What’s happening in Montreal: September 24 edition

If you would like to clown around this fall (literally), then check out the 6th annual Montreal Clown Festival, which takes place at the Gesu Theatre on Bleury Street from September 29 to October 2.

The festival kicks off with the Fools Garden Cabaret on opening night, where spectators are encouraged to dress up in any kind of eccentric attire, in order to get the opportunity to rub shoulders (or red noses) with some of the top clown performers from New York and Montreal.

Throughout the weekend of the festival, there will be continuous performances by clowns and clown troupes from across North America, including Empire Pagaille, Mark Gindick, Pearle Harbour, L’Espace Forain, Mooky McGuinty, Tupiq A.C.T. and Hilary Wear. Thefre will also be a number of free activities such as an outdoor performance by Espace Forain … in car car, a photo exhibit on the history of clowns in Quebec, a cocktail party, and a special Journees de la Culture performance by Group Qi Gong, which is being led by clown Gnabby Boomer.

As well, the festival will host two bilingual panel discussions: one on the topic of Indigenous world views on September 30 in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation; and a discussion about the intimate nature nature of clowning inn a post-pandemic world led by Sonia Norris and a panel of guest speakers on October 1.

To purchase tickets for any of the shows, go to www.legesu.com; for more information on the festival, go to www.mtlclownfest.com.


With the rising incidents of racism and hatred going on over the past few years, the Acts to Grind Theatre company will present the timely play Cherry Docs from September 28 to October 9 at the MainLine Theatre, 3997 St. Laurent Blvd., with show time at 8 p.m. for each performance (except on October 9, which is at 2 p.m.), plus post-show talkbacks following the September 29 and October 5 performances.

The story centres around a Jewish legal aid lawyer, who is assigned to a case in which he has to defend a neo-Nazi skinhead accused in the racially motivated murder of a South Asian immigrant. As the case progresses, the lawyer and the defendant develop a rather intense relationship, in which they explore their emotional and intellectual differences, in a situation that explores the explosive effect of blind hate, plus the barriers that are thrown at them when it comes to finding compassion.

Tickets cost between $20 and $28, and can be purchased by phone (514-849-3378) or by going to www.mainlinetheatre.ca/en/spectacles/cherry-docs.


Start off 2023 on a festive Irish note, as Irish Celtic: The Spirit of Ireland, a live showcase of the songs, legends, traditions and dances that have been part of Irish culture, will be in Montreal for six performances at the Theatre St. Denis 1 this January. The show has played in 11 countries in front of more than one million spectators, and is ready to dazzle Montreal audiences with a spectacular that features 14 dancers and musicians from Ireland’s best-known dance and musical companies. Whether it be the bagpipes, the combination of the guitar and accordian, the Irish fiddle or the unique rhythms of traditional tap dancing, Irish Celtic: The Spirit of Ireland will magically transform you into the lively world of Ireland and its heritage through their arts and culture. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to www.www.mabilleterie.ca or www.espacestdenis.com.


October 15 marks the first of four cine conferences under the Optimista banner, which will run until March of 2023. The first of these events, under the theme of courage, will take place at Quai 5160 of the Verdun Culture Centre, located at 5160 LaSalle Blvd..

Presented by the Montreal non-profit collective Yellow Pad Sessions, the courage cine conference will feature the screenings of two documentaries: “The Black Cop” and the Oscar-nominated “Writing with Fire”. Gamal “G” Turawa, the protagonist of “The Black Cop” (which won the prestigious BAFTA Award, the British equivalent of the Oscars) will be in attendance at the conference to deliver the keynote address. There will also be a solo performance by contemporary dancer and choreographer Diana Leon that’s entitled “On this path, you are sure to get lost”; as well, there is an exhibition by Reihan Ebrahimi called “Loop in Loop”, which features a sculpture installation that represents her Persian ancestry and meditative practice, plus a cocktail party with live DJ music sets courtesy of the Webbed Feet radio crew, where signature Optimista cocktails and mocktails will be served.

Subsequent cine conferences in the series will deal with the themes compassion (November 19), love (February 11, 2023) and community (March 4, 2023). Doors open at 7 p.m., and each conference will commence at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are as follows: $40 (regular, one evening), $35 (students and seniors 65+, one evening), $150 for a four-evening pass (regular) and $130 for a four-evening pass (students and seniors 65+).

For more information, go to www.yellowpadsessions.com.


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