Montréal Fall cultural calendar

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.

This article was updated on September 26, 2023.

Blockbuster museum exhibitions, classical music concerts, theatre and comedy are among the many live entertainment choices in Montréal this Fall 2023.



Some highlights of upcoming national and international tours:

October: The Wu-Tang Clan at Place Bell (October 2), Blue Rodeo at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier (October 4), English singer-songwriter RAYE headlines MTELUS the same night guitarist Andy Summers of The Police brings his Cracked Lens & a Missing String tour to Le National on October 6, Grammy-winning English singer-songwriter James Blake at the Olympia (October 10), The Mission UKThe Chameleons (UK)Theatre of Hate triple bill bring their already-legendary Déjà Vu Tour to the Fairmount Theatre (October 10), French rapper-singer Lomepal at Place Bell for two nights (October 11 and 12); a busy October 12 with folk legend Bruce Cockburn at the Gésu, cult icon Nick Cave at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, and Violent Femmes at MTELUS; Montreal hard-rockers Mobile with opening act We Are Monroe at Le National (October 13); Christine and the Queens at MTELUS and Kim Petras at the Olympia, both on October 15; British progressive metal band TesseracT at the Beanfield Theatre (October 17), Chromeo at MTELUS (October 19); the massive Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull & Ricky Martin superstar show at Bell Centre (October 20), the same night local hero Matt Holubowski headlines Le National; Godsmack at Place Bell (October 21); and the Montréal return of two music icons: Shania Twain at Bell Centre (October 25) and Bob Dylan at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier (October 29).

November: POP Montréal and The MAC co-present performance art group and punk rockers Pussy Riot who bring their Riot Days Tour to the Rialto Theatre on November 1.

Other November shows of note: pop diva P!nk (November 1 and 2) and 80s New Wave icons Depeche Mode (November 3) at Bell Centre, out American singer-songwriter LP (November 5) and French rapper Ninho (November 11) at Place Bell, Ivorian roots-reggae superstar Tiken Jah Fakoly at MTELUS (November 8), Montréal soul singer-songwriter Honarah at the PHI Centre (November 11),  The 1975 (November 17) and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers KISS (November 18) at Bell Centre, Big Wreck at the Beanfield Theatre (November 18), TOOL (November 19) and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (November 20) at Bell centre, English soprano Sarah Brightman at Place Bell (November 21), French hip hop duo Bigflo & Oli at Bell Centre (November 24), and Montréal homeboy Bobby Bazini at Théâtre Maisonneuve (November 24).

Also on November 24 at Club Soda, Billy Bob Productions presents Bang A Gong Montreal, a celebration of the glam rock era with an all-star cast of Montreal performers including Dawn Tyler Watson, Shane Murphy, Paul Cargnello, Howard Bilerman, TJ Plenty (Asexuals) and Jason Bajada, saluting the music and era that featured T. Rex, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Mott The Hoople, New York Dolls, Roxy Music, Queen, Alice Cooper and KISS.

December Pop idols the Jonas Brothers at Bell Centre (December 1), American dubstep DJ Subtronics at Place Bell (December 2), Canadian rockers The Glorious Sons (December 12) and Montréal indie rockers Half Moon Run (December 13) at MTELUS, and Swedish extreme metal band Meshuggah at Place Bell (December 16).



For those looking for dinner and a show under one roof, the city’s top soul and RnB musicians headline Le Balcon music hall and restaurant year-round. Regular headliners include music legends Freddie James, Kim Richardson, Dawn Tyler Watson and Michelle Sweeney.

Montréal’s premiere musicians and entertainers also headline live-music nightclubs Diese Onze and Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, both ranked by DownBeat magazine as two of the top jazz nightclubs on the planet. Both venues also have dinner menus.

Diese Onze also hosts the city’s premiere live hip-hop night, Le Cypher X, on the last Wednesday of each month.



The 12th edition of the multi-disciplinary arts Festival Phénomena takes place in various venues throughout the city from October 3 to 21.

Montréal burlesque legend Scarlett James welcomes international stars from the world of burlesque to the 13th edition of her Montréal Burlesque Festival at Club Soda on October 13 and 14.



The 15th edition of the Montréal Ska Festival runs from October 19 to 22 at Petit Campus. Headliners include Montréal ska legends The Kingpins on October 20.

Meanwhile, the MTL Punk Rock Flea Market will be held at Foufounes Électriques on October 15.

Known as North America’s World Music Summit, Mundial Montréal runs from November 14 to 17.

Quebec’s first film festival dedicated to documentaries, the 26th annual Montréal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) will take place in theatres from November 15 to 26.

Founded in 1987, Canada’s trailblazing Image+Nation LGBTQ+ film festival runs from November 16 to 26.

The 17th edition of the classical music Montréal Bach Festival runs from November 17 to December 3.



Montréal’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.


The first show of the Centaur Theatre’s 2023-24 season is playwright Drew Hayden Taylor’s alterNatives, an English-language revival of alterIndiens, a comedy of manners that shines a light on the cultural divides that still exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada, by bringing new life to a classic dramatic scenario – the dinner party gone wrong. Runs October 17 to November 5.


The Segal Centre for Performing Arts presents the Tony and Grammy-winning Broadway smash Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the inspiring true story of Carole King’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The show features some two dozen pop classics including “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Natural Woman.” Starring Tess Benger as Carole King. Runs October 15 to November 5.


The Segal also presents the world premiere of the Tableau D’Hôte Theatre production Mizushōbai (The Water Trade) by playwright Julie Tamiko Manning which explores the life of Kiyoko Tanaka-Goto, a Japanese picture-bride turned ‘underground’ businesswoman in 1930s British Columbia. The narrative marks a historic moment in Canadian theatre as it features an all-Japanese-Canadian female cast – including Montreal’s own Hanako Brierley making her professional stage debut – and the Montreal directorial debut of acclaimed Indigenous director Yvette Nolan. Runs October 10 to 22.

Then Segal presents Boy Falls From The Sky, the one-man show written by and starring Jake Epstein in a showbiz tell-all about “that guy from Degrassi” who starred in the US National Tours of Spring Awakening and American Idiot, played Spider-Man on Broadway, and starred in the original production Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. But dreams don’t always go as planned: via a series of entertaining and soul-baring stories and songs, Epstein shares the rejection, stage fright and heartbreak behind his seemingly successful career. Runs from November 19 to December 10.



MainLine Theatre presents their hugely popular annual remount of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show from October 19 to 31. Complete with live band. This will sell out, so buy your tickets early.

Click here for more Montréal English-language theatre this autumn.



The Danse Danse series has programmed 15 shows for its 26th season including:

ESSENCE to mark the half-century of Ballets Jazz Montréal, by choreographers Ausia Jones, Crystal Pite and Aszure Barton, at Théatre Maisonneuve from September 27 to 30.



Montréal-based Andrew Skeels, a rising star on the dance scene who has firmly established himself as a choreographer to watch. Skeels presents Past Rooms, a creation for seven dancers, at Cinquieme Salle from October 17 to 21.



Danse Danse also presents Jungle Book Reimagined by the Akram Khan Company, in which the star choreographer reframes Mowgli’s journey through the eyes of a young climate refugee, at Theatre Maisonneuve from November 1 to 4; and dancer-turned-choreographer Anne Plamondon whose New Creation is performed by a septet at Cinquieme Salle from November 14 to 18.

Over at the contemporary dance Agora de la danse in the Wilder Building, choreographer and dancer Alexandre Morin presents his solo piece Other Animals from October 25 to 28; and choreographer Katia-Marie Germain’s Mascarades features six women dancers in a work inspired by the codes of cinema and painting, from November 15 to 18.



Les Grands Ballets Canadiens welcome back choreographer Peter Quanz who has created a two-act neo-classical ballet based on the French literary staple and sentimental novel, La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils, at Salle Wilfred-Pelletier from October 19 to 28.

Flamenco dancers Raul Ortega and Rosanne Dion star in Flamenco Passion at Théatre Maisonneuve on October 13; and Authentic Flamenco, a critically-hailed production by the Royal Opera of Madrid, headlines the Rialto Theatre from November 10 to December 2.

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 (visual arts, dance and theatre) each season.

Highlights of the MAI’s current 25th season include composer Caroline Shaw and choreographer Vanessa Goodman’s collaborative performance installation Graveyards and Gardens (October 26 to 28); and the interdisciplinary Creatrix, a theatrical dance duet between Mona El Husseini and her mother, Hala Farahat, which interweaves improvisation, gestural interpretation and abstracting the Egyptian Baladi dance (November 29 to December 2).



The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal presents Charlie Chaplin’s first talkie The Great Dictator in the first North American screenings of its remastered version at the Maison Symphonique on October 18 and 19. The original soundtrack by Chaplin and Meredith Willson was restored by the guest conductor for the occasion, Timothy Brock.

Maestro Rafael Payare conducts the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and internationally-acclaimed violinist and OSM Concertmaster Andrew Wan in Andrew Wan and Beethoven’s Immortal Violin Concerto in three concerts at the Maison Symphonique on October 25 and 26.

Inspired by the album Histoires sans paroles - Harmonium symphonique, the OSM under the direction of conductor Dina Gilbert will perform High Mass at the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church from November 16 to 18.

Rafael Payare conducts the OSM and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Turangalîla-Symphonie at the Maison Symphonique on December 5 and 6.

After his highly-acclaimed first appearance at the Maison Symphonique in 2019, French conductor Hervé Niquet is back with the OSM to direct Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ on December 19.

For their 84th season, the Orchestre Classique de Montréal shines the spotlight on Ukraine’s rich musical heritage with Slava Ukraïni concert featuring a varied program spanning more than 200 years of classical works by renowned Ukrainian composers, at Pierre‑Mercure Hall on October 17. This will be Maestro Jacques Lacombe’s first appearance this season as the OCM’s new Artistic Director. The concert is a fundraiser for Ukrainian artists through the Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s “Aid for Artists” fund

The OCM then presents the concert version of the tango opera María de Buenos Aires at Pierre-Mercure Hall with mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah and baritone Clarence Frazer on November 23.

The OCM will also perform Handel’s Messiah in the crypt of Saint Joseph’s Oratory on December 13 and 14. Get your tickets early, these OCM concerts always sell out.

The Orchestre Métropolitain’s artist-in-residence for the 2023-24 season, Austrian virtuoso Andreas Ottensamer will conduct a Romantic repertoire accompanied by French clarinet poet Pierre Génisson, in From Soloist to Maestro at the Maison Symphonique on October 13.

Under the baton of Elim Chan, a young female conductor with international star power, the OM performs One Thousand and One Drums at the Maison Symphonique on November 3.

Grammy-winning Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the OM performing Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 in The Leningrad Symphony at the Maison Symphonique on November 18.

There are some 100 concerts presented by Bourgie Hall this season, with half its programming including Québec or Canadian artists, in addition to more than 60 additional concerts by guest presenters. Highlights include pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, winner of the Leonard Bernstein Award (October 10); mandolinist Avi Avital (October 12); Montréal drag legend Barbada & the Musicians of the OM will present three musical tales for children aged 5+, told by Barbada in French to a soundtrack created by musicians of the Orchestre Métropolitain (November 12); Maria Callas at 100! musical tribute to one of the greatest operatic singers of all time (December 2); and pianists Rafael Zaldivar and Jean-Michel Pilc, two leading figures of jazz, will improvise and revisit standards with a touch of Afro-Cuban flair, in Two Jazz Pianos (December 7).

The 17th edition of the classical music Montréal Bach Festival runs from November 17 to December 3. There are more than 30 concerts programmed this year. The opening concert is conductor Reinhard Goebel with the Orchestre du Festival Bach Montréal and pianist Schaghajegh Nosrati at the Maison Symphonique on November 17.

The Orchestre de l’Agora launches its 10th season with L’incoronazione di Poppea at Pierre-Mercure Hall on November 18 and 19, their seventh collaboration with the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. Then on November 29, the OA performs Le Voyage Éphémère as part of the Festival Bach Montréal, at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul



The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts in the Golden Square Mile presents the major touring exhibition Marisol: A Retrospective, the most comprehensive survey devoted to the groundbreaking artist (1930-2016). In addition to Marisol’s canonical works from the 1960s and 1970s and later projects, this retrospective includes examples of the artist’s source materials, sketches, studies and personal photographs to further illuminate her working methods, life and times. Runs from October 7 to January 21, 2024.



The Pop of Life! Pop Art in the Collection of the MMFA showcases iconic works of Pop Art from the Museum’s collection, including creations that have rarely or never been shown. The exhibition brings together installations, sculptures, paintings, textiles, drawings and prints by Canadian artists associated with the Pop movement, such as Pierre Ayot, Edmund Alleyn and Joyce Wieland, alongside their international contemporaries, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Eduardo Paolozzi. Runs to March 24, 2024.

The PHI Foundation in Old Montréal presents the JOUEZ/PLAY solo exhibition by Argentinian-born artist Rirkrit Tiravanija who is widely recognized as one of the most influential artists of his generation. His work defies media-based description as it combines traditional object making, public and private performances, teaching, and other forms of public service and social action. Runs from November 3 to March 10, 2024.



The Velvet Terrorism: Pussy Riot’s Russia “anti-exhibition” at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal – widely known as The MAC (or “Le MAC” in French) – is Pussy Riot’s first survey exhibition, originally presented at Kling & Bang, an art space in Reykjavik. Famed for protesting Vladimir Putin and tyranny in Russia, the feminist collective produces performances, music and videos characterized by provocative, politically-charged lyrics and actions. Maria Alyokhina, creator of this exhibition, and other Pussy Riot members have been imprisoned and repressed in Russia. A North American premiere, this exhibition brings together the last ten years of Pussy Riot’s activism, documenting their actions and the punishments meted out by authorities. Runs from October 25 to March 10, 2024.



POP Montreal and The MAC co-present Pussy Riot live in Montréal; they will bring their Riot Days tour to the Rialto Theatre on November 1.

All MAC contemporary art exhibitions are presented at the MAC’s temporary location in the Place Ville Marie shopping mall during the museum’s current $57-million renovation. The new MAC will open in 2025. 

Click here for tickets and directions.



Filmed during NASA missions, the blockbuster immersive exhibition Space Explorers: THE INFINITE teleports visitors virtually 400 kilometres above Earth onto the International Space Station for an unforgettable journey into space. Wearing VR headsets, visitors experience life on the ISS as if you are really there, thanks to free-roaming virtual reality which gives visitors amazing access to personal moments filmed in cinematic 3D, 360° format by the eight astronauts who live on board. Space Explorers: THE INFINITE is located in the Old Port next door to the Montreal Science Centre. Children under 8 not admitted. Runs to next January 7, 2024.



After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italian-born master-glassmaker, painter-decorator, and fresco painter Guido Nincheri moved to Montréal in 1914, becoming the most prolific religious artist in Canada during the 20th century. Known as Canada’s Michelangelo, Nincheri (1885-1973) is celebrated in the Du profane au sacré exhibition at the Château Dufresne museum and historical site to mark the 50th anniversary of his passing. The temporary exhibition displays some 40 selected original works, archival documents, artefacts, and a video. Runs to June 30, 2024.



The Becoming Montreal: The 1800s Painted by Duncan exhibition displays more than 100 watercolours by James Duncan who documented the colonial city’s 19th century evolution during a remarkable 50-year career, producing panoramic views that predate the invention of photography. This first retrospective of Duncan’s work reintroduces the public to a painter who was quickly forgotten after his death. Visitors will recognize many of the landmarks captured in his paintings.

The McCord has also published the exhibition’s superb accompanying book James Duncan (1806-1881) – Painter of Montreal, the first monograph dedicated to Duncan, giving the painter his just due at long last. The exhibition runs to April 21, 2024.

Click here for more Montréal museum exhibitions.



Disney On Ice presents nine performances of Find Your Hero at the Bell Centre from October 5 to 9.

The Botanical Garden’s annual Gardens of Light pathway runs until October 31.



The children-friendly permanent exhibitions at the Montréal Science Centre in the Old Port of Montréal are all open, while its IMAX cinema screens films for all ages, including Animal Kingdom 3D: A Tale of Six Families. Click here for the screening schedules of the latest films. 

Children of all ages can also discover new worlds at Montréal Space for Life, the largest natural-sciences museum complex in Canada which comprises the Botanical Garden, Planetarium, Biosphere, famed Biodôme and Insectarium. Purchasing fixed-time tickets online is highly recommended.  

The Botanical Garden’s annual Gardens of Light pathway runs until October 31.



The only presenter specializing in contemporary circus in North America, La TOHU presents three shows this fall: NYX, a dreamlike journey by Johanne Madore and Collectif Chimère (October 25 to 29); White Gold by the Cambodian troupe Phare Circus which follows an individual and his community as they balance the demands of the modern world, community and Buddhist teachings of moderation (November 22 to December 1); and Camping by Théâtre à Tempo who via theatre, dance, music and humour explores why vacationers return to the same campground summer after summer, generation after generation (December 13 to 31).

Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal runs at the Bell Centre from December 21 to 31.

Montréal is the circus hub of North America. For the latest Montréal circus arts and concert news, click here.




The 52nd edition of the Festival du nouveau cinéma will screen more than 100 features from 57 countries from October 4 to 15. The opening film on October 4 is the Canadian premiere of La Passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Pot-au-Feu) by Trần Anh Hùng who won the best director award at Cannes 2023. The closing film is Le Règne animal (The Animal Kingdom) with two screenings on October 14 and 15.



The acclaimed the documentary feature 299 Queen Street West will be screened at the Rialto Theatre on October 17 on The MuchMusic Experience Tour. With unprecedented access to the MuchMusic archives, the two-hour doc tells the story of the meteoric rise of MuchMusic, highlighting its beginnings as a scrappy Canadian television upstart. After the screening, there will be a live Q&A with iconic MuchMusic VJs and the film’s director Sean Menard.

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal presents Charlie Chaplin’s first talkie The Great Dictator in the first North American screenings of its remastered version at the Maison Symphonique on October 18 and 19. The original soundtrack by Chaplin and Meredith Willson was restored by the guest conductor for the occasion, Timothy Brock.



Celebrating 25 years, The Rocky Horror Picture Show Halloween Ball returns to the Imperial Cinema for six uninhibited shows, from October 26 to 28, with screenings at 7 pm and 11 pm nightly, with massive audience participation. There is a new MC this year guiding the crowd: the fabulous Peaches LePoz (a.k.a. Jordan Arseneault). Montreal’s Halloween Ball is the largest RHPS event in North America. Let’s do the Time Warp again!

For its 29th edition, the CINEMANIA film festival screens more than 100 of this year’s best Francophone movies (many with English subtitles) at various theatres from November 1 to 12. Switzerland is this year’s country of honour.

Quebec’s first film festival dedicated to documentaries, the 26th annual Montréal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) takes place in theatres from November 15 to 26. At the RIDM, following its premiere at the Locarno Film Festival and its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Mademoiselle Kenopsia, the latest film by Denis Côté, will be presented to Quebec audiences for the first time on November 21 at the Cinémathèque québécoise. The film will be accompanied by a masterclass by Côté who will share his outlook on cinema.

Founded in 1987, Image+Nation is Canada’s first LGBTQ+ film festival which continues to play a trendsetting role within the larger festival circuit. Over 11 days, this year’s 36th edition will screen and stream more than 100 features, documentaries and acclaimed short films from around the world, from November 16 to 26.

The Parc at Midnight series continues on weekends at Cinéma du Parc in the great tradition of the famed rep-house “midnight movies” of the 70s. Check listings here first for all updates.



The IMAX cinema at the Montréal Science Centre in the Old Port screens films for all ages, including Animal Kingdom 3D: A Tale of Six Families. Click here for the screening schedules of the latest films. 

The Society for Arts and Technology – called The SAT by locals – presents Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon in their Satosphere to October 27. Shows are at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm and 9:15 pm. Click here to book tickets.




Paragraphe Bookstore, Penguin Random House of Canada, and the CSL Public Library present an afternoon with 1970s Montreal Canadiens goalie Ken Dryden, Roy MacGregor, and R.H. Thomson at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium on October 29. Tickets include a $5 coupon towards the purchase of one of their featured books: The Class by Ken Dryden, Paper Trails by Roy MacGregor and By the Ghost Light by R.H. Thomson. Only books purchased at the event will be signed. No memorabilia.

The 46th edition of the Salon du livre de Montréal runs from November 22 to 26, featuring salons, roundtable discussions, literary debates and public readings with renowned and emerging authors.

Lectures LOGOS Readings is a series of monthly multicultural readings hosted by award-winning author H. Nigel Thomas and renowned human rights advocate Maguy Métellus at the UNIA Hall in Little Burgundy.


RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni, Season 15 runner-up Anetra headlines Cabaret Mado on October 11.

Montreal drag queens Prudence, Marla Deer, Tracy Trash and Lana Dalida will reprise their roles as (respectively) Rose Nylund, Dorothy Zbornak, Blanche Devereaux and Sophia Petrillo as they lip sync two episodes of the classic sitcom The Golden Girls at Cabaret Mado on October 18. These hilarious shows always raise the roof!


Led by drag legends Michel Dorion and Rita Baga who were inspired by successful American, British, and Australian drag conventions, Rendez-vous de la drag, the first predominantly Francophone drag-culture convention, takes place October 28 and 29 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Montréal drag legend Barbada & the Musicians of the OM presents three musical tales for children aged 5+, told by Barbada in French to a soundtrack created by musicians of the Orchestre Métropolitain at Bourgie Hall on November 12.

Rita Baga headlines MTELUS with her Créature show on November 22.

The Jinx & DeLa Holiday Show starring RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar alum BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon headlines the Olympia on November 23 and 24.

Montréal is one of the drag capitals of the world. Located in The Village, drag icon Mado Lamotte’s Cabaret Mado and Michel Dorion’s classic Bar Le Cocktail both book the best drag performers in the city nightly. Both venues are also two of the most popular nightclubs in The Village.



Scottish comic superstar Danny Bhoy headlines the Olympia on October 21.

Australian comedy sensation Josh Thomas headlines Club Soda on November 26.

Legendary comic superstars Steve Martin and Martin Short co-headline their You Won’t Believe What They Look Like Today! show at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier on November 30. Martin and Short’s chemistry and timing onstage reflects a friendship forged over three decades.

Support local, national and international comics at The Comedy Nest nightclub located in the historic Montréal Forum.

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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