issues. We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with La Chapelle Scène Contemporaine for a fourth consecutive year.”  

To kick-off this year’s festival, Talisman Theatre will present the English premiere of David Paquet’s fierce dark comedy WILDFIRE. Follow three twisted triplet sisters with a toxic family heritage through a cycle of destruction, taking audiences on an unexpected emotional journey of ups, downs and laughs. Directed by Jon Lachlan Stewart and translated by Leanna Brodie, WILDFIRE will include French surtitles so that anglophone and francophone patrons can enjoy. (January 16 – January 28 at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines. Evenings at 7:30pm with additional ASL Performance Sat, Jan 28 at 3pm. A comedy as fiercely dark as any Greek tragedy.)

Proje(C)T; Les Bonnes, is an adaptation of the play Les Bonnes by Jean Genet, performed by a collective of talented young graduates from Concordia University. The play tells the story of Solange and her sister Claire, two maids, who begin working for a wealthy English Canadian from Westmount whom they call Madame, and during her absence, they find delight in imagining her murder. Unfortunately, their little ritual leaves its mark and then backfires.

This uniquely contemporary approach to the play will include trilingual dialogue (English, French and Spanish), and Proje(c)t: Les Bonnes will be accompanied by a post-show music series titled VICE VERSA on Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28. Travel to the Champs-Elysées and Beyond the Sea with VICE VERSA, a free bilingual music series celebrating English songs that you didn’t know were originally written in French. (By Troisième Espace Théâtre January 26 – January 29, Jan 26 to 28 at 7:30pm, Jan 28 & 29 at 3pm at Centaur Theatre. A trilingual adaptation (English, French and Spanish) of the play Les Bonnes by Jean Genet.) 

Halfway through the festival, Theatre For One will present two screenings of a series of short films based on theatre monologues. The screenings will be followed by a Q&A with artisans who worked on the films. In April 2023 there will be live performances of the same texts, facilitating conversations around those two approaches of screen and stage, examining the differences in artistry. (February 1 & 2 at 7:30pm at Centaur Theatre)

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Ukrainian invasion, Planting An Apple Tree is a new Ukrainian theatre work about a woman and her relationship to her land. Written as an immediate response to the war in Ukraine, this work will be staged by reputed experimental artists, Clare Coulter and Leslie Baker. Planting An Apple Tree will be accompanied by a one-night only music fundraiser on Friday, February 10. Come together and bear witness to Ukrainian resistance songs which were released in 2022, translated into English for the first time. Admission is free and any funds raised will be donated to Voices of Children and the Ukrainian Emergency Arts Fund. (Planting An Apple Tree by The Bakery will be performed at Centaur Theatre from February 8 – 11 at 7:30pm.)

Wildside Festival 2023 will conclude with the return of Confabulation: Me, My Selfie And I, Montreal’s showcase for true-life stories, featuring stories from first timers and veterans. Confabulation is a fun, unique stage experience sharing honest, thoughtful stories from the people that lived them, told without notes, props, or gimmicks. (February 11, at 9pm at Centaur Theatre.)  

The festival will also include a series of free music sessions inspired by the theatre works that precede them, curated by Sarah Segal-Lazar. Audiences are invited to come together and enjoy a series of translated post-show songs. 

Wildside Music Series:  

Vice Versa: Proje(c)t; les Bonnes; post show on January 27 – January 28 at Centaur Theatre. A free bilingual music series celebrating English songs originally written in French.   

Resistance Pop and Fundraiser; Post show performance after Planting an Apple Tree. February 10 at Centaur Theatre. Audience members are invited to come together and bear witness to 2022 Ukrainian resistance songs translated into English for the first time. 

Tickets: Regular: $25; Students under 30 and Seniors: $18. Season Subscribers, Cultural Workers & Arts Workers $20. To purchase tickets, please visit https://centaurtheatre.com/ or call the box office at (514) 288-3161. Ticket holders for Proje(c)t; Les Bonnes and Planting an Apple Tree are eligible for a $20* ticket for Wildfire at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines’ Box Office: 514-843-7738. Ticket holders for Wildfire are eligible for a $20 ticket Proje(c)t; Les Bonnes and Planting an Apple Tree at Centaur’s Box Office: 514-288-3161