FTA Festival TransAmériques Montreal

Re:INCARNATION Grand théâtre de Fourvière, June 5 & 6

Festival TransAmériques is bringing sensational performance art to Montreal in May

Check out our highlights of FTA 2022, which takes over local theatres from May 25–June 9.

Montreal’s international performance art event Festival TransAmériques (FTA) is gearing up for a major return in 2022 after two years of travel bans and other pandemic restrictions.

“The 16th edition of Festival TransAmériques explores where our world is headed. It marks the return of a full line-up of international programming following a two-year wait,” said the joint artistic directors Martine Dennewald and Jessie Mill and executive director David Lavoie.

This year’s FTA, running from May 25 to June 9, will include 23 works of dance and theatre performed by artists from 18 countries. This includes seven world premieres and nine North American premieres.

Most shows are presented in at least two languages with subtitles in French and English for international languages, and most include English subtitles for French content and vice-versa. 

Festival-goers have many intriguing events to choose from that explore a variety of themes, but two recurring themes are getting extra attention, with a day of special programming planned for each. 

One is about water. As the schedule announcement reads: “Water Day will interrogate our relationship to water as an essential resource, an ecosystem, a living space.”

One show to look out for that explores the theme of water is La conquête du béluga, a production by Gaspésian performers created by multidisciplinary artist Maryse Goudreau and Théâtre À tour de rôle. The show is made up of snippets of 150 years of beluga legislation discussion in Canada’s House of Commons, and it will take place mornings and evenings by the St. Lawrence River on Clock Tower Beach.

Another associated production is Dans le ventre de la baleine, an immersive sonic and tactile experience for one viewer at a time, also created by Goudreau. It is free and open to all, presented at the Quartier général in UQAM’s Cœur des sciences.

A noteworthy event in the Water Day programming is a conversation with Kanien’kehà:ka artist Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde and others from her community of Kahnawake. The conversation will explore the reclamation of stewardship to Indigenous land and water, and introduce listeners to the devastating consequences the St. Lawrence Seaway’s construction had on this community on the South Shore. It will also be at the Quartier général.

Festival TransAmériques Montreal FTA 2022
Qaumma. Photo by Vinnie Karetak (FTA 2022)

Then there is Indigenous Creation and Languages Day. 

“This year marks the start of the United Nations’ International Decade of Indigenous Languages. What can the performing arts do to stimulate the vitality of the languages of Kanata and elsewhere?” reads the announcement. 

To celebrate, Indigenous artists Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, Émilie Monnet and Nancy Saunders (Niap) are invited to discuss the Indigenous languages with which they create their art. Barbara Fillion from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO will discuss her work with Indigenous communities to preserve and revitalize their languages. 

In terms of international programming, there is no shortage of shows to choose from. 

Keep an eye out for Re:Incarnation, a celebration of Nigerian culture both past and present with 10 dancers from Lagos, Nigeria. Another one to watch is Altamira 2042, a futuristic eco-feminist interactive installation exploring the Xingu River in Brazil and the River people displaced by the construction of the Belo Monte Dam. 

And for professionals in the performing arts, some events are on the schedule just for you. FTA Clinics, workshops and a discussion about eco-friendly costumes are just some of the events put on for professionals. 

Finally, people with neurological and/or anxiety disorders as well as families with young children are welcome to attend one performance of Save the last dance for me and four performances of Qaumma. These performances will be adapted to foster a calm and inclusive environment, and noise and movement during the performance will be allowed. ■

This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue of Cult MTL.

For more information on FTA, visit the festival’s website.

For more Montreal arts coverage, please visit the Arts & Life section