La Troupe du jour is the only francophone professional theatre company in Saskatchewan. It was founded in 1985 in Saskatoon by a group of young people led by Alphonse Gaudet, the first artistic director, who has continued to have close connections with the company. This group had been doing amateur theatre in French in the city and at the University of Saskatchewan; they were determined to offer opportunities to a diverse francophone community to see and participate in plays of high artistic quality. Under current artistic director Denis Rouleau, who joined the company in 1989, the high ideals of the original players have been maintained and expanded. Others who have made important contributions to the company are Ian Nelson, Laurier Gareau, Adrienne Sawchuk, Frédérique Baudemont, and Raoul Granger. The quality of La Troupe 's work has been recognized on several occasions by prestigious awards.
La Troupe has offered a full and varied season every year since 1986: plays, shows, and dramatic readings for adults, adolescents and children; festivals and workshops for the formation of actors, directors, technicians, and playwrights; touring shows to schools and community halls throughout Saskatchewan and to other provinces and countries; and collaborative productions and creative projects with other professional companies, both local and across Canada. La Troupe's unique situation in a region where the minority francophone public is scattered and diverse in origin has created particular challenges for survival. These have been artistic, linguistic, and financial. Under Rouleau's direction, the company has risen admirably to these challenges, offering a wide range of choices in its programming, experimenting boldly with fresh new approaches to theatre, encouraging creativity in the community, collaborating with other theatre companies, providing a chance to see good theatre for French and immersion school students, and playing with bilingualism in highly original ways.
La Troupe du jour had its own theatre space, Le Bas-Côté, between 1990 and 1996. During that time, it was able to offer subscription series, build a loyal public, expand its touring initiatives, and advance many of its artistic objectives. Since 1996, it has been obliged to share space, usually a church hall, with other groups and companies, and to move frequently. The lack of permanent theatre space and the reduced presence of the company on the local cultural scene due to this lack of recognizable premises continue to be major problems. At the same time, the energy and vision of Denis Rouleau and all the members of the company, along with their determination to serve artistically the francophone and francophile community throughout Saskatchewan, remain exemplary.
Louise H. Forsyth