Yvette BRIND'AMOUR 1921-1992

1985 Cultural Cultural

A "grande dame" of the theatre and a remarkable actress whose strong will and outstanding talent have helped the francophone theatre develop and take root in Montréal... that is Yvette Brind'Amour, Co-Founder, Artistic Director and Director of Montréal's Théâtre du Rideau Vert

Between her stage debut at the Montréal Repertory Theatre in the early forties and her Maude in Higgins' Harold and Maude, which she performed some thirty years later with equal enthusiasm, and spanning all the characters she portrayed in the years in between, is a remarkable artistic career. Before the major accomplishment of the Théâtre du Rideau Vert, before Yvette Brind'Amour's shy debut on the stage, came the difficult and gruelling learning years – drama courses, classical ballet and training in Paris, where she studied under René Simon and Charles Dullin.

It was in 1948 that Yvette Brind'Amour founded the Théâtre du Rideau Vert with Mercedes Palomino. A work of courage and determination, the Rideau Vert was French Canada's first permanent theatre troupe. In its premiere presentation it performed Lillian Hellman's Les lnnocentes. While its repertory grew rapidly, the Rideau Vert had no address of its own. It roved the city, from the Théâtre des Compagnons to the Gesù, from the Monument-National to the Théâtre Anjou. Finally in 1960, it set up shop in its present location on St-Denis Street. Driven by a continuing desire to achieve perfection, the Rideau Vert's artistic director called on the best actors, the best set decorators and technicians, never leaving anything to chance. She soon built a reputation as a great theatre director.

While she was determined to win over a wider audience and in particular the younger generation, she strove to satisfy a more demanding public, presenting masterpieces of the world classical theatre and of the contemporary repertoire, in addition to a significant number of Canadian and Quebec works. In total, over two hundred plays were staged at the Rideau Vert. Among these were La Reine morte by Montherlant, Partage de midi by Claudel, L'Aigle à deux têtes by Cocteau, La Vie est un songe by Calderon de la Barca, On ne sait comment by Pirandello, and French adaptations of A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare, The Three Sisters and The Seagull by Chekhov, A Lion in Winter by Goldman, Harold and Maude by Colin Higgins, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, as well as Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-soeurs and La Sagouine by Antonine Maillet.

Yvette Brind'Amour's performances were outstanding not only on the stage but also on television, where she was acclaimed for her roles in several productions. In addition to taking part in the movie The Pyx, she played in the TV series Marisol and was recently cast in the current French CBC series Monsieur le Ministre.

In recognition of her great artistic talent, her vision and her perseverance, Yvette Brind'Amour has received several honorary distinctions; among them the Order of Canada (she was made an Officer in 1967 and a Companion in 1982). She was awarded the Prix Victor-Morin by the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste in 1964; the Prix de la Meilleure comédienne in 1962 for her portrayal of Ysé in Claudel's Partage de midi; the Chekhov medal while on tour in Russia in 1965; an honorary degree from the University of Ottawa in 1968 and the Ordre National du Québec in 1965.