Canadian Theatre in Latin America: Translation and Dissemination

Hugh Hazelton


Canadian theatre has achieved a high level of popularity in Latin America, where its dynamism and creativity are increasingly appreciated, and it is now widely translated both for production and publication. Much of this success has been the result of exchange programs between arts groups and theatre companies in Mexico, Argentina, and other countries with those in Canada. This initiative largely originated in Quebec, which began establishing such bilateral agreements with Latin American countries, especially Mexico, as early as the 1980s, and followed them up with residencies, theatre festivals, tours, and a continual stream of funding for translations. In fact, at the present time, there are possibly as many Quebec plays produced in Latin America as in English Canada. Canadian plays, both in English and French, are also now regularly staged in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, and have been translated, performed, and published in a number of other countries, including Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru. Moreover, their reach has not been limited only to national capitals: they have also toured smaller cities, thus spreading Canadian theatre far beyond the usual venues. Quebec and many Latin American countries share a tradition of government funding and promotion of culture and art, which is also found, though with a more diffused focus, in Canadian federal government programs. Ever since the Révolution tranquille of the 1960s and 1970s, Quebec has been anxious to break out of its relative linguistic and cultural isolation and reach beyond the 340 million Anglophones that surround it in order to establish strong new ties with Latin America, thus reinforcing its own latinité and also proclaiming its américanité, its place in the Americas, in which the majority of inhabitants now speak languages other than English.



theatre, canadian, Latin America

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Hugh Hazelton, “The Bilingual Performance Theatre of Alberto Kurapel” in Latin@Canadian Theatre and Performance, ed. Natalie Alvarez; Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press; 109-132, and “Kurapel’s Prometheus: Breaking the Bounds,” prologue to “Prometheus Bound According to Alberto Kurapel/Prométhée enchaîné selon Alberto Kurapel,” a play by Alberto Kurapel; Fronteras Vivientes: Eight Latin@ Canadian Plays, ed. Natalie Alvarez; Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press;

Monteiro, George. Fernando Pessoa and Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Literature. Lexington, KY: UP Kentucky, 2000;



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ISSN eletrônico: 1984-5677

ISSN impresso: 1519-0994