Robert Lepage

Robert Lepage (the far side of the moon) has established himself as an internationally acclaimed stage and film director, designer, playwright, and performer. His dynamic and original approach constantly pushes the boundaries of theatrical performance, most notably with the use of new technologies. Drawing inspiration from contemporary life, his work has influenced a generation of artists and practitioners. Born in Quebec in 1957, Lepage had a profound interest in geography from an early age, and dreamed of becoming a professor. However, it was his interest in art which was to lead him to what would become his greatest passion, theater. In 1975, at the age of seventeen, he began his training at the Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique de Québec. Following an internship in Paris in 1978, he spent two years acting, writing, and directing various productions before joining the Théâtre Repère. In 1984, he created Circulations, which was presented across Canada and won the Best Canadian Production Award during La Quinzaine Internationale de Théâtre de Québec. The following year, with The Dragon's Trilogy, his work first received international recognition. This was followed by Vinci (1986), Polygraph (1987–1990) and Tectonic Plates (1988–1990). From 1989 to 1993 he was the artistic director at the National Arts Center's French Theatre, in Ottawa. At the same time, he continued his innovative stage-directing with Needles and Opium (1991–1993/1994–1996), Coriolanus, Macbeth, and The Tempest (1992–1994), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (1992), for which he became the first North American ever to direct a Shakespeare play at London's Royal National Theatre.

In 1994, Robert Lepage took an important step by founding his own multidisciplinary production company, Ex Machina. Taking on once more the role of artistic director, he lead his new team through the creative process that produced the critically acclaimed Seven Streams of the River Ota (1994), Le Songe d'une nuit d'été (1995), along with his third one-man show, Elsinore (1995–1997). In 1994 he began to branch out, extending his talents into the world of cinema. His abilities as a scriptwriter and director were immediately recognized with his first feature film, Le Confessionnal, which was invited to open the Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995. He later went on to direct Le Polygraphe (1996), Nô (1998), and his first English feature film, Possible Worlds (2000). La Caserne Dalhousie, a multidisciplinary production center, opened in June of 1997 under Lepage's watchful eye. In their new workspace, he and his team created Geometry of Miracles (1998), Zulu Time (1999), and his latest piece, the far side of the moon (2000). The many prizes won by this performance include four trophies at le Gala des Masques, a Time Out Award, and the prestigious Evening Standard Award. His growing reputation elicited offers from many different fields, thus allowing him to broaden his artistic experience to opera; he presented the double-bill Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung at the Canadian Opera Company, followed by The Damnation of Faust in Japan, which went on to play in Paris in 2001. In addition, he conceived and directed for the stage Peter Gabriel's Secret World Tour in 1993, which was hailed by critics worldwide. He later took on the role of artistic director of "Métissages" (2000), an exhibition at Le Musée de la Civilisation du Québec. He recently teamed up again with Gabriel to stage his 2002 tour, Growing Up Live. Recently he oversaw the world tour of La Casa Azul, a biographical play about Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. He and a new cast also revived the cult classic Dragon's Trilogy for the Festival de Théâtre des Amériques' 10th Edition; the production has since been presented in Europe and worldwide. In 2003 Lepage directed his fifth feature film, adapting his award-winning play the far side of the moon. In February of 2004 The Busker's Opera (a free adaptation from Gay's The Beggar's Opera) was presented at the Montreal High Lights Festival. Lepage also collaborated for the second time with robotics specialist Louis-Philippe Demers to create jaquemart (Jackdow) on a special commission for the Lille 2004—European Capital of Culture jaquemart program. His most recent work, La Celestina (adapted from Fernando Rojas's masterpiece), began a European tour in Barcelona last September. Currently, Lepage is collaborating with Cirque du Soleil on their next permanent Las Vegas show named at the MGM Grand Hotel, and is working with conductor Lorin Maazel on an opera based on George Orwell's novel, 1984. He is also working on his next one-man show that will be presented in 2005.

Robert Lepage's work has been recognized and honored numerous times; most recent prizes include the 1999 medal of l'Ordre National du Québec. In September of 2000 he was the recipient of the SORIQ Award, acknowledging his dynamic and varied international career. In October 2001 he was honored to become a "World Leader" at the Harbourfront Centre, recognizing once more the extent of his worldwide success. In March of 2002 he was awarded the French Legion of Honor, and in April 2002 the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce named him "Grand Québécois." In November 2002 he was recipient of the Herbert Whittaker Drama Bench Award for his outstanding contribution to Canadian Theatre. Finally, in November 2003, he was recipient of the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the most prestigious award attributed by the Government of Québec in the field of stage arts.