After a recruitment process that lasted more than four months, the Espace GO theater announced on Monday the appointment of Quebec author and director Édith Patenaude as artistic director and co-director general. A first five-year term – renewable once – which will begin in the 2024-2025 season.

Edith Patenaude said she felt a “shock of joy” upon hearing the news of her appointment.

“There was a form of relief, because I was really hoping for it,” she told La Presse. But I felt good, I felt willing, ready, in the right energy, with the right level of experience, with great affinities with GO and its mission, so I am delighted. »

Édith Patenaude obtained her diploma in acting from the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec in 2006. After performing in plays produced by her company, Les Écornifleuses, she stood out with her stagings of iShow and 1984, by George Orwell , among others. It was she who put together Gaz Bar Blues, an adaptation of the film by Louis Bélanger, An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen, Oil, by François Archambault and even Celestial Bodies by Dany Boudreault.

The hiring process, which spanned a period of four months, was particularly demanding. Eleven applications were submitted, six were called upon to prepare a dossier on their vision of the future of theatre.

“We engage in really deep reflections, says Édith Patenaude, fundamental in relation to what we believe would be happy for the rest of the theater, almost identity reflections, where we try to get to the heart of the vision what we want for the theatre. »

Ginette Noiseux, who directed the destinies of Espace GO alone for more than 35 years, did not participate in the selection process, entrusting the recruitment to a selection committee made up of four board members and eight artists from the scenic arts.

“The presence of the outgoing management can be an obstacle to the appointment of a candidate who wants to distance himself from this management, she told us, so I preferred to stay away. I also wanted it to be an open and transparent process, and I didn’t want to influence anyone. »

But when she learned that Edith Patenaude was the successful candidate, Ginette Noiseux admits to being “gone to cry”.

“I was really, really happy when I found out it was Edith. Firstly because she is a demanding designer, with a very articulate thought. And its spirit is part of Espace GO’s DNA. In her project, I understood that Edith would nurture the sovereignty and freedom of artists. She did not arrive with a concept where the artists had to fit into a box, but a project that would develop in dialogue and in curiosity with what moves, what emerges and seeks to express itself. »

Espace GO’s mission remains “the exploration of the imaginations of women artists”, recalls Ginette Noiseux.

“It’s the very roots of GO. It is the only theater that squarely affirms its need to feed the imagination of audiences, the collective imagination of stories that have often been invisible, of works that are unknown. In schools it remains a problem. There is still in the unconscious biases a strong conviction that public speaking relies on male figures. »

This mission, Edith Patenaude makes it her own. “What interests me is to be in search of words, voices, forms, from women, but also from hidden visions of the world, she tells us. I see the theater as being the space where we can let emerge, see, perceive, come into contact with what has been lived, but is forgotten, what exists, but which we refuse to see, or of our reflection in relation to the future, in a desire for premonition. I want to collaborate with artists who are on a singular quest for identity and who try to protect themselves from fashions, consensus and the desire to seduce. »

The 2023-2024 season, which will be announced in August, will therefore be Ginette Noiseux’s last, which will allow Édith Patenaude to plan the content of the next season calmly.

Édith Patenaude, who will nevertheless sign two productions during this year of transition – one at Espace GO, which will be announced within two months, and the other at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (TNM), Le père, by Florian Zeller – intends to continue directing once in post, whether at Espace GO or elsewhere.

As for Ginette Noiseux, following her last year at the helm of GO, she wants to return to work as a costume designer, but also perhaps offer master classes in the theater’s costume workshop, a question of transmitting expertise gained over the past 40 years. Finally, general co-direction will be provided by Édith Patenaude and Mayi-Eder Inchauspé.