TNO celebrates its 50th anniversary with a virtual show


‘What if, moé’ if I come from the North, ‘stie’ looks back on this spectacle of half a century ago

Language and culture are inextricably linked. Intertwined, even. But they are separated, and the discussion of this difference is central to a Franco-Ontarian identity and a new play celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first show that the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario has ever performed.

Whether you speak French or not, you can identify as a Franco-Ontarian because you were raised in the culture.

Raised in small pockets of culture in places like Tiny Township (Penetanguishene, Lafontaine and Perkinsfield) or in Ottawa, Hawkesbury and eastern Ontario. Especially if you were raised in Franco-Ontarian culture in the heart of the North.

To say it, let’s say in a colorful way, the French would say “Moé j’viens du Nord” stie. (“ Me, I’m from the north, ” it reads, followed by the aforementioned colorful language.)

In fact, it is the name of a play. The one that was played 50 years ago, in 1971.

“It was the beginning of this solidarity of francophones in Canada who were not in Quebec,” said Micheal (not a typo) Lemire, actor and writer. “We never had our own identity, until people started talking and playing pieces like the original ‘Moé j’viens du Nord‘ stie ‘.

It is for this reason that he is one of the co-creators of a new piece, “What if, moé’ssi j’viens du Nord, ‘stie”. (In English, the title is “What if I’m from the North”, but it’s more distant and more stimulating. In the sense of “What if I’m from the North.” Perhaps followed by “What it makes you?”)

The show will be a little different from your regular show, for pandemic reasons of course, and it will be available if you purchase your ticket before 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 9. Lemire says eight Laurentian University theater students – members of the now-canceled Francophone Theater program – and other professional comedians put on the show, which was then filmed by MotionArc Studios.

And while it’s a very different show, there are similar themes, Lemire says.

“It’s not the same show at all, however, this feeling of helplessness is the main theme of both pieces,” he said. “What about What if, if I’m from the North,” stie? Students in 2021 feel the helplessness (helplessness / helplessness) of literally everything that is happening, mental health, environmental issues, the division of society and politics, and I personally attack Laurentian.

It has also been a challenge for the artists, trying to rework their scripts and sets to work with the restrictions, as well as healing their alma mater’s issues.

“Lockdowns has been hectic, difficult, sad and just contrary to my nature as an actor,” said Lemire. “We live in a world of ‘constraints’ (constraints) as actors, and we never thought we had so many this year.

Lemire first wrote a play to be performed live, of course, but also outside. “I wrote a scene for a play that was going to be presented to about 50 people a night. I then had to give up and turn into a recorded performance due to the outdoor gathering restrictions. “

He rewrote the script, got excited about a new idea, but, again, “that idea had to be hit quickly because all performance centers had to close on April 1 due to the white braking zone. ’emergency.”

It was then that he found his way to create his piece for the show. “Then I said okay, give it up, ‘home performance’, beautiful scenery where I feel comfortable, and I just let the words speak. Take all the theatrical behind it, no more decor, just me, sincere, because that’s really what my play is, a super sincere monologue, a love letter, dedicated to Sudbury.

That’s not to say the adjustments were easy. “I had to completely change the scene on April 1 and my big beautiful wooden set had just been finished and was in the process of painting,” said Lemire. “I’m so sad that I won’t be able to show everyone how awesome it could have been, but the more deep script changes we made, the better the material. Imagine having to reanalyze your seven to ten minutes of lines, go scene by scene and adjust to the new “constraint” … It’s actually quite “rewarding” (rewarding) for a playwright to do that.

But the question remains: is the theater of the pandemic a theater?

“Even in the theater community, some are divided about this,” says Lemire. “I learned that the theater is an actor, a place, an action and an audience – be it one person or 1,000 people. The risks that the actors take in front of a live audience, the feelings that one feels, the tears that fall to the ground, that’s what theater is all about.

Lemire hopes the public will feel “A sense of appreciation for the work done. A sense of hope, for our future generations, with young people taking over. And simply, happiness. Help yourself to a good drink, be it chocolate milk or alcohol, sit back and listen.

You can purchase tickets by visiting the event ticket office until May 9th You will receive a link to view the point of sale.

Lemire adds, “We have decided to donate all proceeds from the show tickets to scholarships for current students in the theater program at a certain university in Sudbury. Help us support these young artists.

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative at It covers black, aboriginal, immigrant and francophone communities.


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