Handy guide to Montréal's theatres
by Brendan Murphy
With two languages and more budding actors than it knows what to do with, Montreal is an epicenter for the performing arts. Just look at our festivals for proof! There are theatres for kids, for avant-garde performance, for Shakespearian classics and for crazy fun romps, in English, French and everything in between. Take your pick!
This small, multi-faceted, performance-based arts centre in the Gay Village puts on local shows, plays, performances, comedy acts, improv sessions, musical performances, film screenings and more, most days of the week. – 264 Sainte-Catherine Street East, 514-284-3939
Good eats nearby: Make it a greasy spoon night and grab a poutine and a couple of steamé hotdogs – a Quebec specialty – at La Belle Province, on the corner of Sainte-catherine and Saint-Laurent.
Montreal Arts Interculturels
This very artsy centre in the McGill Ghetto has a gallery on one side and a theatre on the other, where contemporary dance, performances, plays and solo shows are put on in the spirit of multicultural exploration. – 3680 Jeanne-Mance Street, 514-982-1812
Good eats nearby: Stop by for sweets after the show a few blocks away at Juliette & Chocolat on St-Laurent and Prince Arthur; they serve an unctuous hot chocolate, and their brownie is ooey gooey chewy.
Usine C, a beautiful and vast progressive arts and performance centre in the Gay Village presents a wide range of avant-garde shows, including dance, often with a new-media bent. – 1345 Lalonde Street, 514-521-4198
Good eats nearby: A few blocks away, Ô Thym is a stylish little BYOB that serves tasty French-inspired dishes. Try the half-smoked, half-cooked salmon with wakamé and couscous.
Segal Centre for Performing Arts
The Segal Centre for Performing Arts is dedicated to producing and presenting world-class professional English-language theatre. Their programming emphasizes original interpretations of popular classic and contemporary works, new Canadian musicals and engaging productions with universal appeal. The building that houses it was designed by Phyllis Lambert. – 5170 Chemin de la Côte-Ste-Catherine, 514-739-7944
Good eats nearby: Grab dinner before the show at the nearby Dev, a delicious South Indian restaurant known for its spiced corn bread served with saag.
The grungy loft vibe of the MainLine only adds to its sense of free-flowing creativity. HQ to the Montreal Fringe Festival, this is where you’ll find new productions and experimental performance projects with fun on the brain. – 3997 Saint-Laurent Boulevard, 514-849-3378
Good eats nearby: This part of the Main is replete with restos, but most notably near is Schwatrz’s – get a good greasy smoked meat sandwich before the show.
This pre-eminent English theatre in the city puts on innovative productions both local and international, for adults and, occasionally, for kids. They’re also specialists at translating Quebec playwrights’work into English. – 453 Saint-François-Xavier Street, 514-288-3161
This children’s theatre puts on productions that will entertain the whole family both in its space on the Plateau and for the road – the touring team travels over 20,000 miles every year! Geordie also has a theatre school for ages 6 to 17. –4001 Berri, suite 103, 514-845-9810
Good eats nearby: A few blocks away on St-Denis, take in some classic French bistro fare at the classic and chic L’Express – but reserve first!
This migratory theatre hibernates (sorry for the mixed metaphors) in the winter and revives in the summer to grace the city’s public parks with free performances of Shakespeare’s great works. – Productions are shown in a different park each summer, so follow their site to find out which.
Good eats nearby: Pick up a picnic!
Théâtre Outremont presents programming in film, music, theatre and puppetry for adepts of all ages, from posh grown-ups to snotty-nosed kids. – 1248 Bernard Street West, 514-495-9955
Good eats nearby: Le Petit Italien is a mainstay on Bernard, and the perfect place for a post-show nosh and glass of red. Try the duck confit ragu swerved on penne.
La Maison Théâtre
Dedicated to entertaining tots tall and small, La Maison Théâtre is ensconced in the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal building in Quartier Latin, putting on lavish productions of the latest in Franco theatre. – 245 Ontario Street East, 514-288-7211
Good eats nearby: Take the kids to a sushi lunch pre- or post-show at the St-Denis location of Mikado, among the city’s best places for maki.
This avant-garde theatre on the Plateau presents the latest cutting-edge Québécois theatre, with particular attention to female creators. – 4890 Saint-Laurent Boulevard, 514-845-4890
Good eats nearby: Grab a drink and a dish at Pub Sir Joseph next door: how about a dozen oysters, or bangers and mash with a local brew?
This Plateau theatre has dedicated entirely to presenting new works by Quebec and French-Canadian playwrights since the year after it was founded, in 1968. – 3900 Saint-Denis Street, 514-282-3900
Good eats nearby: Treat yourself to a meat-free feast at ChuChai, a comforting vegetarian Thai that has a knack for simulating the taste of chicken.
Théâtre du Nouveau Monde:
Right in the Quartier des Spectacles, this handsome theatre presents classic plays by the likes of Shakespeare and Alexandre Dumas alongside new work by Robert Lepage. – 84 Sainte-Catherine Street West, 514-866-8668
Good eats nearby: Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui itself runs one of the most popular eateries in the area, so stop by pre-show (upon reservation) for a good bottle and a steak-frites.
Théâtre du Rideau Vert
Founded 65 years ago, Théâtre du Rideau Vert has the lofty mandate of presenting allegirical representations of the human condition in an artful form. What that actually means is thought-provoking French-Canadian entertainment in a great St-Denis location. – 4664 Saint-Denis Street, 514 844-1793
Good eats nearby: Grab a great Greek meal at the friendly Ouzeri, renowned for its wine list as well as its lamb moussaka.
This theatrical thinking tank has been pushing the envelope for over 30 years and serves as a sort of community hub, educational centre and performance space. – 1945 Fullum Street, 514-521-3288
Good eats nearby: Pork lovers, stop by Ma Grosse Truie Chérie to feast on pork Wellington or the Quebec classic, stuffed pig’s hooves.
This exciting place multi-space venue is in constant evolution, dedicated to presenting the world’s best plays in French, both new and old and created by both emerging and established artists. – 1371 Ontario Street East, 514-526-6582
Good eats nearby: Au Petit Extra is a lovely French bistro nearby, with a changing menu offering options like beef tartare or rabbit in mustard sauce.
Théâtre La Licorne
In its two performance spaces, La Licorne presents plays both created in-house at its workshop, La Manufacture, and hosted from afar. The theatre’s focus is Quebec identity. – 4559 Papineau Avenue, 514-523-2246
Good eats nearby: Pop into Aiko Sushi on Mont-Royal for a couple of quick maki rolls before the play; they make a mean shrimp kamikaze.
Théâtre Jean Duceppe
This beautiful theatre in the Place des Arts complex produces five original plays a year. It is dedicated to contemporary theatrical visions and aims, above all else, at affecting its public on an emotional level. – 175 Sainte-Catherine Street West, 514-842-2112
Good eats nearby: Brasserie T! is an affordable glassed-in bistro on the Place des Spectacles itself, run by the folks of Toqué! Try their dill salmon with fennel salad.
Théâtre de Quat’Sous
Right on Pine Avenue in the Plateau, this high-design theatre is the most recent incarnation of among Montreal’s oldest theatres. It specializes in fun, high caliber, locally conceived plays that like to toy with the limits of theatricality. – 100 Des Pins Avenue East., 514-845-7277
Good eats nearby: Right on the corner of Pine and Saint-Laurent, discuss the show after with a beer and big bowl of noodles at Big In Japan, a popular izakaya.
Laure Juilliard, blogger
Laure is a writer, community manager and the founder of the blog Une Parisienne à Montréal. She’s also an epicurean globetrotter who’s always on the hunt for innovative concepts and must-try restaurants. In 2016, she co-founded Slow Journeys, a webzine that focuses on ecotourism and design.
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