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Director of French theatre recognized by Order of Canada

Roland Mahè</p>

Roland Mahè

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/12/2017 (654 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

After a lifetime dedicated to Franco-Manitoban theatre, a former Winnipeg director will be appointed to the Order of Canada.

Roland Mahé, who was the artistic director of Cercle Molière in St. Boniface for 44 years, is being recognized for developing francophone theatre and drama.

On Friday, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette announced the names of 124 Canadians to be inducted into the Order of Canada.

“It’s exciting for me but it’s also exciting for the whole company,” Mahé said. “It’s recognizing the importance of French theatre in Manitoba and its accomplishments here.”

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/12/2017 (654 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

After a lifetime dedicated to Franco-Manitoban theatre, a former Winnipeg director will be appointed to the Order of Canada.

Roland Mahé, who was the artistic director of Cercle Molière in St. Boniface for 44 years, is being recognized for developing francophone theatre and drama.

On Friday, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette announced the names of 124 Canadians to be inducted into the Order of Canada.

"It’s exciting for me but it’s also exciting for the whole company," Mahé said. "It’s recognizing the importance of French theatre in Manitoba and its accomplishments here."

Such achievements include evolving the Cercle Molière to professional status from an amateur theatre. Founded in 1925, it is the oldest permanent theatre company in Canada.

Mahé has also directed plays that both English and French speaking Manitobans could enjoy. Cercle Molière stages its productions in French, but offers tablets that provide English subtitles.

This widened the scope of their audience and eliminated barriers between the two groups, Mahé said.

"I was passionate for my work and the people that I worked with. We did so many innovative things throughout the years with authors from (Winnipeg) in the French community," said Mahé, who has directed around 200 plays.

Mahé remembered attending his first play when he was about seven years old, almost 70 years ago.

He recalled being on the edge of his seat throughout the play, enticed by the set, the costumes and the actors.

As much as he loved the spectacle, he never anticipated a career in theatre. He attended the University of Manitoba and graduated with a fine arts degree with the goal of being a teacher.

"Teaching wasn’t good for me, so I thought, maybe theatre will be for me. I was doing amateur theatre at the time and I really enjoyed it," he said.

It started as a family affair, directing his brother, sister and parents in family plays and it soon morphed into an overwhelming passion for theatre.

While attending theatre school in 1967 in Strasbourg, France, Mahé received a call offering him the job as the artistic director at Cercle Molière.

"I love discovering new things and new ideas and learning from human nature, from our experiences in life, the tragic and the comic and the ordinary," he said.

"It’s really exciting when you can share this with the public, and when you know the public is with you. And they were with me for all my years (as a director)."

Since retiring, Mahé visits the Cercle Molière often, but instead of being backstage, he’s front row, once again on the edge of his seat.

He will receive his honour at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in 2018.

kiera.kowalski@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Friday, December 29, 2017 at 5:39 PM CST: Adds factbox

December 30, 2017 at 8:09 AM: Edited

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