Porte Parole was founded in 2000 by playwright Annabel Soutar and actor Alex Ivanovici as a local Montreal-based documentary theatre company. Its early plays, Novembre, 2000 Questions, Santé!, Montréal la blanche and Seeds were performed locally for English and French audiences and won the Company great acclaim as Montreal’s only documentary theatre troupe.
In 2008 Soutar received her first invitation from the Festival TransAmériques to create a documentary work, Import/Export, about a factory closure in Thetford Mines triggered by retail outsourcing to China.
Soutar’s epic trilogy, Sexy béton, about the collapse of the de la Concorde in Laval, toured around Quebec in 2011 and won Soutar a nomination for the prestigious Prix Michel Tremblay for playwriting in 2012.
In 2011-12 Soutar created an updated version of Seeds and partnered with acclaimed director Chris Abraham and Crow’s Theatre to produce the play’s Toronto premiere. Seeds – about the high stakes legal battle between Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser and Monsanto over GMOs – was performed at the 2013 Festival TransAmériques and went on to tour nationally to five provinces across Canada from 2013-16. Seeds was translated by Fanny Britt (Grains) and was presented at La Licorne in 2012. In 2017-18, Seeds will be performed at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, and in 2018-19 the production will embark on its first US tour.
In 2013 Soutar received a high profile commission with Abraham to create a documentary play about water for the 2015 Toronto Pan Am/Para Pan Am Games. That work, The Watershed, earned Soutar recognition on The Globe & Mail’s Artists of the Year list for 2015. The Watershed was performed in 5 theatres across Canada in 2016-17. In 2015, the French-language version of The Watershed (Le Partage des eaux), also translated by Britt, was presented at Usine C in Montreal.
In parallel with The Watershed, Porte Parole produced a street installation about water called The Water Shed. Curated by creative director Alex Ivanovici, The Water Shed invites Canadians to have a personal conversation with the imagined ‘character’ of water in an intimate space designed by Jasmine Catudal.
Soutar’s play, Fredy, directed by Marc Beaupré, was performed at La Licorne in March 2016 to sold-out houses and great acclaim. The production will be remounted at La Licorne, Usine C and in 3 Maisons de la Culture in Montreal in 2017-18.
In 2014, Soutar invited Quebec actress Christine Beaulieu to write a new documentary play for Porte Parole about Hydro Quebec. That 5-part opus, J’aime Hydro, has been performed in Montreal at the 2016 Festival TransAmériques, at La Licorne, and at Usine C. J’aime Hydro was bought by the Just for Laughs Festival where it was performed again at Usine C in July 2017. In 2017-18, J’aime Hydro will tour across Quebec, including a 2-week run at the Théâtre La Bordée in Québec City.
In its 2016-17 season Porte Parole took its first steps to provide online access to its plays. J’aime Hydro was streamed live (audio) during its runs at la Licorne and Usine C. In 2018 the Company will produce a podcast adaptation of the play.