The Quebec Drama Federation exists to support English-language theatre companies, artists and their artistic expressions in Quebec. This support manifests itself through leadership, collaborations with partners and stakeholders in the community, promotion of the artists and companies, professional development and identification of the role of theatre in the community at large. It also provides resources and means through which success and recognition of English-language theatre companies and artists in Quebec, to the rest of Canada and on an international scale, is achieved.
Who are our members? Individuals involved in theatre in Quebec as well as interested people from outside Quebec: Actors, Playwrights, Directors, Designers, Stage Managers, Technicians, Administrators, Educators & Students. Professional Theatre companies, Independent Theatre companies, Community Theatre companies & Training Institutions, Acting/Casting Agents and Service Organizations.
What does QDF do? Represents and lobbies on behalf of companies and individuals involved in English-language theatre to government agencies, arts organizations, and community groups at all levels. Develops new audiences by promoting English-language theatre to the general public, the tourism sector, and the arts community itself. Creates a network for its members and provides them with specialized resources to facilitate career and creative development in all aspects of theatre arts.
The 1970s: The Festival
The Quebec Drama Festival was founded in 1972 as a result of the vacuum created by the collapse of the Dominion Drama Festival. In its first three years, QDF was a competition event for full-length plays. In spring of 1975, QDF produced two annual festivals: a fall community festival and a spring festival of one-act Canadian plays. In 1978, QDF decided to alter its methods and to produce a festival with professional guest directors.
The 1980s: The Federation
In 1981, QDF produced another one-act festival at the Centaur Theatre, which in fact became its last of this sort. In the fall of 1985, the Quebec daily “La Presse” published an article announcing that English theatre in Quebec was practically dead. In response, an open meeting was held for Montreal’s professional theatre artists. This first “Colloque” resulted in the creation of a standing committee, who prepared and circulated a brief on the situation to all levels of government, helping QDF to receive funds to hire its first full-time Executive Director in 1987. In June 1989, the reconstituted organization changed its name to the Quebec Drama Federation.
The Coalition QDF’s 1991 Annual General Meeting created the appointment of a Board of Directors, largely made up of active theatre professionals. QDF immediately undertook lobbying activities which resulted in a 1992 policy paper which stipulated that the Quebec Government acknowledges the contribution of English-speaking Quebecers to Quebec’s culture and will, consequently, strengthen its support for the development of their heritage and its support for English-speaking artists and English-language cultural organizations in conjunction with its regular programs?. In 1994, QDF revived the coalition of English-Language Arts Organizations and helped to create the Quebec Community Groups’ Network (QCGN). By 1995, QDF became the first arts group of 13 English-language groups to sign a four-year agreement with the Department of Canadian Heritage, solidifying QDF in its position.
2000 to the present: A New Focus
The beginning of the millennium marked a new chapter in QDF’s long history with a renewed focus and energy. New initiatives were started such as professional development workshops, a new layout of the Theatre Calendar, research reports on the feasibility of new production spaces for English-language theatre artists and the realities of the needs of the English-speaking communities in the regions of Quebec, to name only a few.
Recently new initiatives have been taken in the development of auditions for graduating students and generals for the main community, a communications committee composed of members of the community, supporting the Montreal English Theatre Awards (METAs), searching for space for the service organizations of different disciplines, and initiating discussions on different subjects and issues that affect the English-speaking theatre community of Quebec.
QDF acts as a hub for the community, a collective voice representing companies (both professional and community), theatre artists of all disciplines, training institutions, educators, and students. In addition, new opportunities are emerging through collaboration with both the French theatre community, and the greater arts community in Quebec. The coming years promise to be continuously busy and rewarding for QDF and English-language theatre, as new ideas and new ventures are embarked upon, all for the benefit of this community which is a special one, being a minority within a minority within a majority.
Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT), Conseil québécois des ressources humaines en culture (CQRHC), Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA), Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), Actors’ Fund of Canada (AFC), English Language Arts Network (ELAN), Playwrights Workshop of Montreal (PWM), Associations with Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA), Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), and Union des artistes (UdA).
How do I become a member?
You can drop by the office or mail us a cheque or simply click on the membership link on the website. You may also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fees for a one-year membership range from $15 to $150 depending on your membership category.
Does QDF represent artists and companies to various government and funding agencies?
Yes. QDF is affiliated with many associations, including the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), the Community Table, the Conseil québecoise du théâtre, Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA), the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) and Union des artistes. We regularly attend strategic meetings regarding the welfare of English theatre and culture in Quebec and act in an advisory capacity for many of these issues. QDF is a strong voice representing our members and their concerns.
I am (want to become) an actor. What can QDF do for me?
QDF has a “Special Email Update” service, informing our members of audition calls we receive from theatre companies, information on acting courses and programs in Quebec, Canada and the U.S, and various employment opportunities. We also have an acting coaches list for the Montreal area and our Resource Centre includes books, instructional videos, and accent tapes,. QDF also co-ordinates many workshops throughout the year, which provide professional development training for its members at special and affordable prices. Check the Workshop area of the website for further information.
How do I receive the Theatre Calendar at home?
Join QDF as a member and receive the Theatre Calendar four times a year as well as a discount card that gives you a minimum 10% discount on theatre tickets at participating theatres. Go to the membership section to become a member.
What kind of information does QDF provide?
In addition to information on training institutions, training programs and employment opportunities, we are able to provide resources on issues related to grants and funding, becoming a new theatre company, and answers to other specific questions you may have.
Can QDF produce my show?
No. QDF is a service organization, not a producer. We can help by offering you the opportunity to come in for a consultation and putting you in touch with other resources. We have a wealth of information on funding sources and can give you advice on producing your own work, as well as marketing your work to producers. Call QDF to make an appointment.
How does QDF promote and encourage English-language theatre in Quebec?
QDF puts out a quarterly Theatre Calendar listing productions by our member companies. We hold a series of valuable professional development workshops throughout the year which deal with professional and company development from a variety of perspectives. We provide volunteer services to member companies throughout Montreal through our Hi! Team program, and provide access to an extensive Resource Centre. In addition, QDF provides advice to emerging artists, distributes Email Updates with theatre and community news, and represents English theatre to various government agencies on municipal, provincial and federal levels.