Meet the Artists


Wajdi Mouawad • Written, Directed, and Performed by Wajdi Mouawad
Wajdi Mouawad

Over the past twenty years Wajdi Mouawad has established himself, both in Canada and in Europe, as a uniquely original player on the contemporary theatre scene, acclaimed for his direct and uncompromising narratives and his spare and compelling theatre aesthetic. He has built an international reputation for deeply humanist theatre that examines the human experience with keenness and compassion, and emphasizes the power of the actor as spokesperson in the fullest sense of the word. In his writing as in his directing, Mr. Mouawad investigates the tension between the importance of individual resistance and the no less essential renunciation of the self. On this subject he is fond of quoting Kafka:“In the struggle between yourself and the world, back the world.” Born in Lebanon in 1968, Wajdi Mouawad fled the war-­torn country with his family; they lived in Paris for a few years, then settled in Montreal. In 1991, shortly after graduating from the National Theatre School of Canada, he embarked on a quadruple career as an actor, writer, director and producer. He has since worked as an actor with some of Québec’s and France’s most well-­known directors. Notably, in 2008, Mouawad premiered his one-­man show in France, Seuls, before playing to sold-­out houses at Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui in Montreal and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He also recently appeared in the production of Camus’ Les Justes at the Théâtre de la Colline in Paris, among others. In all his work, from his own plays (over fifteen to date, including Tideline, Scorched, Forests and Heavens and several plays for young audiences, including Alphonse and Starved) and adaptations (including Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night and Cervantes’ Don Quixote), the productions he has directed (including Macbeth, The Trojan Women and Three Sisters, etc), to novels (Visage Retrouvé and Anima) Wajdi Mouawad expresses the conviction that “art bears witness to human existence through the prism of beauty.” From 2000 to 2004 he was the artistic director of Montreal’s Théâtre de Quat’Sous, where he set himself the mission of creating theatre that takes its rightful place as a voice in the stream of civic dialogue, a voice that refuses to yield to our market-­driven culture, a voice that fulfills its duty to remember the past while probing the meaning of life in the present. In 2005, he founded two companies (one on each side of the Atlantic) specializing in the development of new work: Abé carré cé carré in Québec (in collaboration with Emmanuel Schwartz until 2012), and Au carré de l’hypoténuse in France. From 2007 to 2012, he joined the National Arts Centre as artistic director of the French Theatre. Besides his work for the stage, Wajdi Mouawad has directed a feature-­length film, Littoral, based on his play of the same name, and his play Incendies, now adapted for film by Denis Villeneuve, who is an Academy Award Nominee for best foreign language film of 2010. In recognition of his body of work and his contribution to the arts, the French government appointed Mouawad Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters in 2002. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honours for his writing and directing, including the 2000 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama (for Littoral) and the 2004 Prix de la Francophonie awarded by the international Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques (SACD) for his body of work. Organization Artists for Peace named him Artist for peace of the year 2006. In 2009, Mouawad was appointed to the Order of Canada, and the Académie française awarded him the Theatre Grand Prize for his accomplishments as a playwright. He was also the associated artist of the prestigeous Avignon Festival in France for which he remounted Littoral (Tideline), Incendies (Scorched) and Forêts (Forests), and completed the quartet with the production of Ciels. That same year, he received a “DoctoratHonoris Causa” from École Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences humaines de Lyon. Recently, Wajdi Mouawad was awarded the Phénix award in Lebanon for his latest novel, Anima. Wajdi Mouawad’s plays have been translated in more than twenty languages and presented in all parts of the world, including Great-Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Australia and the United-­States. Wajdi Mouawad has presented his play Temps, in 2011. He is currently directing Sophocle’s seven dramas, of which the first three plays, Les Trachiniennes, Antigone and Électre, opened in France in July 2011. Des Héros, the second part of the cycle, openend at the beginning of 2014 and toured troughout France in the spring of 2014.