Annual artistic event created on the edge of the Festival TransAmériques (FTA), the OFFTA is a festival dedicated to avant-garde creation in live art. It aims to scout, throughout the year, the local artistic landscape in order to put forward creators whose practice leads new trends in theatre, dance and performance. The OFFTA bases its identity on an artistic direction that encourages strong and singular approaches, emerging practices and experimentation.
Following the disappearance of the Festival international de nouvelle danse (FIND) and the Nouvelle Scène section of the Festival de Théâtre des Amériques1, a large part of the artistic community was left without a platform; the idea of the OFFTA consequently emerged.
It is with vision and determination that five young theatre artists (Jasmine Catudal, Stephanie Capistran-Lalonde, Johanne Haberlin, Emmanuelle Kirouac-Sanche and Jacques Laroche) organized the first edition. From May 23rd to June 7th, 2007, seven plays were presented in five different venues. The various acts of support from the community and the numerous positive reactions proved the importance of an “OFF” in the cultural landscape of Montreal.
The following year and for subsequent editions, the festival’s artistic committee became pluridisciplinary by integrating members from the fields of dance, visual arts and contemporary practices. With the numerous project proposals and undeniable media support, the festival acquired a solid reputation among the public and the artistic community. The OFFTA rapidly became an essential showcase for the national and international exposure of local artists. An impressive number of renowned artists presented their work in the context of the festival, such as Mani Soleymanlou, Félix-Antoine Boutin, Philippe Boutin, Maxime Carbonneau, Sarah Berthiaume, L’eau du bain, Jacob Wren, Jacques Poulin-Denis, Adam Kinner, Mélanie Demers, Étienne Lepage, Frédérick Gravel, Nicolas Cantin, Emmanuel Schwartz, Sylvie Cotton, Production Porte-Parole and Nadège Grebmeier-Forget.
Again and again, the OFFTA aspires to decompartmentalise contemporary art practices along with their respective audiences. In keeping with its vision of disciplinary encounters, the OFFTA produces and presents hybrid events which challenge established live art practices and question modes of representation, as well as facilitate participation, dialogue and cooperation.
The OFFTA is a structuring platform for young Montreal artists that creates, produces and presents their work. The festival offers residencies of research and creation as well as dramaturgic support for several of the selected projects. It gives access to professional means of production and communications to all the artists of the program, and act as a first link between young artists and national and international presenters who are in Montreal at this time of year. With these levers, the OFFTA festival aims to amplify the strong voices of its generation.