English theatre shines in Montréal

Richard Burnett

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

Theatre goers will enjoy travelling Broadway musicals, feel-good dramas and comedies produced by some of Montréal’s most exciting professional and independent English-language theatre companies this Winter 2022.

This page was updated on December 21, 2021.

NOTE: Government and public health authorities recently announced new sanitary measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We strongly recommend that you call or consult the websites of the businesses mentioned in this article before making plans.

Safety measures at all Montréal theatres

Wearing a mask or face covering indoors is mandatory. Numerous measures have been put in place at all theatres to ensure the safety of visitors and employees, including government-mandated vaccine passports as of September 1. Safety precautions and directions for each theatre are listed on their websites. For more details on the current situation in Montréal, click here.

Musicals, comedy and drama!

Montreal’s two big English-language theatres – the venerable Centaur Theatre Company in Old Montréal, and the Sylvan Adams Theatre at the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts in the west end – offer varied programming.

Centaur Theatre

Centaur kicks off the New Year with the 25th edition of its Wildside Festival which runs from January 10 to 22. Rose Plotek, curator of Wildside three years running, has selected a total of four plays for the two-week festival of independent theatre: Deer Blood and HUSH will be presented at Centaur; and the La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines theatre, Centaur’s festival partner for the third consecutive year, will present 1, 2, Maybe 3 and Logic of the Worst.

Centaur also presents the English-language world premiere of Kisses Deep, written by legendary Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard, from January 25 to February 12. The drama tells the story of a young man who dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Channeling Yves Saint Laurent, his idol and muse, the young man sets out to right widespread rumours about his mother by designing the perfect outfit for her court appearance, following her arrest in a shocking public incident in the local mall. The all-star production marks the historic debut collaboration between two eminent Montréal theatre institutions: Centaur Theatre and Théâtre du Nouveau Monde which presented the original French version, Embrasse, last autumn. Another milestone: Centaur’s Artistic and Executive Director, Eda Holmes, is the director of both productions!

Segal Centre for Performing Arts

The not-for-profit Segal Centre for Performing Arts bounces back with a full slate of shows this winter.

Overflowing with their signature thought-provoking shtick and heimish kibitzing, co-creators Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion make their Segal theatre subscription debut with comedy, music, video and more surprises in a love letter to their hometown, in YidLife Crisis: Pandemish which runs for 10 performances only, from January 22 to 30.

The Segal then presents the world premiere of the Black Theatre Workshop production of Black and Blue Matters (February 20 to March 6), Omari Newton’s satirical and interactive Hip Hop musical that offers an honest and urgent examination of tension between police and marginalized communities.

The Segal winds down their mainstage season with One Night in April (May 1 to 22), an adults-only rock cabaret from Israeli superstar and two-time “Israeli Singer of the Year” Keren Peles. The production about a forbidden love affair leads to a deep dive into a woman’s mind where a battle plays out among her conflicting urges, embodied onstage by multi-talented performers, and her desire to break free of societal expectations. Using their mobile devices, the audience becomes an active part of the story and influences the course of the cabaret.

Bright lights on Broadway!

Evenko presents 8 performances of the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-winning Broadway production of Cats the musical at Salle Wilfred-Pelletier at Place des Arts, from March 8 to 13.

The New York City Off-Broadway hit FRIENDS! The Musical Parody plays for the first time in Montréal at Théâtre Maisonneuve, for two shows on February 27, at 4 and 8 pm. The musical comedy lovingly pokes fun at the iconic TV sitcom Friends, celebrating the adventures of the 20-something friends as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life and love in 1990s Manhattan.

The National Theatre School of Canada’s Graduating Class of 2022 presents the iconic musical Cabaret at the gorgeous and historic Ludger-Duvernay Theatre at the Monument-National, from February 22 to 26.

Children’s theatre

The ever-popular Geordie Theatre Festival (February 9 to 13) for ages 5+ presents staged readings in collaboration with the National Theatre School of Canada, as well as full mainstage productions of their acclaimed 2Play touring shows The Paper Bag Princess and Selfie, as well as activities for the whole family to enjoy curated by Geordie Theatre School, presented at La Maison Théâtre.

Geordie also presents two mainstage productions: Other Worlds (January 14 to 23) at La Maison Théâtre, and From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea (April 29 to May 8) at the Centaur Theatre.

Other Worlds (for ages 10+) is about a small island overrun by land developers, where two radically different strangers’ lives collide after an unexpected ecological disaster. A play about well-being, friendship and belonging, and the importance of community.

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea (for ages 7+) was written by celebrated author Kai Cheng Thom, about a child who can change into any shape they can imagine. The only problem is they can’t decide what to be: a boy or a girl? A bird or a fish? A flower or a shooting star? At school, though, they must endure inquisitive looks and difficult questions from the other children. But they find comfort in the loving arms of their mother.

Montréal, arts interculturels

Located in the Plateau-Mont-Royal, the innovative Montréal, arts interculturels cultural organization – better known as “The MAI” – presents an eclectic slate of multi-disciplinary productions this season, including Imago Theatre’s production of Foxfinder (January 20 to 29). Written by award-winning U.K. playwright Dawn King, the play is a haunting eco-parable exploring climate change and its impact on the psychology of fear and the human need for certainty.

Richard Burnett

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

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