Montreal is an incredible place in which to have the privilege to make theatre. It has such a rich and unique story of its own.
Long before Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence and encountered a nation of Iroquoian people in a place called Hochelaga, the island which the European settlers chose to call Montreal had been a point of conflict, conference, creativity and exchange since time immemorial for many Indigenous peoples including the Anishinaabe, Huron/Wendat, and Abénaki nations.
The people of the Kanienkéha:ka Nation– known in English as the Mohawk – are now considered the caretakers of the land and water around Montreal. In their language this island bears the name of Tiohtià:ke, which means “broken in two” because of the way the river breaks around it.
I love how this Indigenous language identifies the island as part of the river, because it reminds me that we are all in the flow of a much larger story. This mighty river has for centuries carried people here from all over the world in search of new opportunities and new lives and the Lachine Rapids that sit just off the western tip of this island have given pause to many of those journeys.
The river has made contemporary Montreal into a vibrantly diverse city. I find that diversity inspiring because it is by telling each other our stories that we build bridges between our different cultures and languages. And so I offer you stories at Centaur Theatre that I hope can build a bridge to you along with everyone in the audience no matter where you come from. They are all stories that explore our hearts and hopefully open our minds to affirm our collective humanity.
-Eda Holmes, Artistic and Executive Director