NOVEMBER 6, 2020
On November 4th, André Laliberté received the 2020 Prix Albert-Tessier, one of the prestigious Prix du Québec artistic awards. The Prix Albert-Tessier, presented by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, is the highest distinction granted to a person for their outstanding contribution to the performing arts in Québec.
ANDRÉ LALIBERTÉ - Théatre de l’Œil Co-founder and Artistic and General Director from 1973 to 2020
While mainly focusing on the artistic direction of Théâtre de l’Œil’s productions, André Laliberté was also a playwright, puppeteer and stage director. His passion for puppetry and his determination to transcend genres led him to bring together artists from every creative discipline to explore this age-old art form: renowned stage directors, visual artists, musicians and choreographers who were introduced to puppetry arts thanks to André Laliberté. In the process, he developed a substantial repertoire that earned him several distinctions, including, on two occasions, a Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry awarded by UNIMA-USA, the American branch of the Union internationale de la marionette (International Association of Puppeteers).
Théâtre de l’Œil was the first Québec company to perform in China with Regarde pour voir / Look and See. The show was directed by André Laliberté and premiered in 1979. Since then, the company has toured extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia. As a puppetry pioneer in Québec, André Laliberté has sought to professionalize youth theatre by establishing a solid foundation and structure. Among other achievements, he was one of the founding members and the first president of the Maison Théâtre, an institution that has been presenting the very best in theatre for young audiences since 1984. A true ambassador of Québec culture abroad, he has contributed, through the exceptional artistic quality of his creations, to building his company’s excellent reputation and, more broadly, to Québec puppeteers’ reputation with audiences and professionals at home and abroad.
Among Théâtre de l’Œil's 28 original works, Le Porteur / The Star Keeper stands out as a truly dazzling success. Imagined and staged by André Laliberté in collaboration with visual artist Richard Morin and set designer Richard Lacroix, the show celebrated 20 years on the road in 2017. It has been performed over 800 times around the world, with performance on three continents. This tale’s outstanding success has helped open up presentation networks to Québec theatre companies, most notably at major international puppetry or youth theatre festivals. Le Porteur / The Star Keeper was also awarded three Académie québécoise du théâtre Masques in 1999: the Masque de la production Jeunes publics, Masque de la conception du décor, and Masque de la contribution spéciale (for puppet design).
André Laliberté’s main goal was to give puppetry its rightful place among theatre arts. He produced shows on large stages and adopted a panoramic puppet theatre staging style. With each Théâtre de l’Œil production, he has made a special effort to work a range of types of puppets such as hand puppets, string or rod marionettes and Bunraku. In doing so, he has provided puppeteers with ongoing professional training. An expert in manipulation techniques and an attentive teacher, André Laliberté eagerly shares his expertise, whether it be with colleagues in his company’s workshop or rehearsal hall, or with graduate students in the Contemporary Puppet Theatre program at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM-DESS). In this way, he has helped train several generations of puppeteers and artisans.
André Laliberté has dedicated his entire life to his art, in order to increase its influence and ensure its growing popularity. Thanks to his creativity, talent and vision, he has been instrumental in gaining recognition for and developing puppetry arts in Québec, while also contributing to Québec puppetry’s reputation internationally.
Théâtre de l’Œil extends its most sincere congratulations to André Laliberté, who nurtured the company with passion and intelligence for 47 years!
About the prix Albert-Tessier
The prix Albert-Tessier is the highest distinction granted to a person for their outstanding contribution to the audiovisual or performing arts fields in Québec. The disciplines recognized include screenwriting, playwriting, directing, production, musical composition, dramaturgy and stage directing, as well as the technical trades associated with audiovisual and performing arts.
Launched in 1977, the Prix du Québec are the highest distinction granted annually by the Québec government in recognition of a person’s contribution to culture and science. They are an expression of the gratitude of the province as a whole for the admirable work of these exceptional women and men.
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