Your Theatre Since 1971
Mandate and Mission
The company creates, tours and presents theatrical works with the aim of developing, enriching and promoting the artistic and cultural life of its milieu.
Rooted in Northern Ontario, the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario (TNO) is a professional theatre company that values contemporary works by Franco-Ontarian authors and Canadian playwrights.
This mission is embodied within three main areas of action:
Supporting Franco-Ontarian playwrights and creators;
Creating, producing, touring and welcoming new original works and repertory;
Development of artists and Canadian dramaturgy and theatre.
Audience Development Officer
Administrative Director (in maternity leave)
Jean Bosco Fotso
Finance and Administration Officer
The TNO was founded in 1971, during French Ontario’s “cultural revolution”. This period of creativity, identity-building and mobilization, centred in northeastern Ontario, revitalized cultural life in French-speaking Ontario. It was the era of playwright, songwriter and singer André Paiement, Coopérative des artistes du Nouvel-Ontario and the creation of CANO-musique, La Nuit sur l’Étang, Les Éditions Prise de parole, La Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, La Ruche des artistes, and of course, the TNO, which Paiement led until his death in 1978.
In the 1980s, the arrival of Brigitte Haentjens as Artistic Director and Jean Marc Dalpé, author, breathed new life into the TNO, which at the time was nothing but a few boxes in an administrator’s basement. The biggest success of this period was the creation of Le Chien, a drama by Jean-Marc Dalpé, who won the 1988 Governor General’s Award with this play. In the 1990s, Artistic Director Sylvie Dufour took the opportunity to rebuild the TNO’s pool of writers. French Town, by Michel Ouellette, produced by the TNO, won the Governor General’s Award in 1994. Then, in 1997, the TNO achieved its long-term dream with the construction of its own theatre space (Salle André-Paiement), finally giving it a home and quality tools to develop its projects, build its audience and attract additional partners.
Its opening and the arrival in the same period of André Perrier as Artistic Director marked the start of a new era for the TNO. Since the dawn of the 21st century, the TNO’s success has continued to grow. The production Du Pépin à la Fissure won the Masque award for best Franco-Canadian Production in 2001, as did the co-production Univers in 2003. The TNO presented a major 67-performance tour of Ontario, Québec and France with its co-production Violette sur la terre.
In June 2004, the TNO announced the arrival of Geneviève Pineault as its Artistic Director. In 2005-2006, Exit(s), co-produced with Ottawa’s Théâtre la Catapulte, criss-crossed Ontario and was nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore Awards in Toronto in the Best Touring Production category. In 2007, the TNO was a finalist for Ontario’s newly-created Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. The TNO’s 2014-2015 season is particularly notable seeing the theatre was awarded The Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, which came with a $50 000 reward.