Joe Jack and John is a theatre company that produces original multidisciplinary shows combining video, dance, spoken word, and bilingualism. Our artistic approach foregrounds the figure of the antihero by integrating performers often perceived as such by society, such as professional actors with an intellectual disability or from diverse cultural backgrounds.
We favour devised creation for projects that centre on current social issues. The uniqueness of our casting is as much about aesthetic research as it is about promoting human encounters: we aim to make heard the voices rarely listened to; to encourage reflection on contemporary issues, including those of inclusion; and to move the social conversation forward through art.
In October 2003, Catherine Bourgeois co-founded JJJ in hopes of creating a different kind of theatre (or at the very least of making it in her own way): politically engaged, performative, and relevant. From 2003 to 2009 she shared the leadership of the company with Amélie Dumoulin, with whom she co-created our company’s first four shows. Together they developed what would become the aesthetic signature of JJJ. Beginning with Quand j’étais un animal (manuel de taxidermie) [When I Was an Animal (Taxidermy Manual)] (2004), they explored devised creation with inclusive casting. During this period, our co-artistic directors were already creating new works centred on socially relevant themes: for example, Go shopping (et fais le mort) [Go Shopping (and Play Dead)] presented at La Chapelle in 2006, tackled the theme of grief with reference to George W. Bush’s speech in the aftermath of 9-11. They also experimented with site-specific pieces, including Ce soir l’Amérique prend son bain [Tonight America Takes Its Bath] at the Bain Mathieu in 2005, and Mimi (myself et tous ceux qui me regardent) [Mimi (Myself and Everyone Who Looks at Me)], presented in an semi-industrial loft in Mile End in 2009. Ever since then, site-specific locations and themes inspired by current events have been major elements of our aesthetic, promoting intimacy with the audience and a sense of heightened theatrical adventure.
At the end of the 2008-2009 season, Amélie Dumoulin left the company to pursue her own literary work and was replaced as Co-Artistic Director by Jean-Pascal Fournier. At this time, we launched the development cycle of Just Fake It (Théâtre Aux Écuries, 2011), the first of our shows to make a significant mark on Montreal’s artistic landscape. The reach of this piece also opened doors for us to travel and to present our work at the regional, national, and international levels. During this same period, we also initiated Les Lundis théâtre [Theatre Mondays], an outreach project aimed at young adults with Down Syndrome, in partnership with RT21/Quebec Down Syndrome. In 2012, Jean-Pascal stepped down from the position of Co-Artistic Director in order to transition into a career in the visual arts. As the president and vice-president of our board respectively, both Jean-Pascal Fournier and Amélie Dumoulin remain associated with our company.
Since the summer of 2012, JJJ has been led entirely by Catherine Bourgeois, who has directed all of our productions. As always, Catherine has surrounded herself with trusted artistic collaborators in order to create pieces such as AVALe [Swallow], (Théâtre Aux Écuries, 2014) and je ne veux pas marcher seul [I Don’t Want to Walk Alone] (Théâtre Aux Écuries, 2015). Catherine is dedicated to ensuring the sustainability of our company and to promoting our mandate, which she has been passionately pursuing for almost 14 years.
Artistic Director: Catherine Bourgeois
Producer/Dramaturg: Pénélope Bourque
Coordinator, Touring and Communications: Liliane Gougeon Moisan
Board of Directors
President : Jean-Pascal Fournier, Galerie COA
Vice-presidente/Founding Member : Amélie Dumoulin, author
Secretary : Gabrielle Gayrard, Gayrard Avocats
Treasurer: Anne Williams, Vélo Québec
Administrator: Catherine Bourgeois, Artistic director at Joe Jack and John
Administrator: Edon Descollines, Multidisciplinary artist
Administrator: Rosy Hadad, Financial advisor
Administrator: Ana Gavrancic, Head of organizational development and training at VYV
Administrator: Pascale St-Jean, Massage therapist and owner of Mon oasis santé
Catherine Bourgeois has been making theater since 2002. She began in set costume, and lighting design before devoting herself to creating and directing performances for Joe Jack & John, which she co-founded in 2003 and for which she designs and directs all productions. Her show AVALe earned her the Best Director award at the 2014 Gala des Cochons d’Or, as did our previous show Just fake it, in 2012. Just fake it was also awarded a LOJIQ grant.
From 2006 to 2013, in parallel with her life at JJJ, Catherine worked as production manager and assistant to choreographer Margie Gillis, and was thus introduced to many different artists, cities, and stages. For more than five years, from 2005 to 2008, she worked at Imago Theatre – where from 2005 to 2008 she was Associate Director. She also took on several other roles, including directing Théâtre La Chapelle’s award-winning 2008 production of Michael Mackenzie’s The Baroness and the Pig .
Catherine studied directing at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, as well as set design at UQÀM and at the Option-Théâtre in Ste-Thérèse. In 2018, she won the Mid-Career Artist Prize from the Faculty of Arts Foundation at UQAM.
Pénélope Bourque completed the playwriting program at the National Theatre School of Canada in 2013, then co-founded the collective Ce n’était pas du vin with Véronique Bossé, who directed her play Iseult&Evaelle – un beau conte d’amour et de mort in 2016 as well as her dance-theater play for children La chasse aux billes in 2017. In addition to devoting her time to writing and translation, she also collaborates with the company Joe Jack et John as a writer and dramaturg (Dis Merci, presented in 2018 at Espace Libre), and the producer of, among others, Abîmés – quatre courtes pièces de Samuel Beckett)
PERFORMERS AT JJJ
Edon Descollines is a visual artist, poet, dancer, and actor, and a graduate of Les Muses – Centre des arts de la scène, where he studied from 2005 to 2013. He is known for the expressive quality of his performances, for his creativity, and for committing himself, to his art, body and soul. As a professional actor-dancer, he was part of Leçons (Productions des pieds des mains), presented in 2004-2005 in Montreal and Belgium. In 2006, he had the chance to fly to Japan to present L’Ombre, a choreographic duo created by the same company. In 2010, he danced in Sylvain Émard’s Très Grand Continental at the FTA. He also appeared in Louise Archambault’s film Gabrielle (2013) and Stéphane Lafleur’sTu dors Nicole (2014). As a visual artist, he often works with Exeko, where he exhibited as part of the event Tandem Créatif in 2013 and 2014. Edon also maintains a very personal and rewarding artistic practice in poetry and drawing. (Photo: Adrienne Surprenant)
Geneviève Morin-Dupont, performer
Geneviève Morin-Dupont, a graduate in theatre from Les Muses – Centre des arts de la scène, has an impressive professional resumé. She made her debut in 1994 in the lead role of the film Un billet de loterie, a France-Québec co-production. For Les Productions des pieds des mains, she appeared in Leçons (2003), Le temps des marguerites (2006), and Pharmakon, (2011). Beloved by television audiences, Geneviève’s many appearances include Annie et ses hommes, Gang de rue, Tout sur moi and Le Négociateur. In addition to the company of Just fake it which toured to Belgium and Germany, she also participated in two earlier creations of Joe Jack and John: Quand j’étais un animal (Manuel de taxidermie) nd Ce soir l’Amérique prend son bain. As one critic described her performance in Just fake it: “…a nerve-jangling woman of contagious energy, she pronounces a surreal election speech and sways to the music of Michael Jackson. Geneviève has more than one string to her bow. One of them: a talent for acting ” (Melina Schoenborn, Gazette des femmes). In March 2011, Geneviève received the Janine-Sutto Prize “for her exemplary artistic career”. She also participated in a clown piece created by Marie-Anik Deschamps, which was presented at the Montreal Fringe Festival in June 2012. (Photo: Glauco)
Michael Nimbley, performer
Michael Nimbley has been studying theatre at Les Muses – Centre des arts de la scène since 2004. A bilingual actor (English/French), the extent of his talent was apparent in 2006 and 2008 in Le temps des marguerites, presented at Tangeante. With his ineffable charisma and singular voice, this mature actor played the lead role in Joe Jack and John’s Mimi, myself et tous ceux qui me regardent in 2009. In 2010, Michael appeared in the Cabaret Les Muses at l’Astral, playing a troubling character in an excerpt from Edward Albee’s Zoo Story alongside the actor Frédéric Lavallée, directed by Richard Gaulin. After earning his Best Actor award at the 2012 Gala des Cochons d’Or for his role in Just fake it (Joe Jack et John), he toured with the show in Rimouski, Laval, Liège and Berlin. “His onstage presence and his sincerity are disarming,” wrote Suzanne Vallières-Nolet on the website Plein Espace. Michael participated in the creation of AVALe, presented at Théâtre Aux Écuries in March 2014 and Abîmés in 2016 at Théâtre Denise-Pelletier. This last collaboration marked his fourth with Joe Jack et John, while since 2018 he is artist in residency with the company. His film credits include Eric Savoie’s Cendres, presented as part of Kino in 2007, as well as Louise Archambault’s most recent film, Gabrielle. Television roles include Annie et ses hommes. Michael is also passionate about curling.
Marc Barakat, performer
As a student at Les Muses – Centre des arts de la scène, Marc Barakat distinguishes himself by the quality of his verbal expression and onstage presence. He appeared in Ailleurs, presented by Les Muses at the Maison de la culture Mercier in March 2003, and in La Leçon (from the work of Eugène Ionesco), produced the following winter at La Chapelle by the company Des Pieds et des Mains. For Joe Jack and John he appeared in Ce soir l’Amérique prend son bain, presented at the Bain Mathieu in 2005. At the time, Le Devoir’s critic Hervé Guay wrote of Marc’s performance: “The fiery Marc Barakat plays both the host and the guest with verve.” In Go shopping (et fais le mort), Marc shared the stage with, among others, Élisabeth Chouvalidzé. More recently, he joined Pharmakon, written by Alexis Martin and directed by Menka Nagrani (Des pieds des mains), presented in 2011 at the Théâtre Gesù and in different Maisons de la culture in Montréal. In March 2012, Marc received the Janine-Sutto Prize for his artistic career. In 2012, he joined the cast of the film Gabrielle by Louise Archambault. In 2018, Marc appears in Dis merci, by Joe Kacj & John, presented at Espace Libre. (Photo: Glauco.)
Anthony Dolbec, performer
Since joining Les Muses – Centre des arts de la scène in 2003, Anthony Dolbec continues to impress with the variety of his talent. For many years, he has been a leading member of La Gang à Rambrou, an amateur theatre troupe. He quickly discovered a talent for singing, too. He loves metal and Goth and aspires to be the lead singer in a band. He has presented his unforgettable interpretation of Robert Charlebois’ song “Ordinaire” during many public events such as La Semaine québécoise des adultes en formation at Montréal’s Grande Bibliothèque in 2008. In March 2009, he took part in the third edition of La Biennale de gigue contemporaine as a performer alongside the choreographer and dancer Maïgwenn Desbois. In 2013, he could be seen in the film Gabrielle, directed by Louise Archambault. He took part in the development of the devised piece AVALe in October 2013. It was his first collaboration with Joe Jack and John. (Photo: Adrienne Surprenant.)