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.


Why maintain an edition of the OFFTA ?

Imagining a live art festival in the actual context is everything but easy. In such confined moments, how can we activate the necessary fragility that ties us when we attend a performance? Which imaginaries can we summon, welcome, gather, in an attempt to question the past and what we seek for the future? After discussion with the artists, it seemed essential to us to consider this edition of the OFFTA as an experimental and observation platform. With humility, we will try to conceive an open space-time to reflect together, artists and publics, on what marks the live in art. Beyond its form, every performance presented emerges from the desire of each artist to revisit their own practice in light of present times. Online, with a distance, through interposed mailboxes, every gesture will aim to reinvent relationships, embrace the unknown and fool distances.

How can I attend the events of the programme?

1. Starting now, get your pass at offta.com

2. In the upcoming weeks, discover the programme that will be unveiled gradually.

3. As of May 18th, build your own programme with the full festival schedule.

4. Throughout the festival, receive a daily newsletter with all the necessary infos to attend each performance.

Why get a pass if it’s free?

By getting a pass, not only will you receive all the necessary infos about the festival, you also commit as a festivalgoer. Because this is risk taking for the artist and public alike, because our communities are actually in precarious financial conditions, we decided to open up the accessibility of the festival by offering a pass for $0. If your financial means allow it, it is strongly recommended to get a pass by giving a donation of $25 or $50. Such donations are crucial to support the mission of the OFFTA. Would you wish to make a more important donation, you could do so here. Note that charitable receipts will be issued for all donations.


Thanks to the support of its partners and patrons, the OFFTA can offer grants to the festival’s standout artists or collectives. These will be awarded to creators who have contributed to the vitality of the Montreal and Quebec live art scene. Recipients will be announced at the end of the festival.

Audacity Grant – Caisse Desjardins de la Culture
Awarded to an individual artist or group for audacious practices fostering new perspectives. Recipient will be selected by the OFFTA’s artistic committee.
Created 25 years ago by and for the cultural sector, Caisse Desjardins de la Culture helps artists, artisans, creators and the self-employed to realize their projects, whether personal or professional.

Si j’étais un homme… by Elle Barbara + Vjosana Shkurti + Alexander Storm
For a unique gathering moment, touching and unexpected in these moments of confinement, the Audacity Grant is awarded to Si j’étais un homme… by Elle Barbara. Despite the distance, the making of this video brought together Elle Barbara in Montreal, Diane Tell in Switzerland and festi-valgoers from everywhere, who sang in unison the flagship title of Diane Tell.

Hybridity Grant – Mois Multi – Festival international d’arts multidisciplinaires et électroniques
Awarded to an individual artist or group who strongly stands out through a practice successfully merging languages, materials, techniques, forms or artistic processes of various kinds. The grant, accompanied by a one-week residency at the studio d’Essai with technical support and equipment, is awarded by a committee of the Recto-Verso team, producer of the Mois Multi festival.

FKA Family Tree by Jordan Brown
For the singularity of a poetic proposition combining body and plastic languages, the Hybrid Grant is awarded to FKA Family Tree by Jordan Brown. His multidisciplinary universe and unique gesture suggest a promising practice.

Committee’s special mention from LA SERRE – arts vivants
The artist or group chosen will receive a residency at the Ateliers de LA SERRE – arts vivants in 2020–2021. Recipient will be selected by LA SERRE – arts vivants’ team.

Vulnérables Paradoxes
Pour la pertinence et l’importance des propos des artistes ayant participé à cette série de tables rondes, et pour le comité artistique ayant rassemblé ces voix, le Coup de cœur est remis à Vulnérables Paradoxes. Des conversations fortes, inspirantes et bouleversantes, nécessaires à activer (et à poursuivre) dans un contexte festivalier.


In order to develop the programming for the 15th edition of the festival, which will be held in late May/early June 2021, the OFFTAwill be looking for projects hat are the result of new writings that touch and shake our beliefs and will launch a call at the start of LA SERRE – arts vivants year.

Stay tuned for the call for proposals to come !


Associates Partners
Caisse Desjardins de la Culture Georges Laoun Opticien Location Sauvageau Zone Festival