The origins

Les Productions Carmagnole are born of a Carnival and festive spirit attached to this form of popular expression. At the beginning of 2000 in Montreal, a group of young emerging artists from circus, travelers and inspired by the values of community, exchange, volunteering and self-management, is questioning. With their experience in the field, they clearly perceive the limitative aspect of the conventional frame of artistic industry and its marketing. Under the cover of festivity and openness, circus arts are often hiding a ferocious competition and a constant stress. They realized that such a space of artistic and social expression that would fit their needs didn’t exist in Quebec, and decided to create it. A team built around Manu Cyr, Marie-Claude Labrecque and Andrée Lacelle, that brings together emerging members of circus arts, performing arts and community. The first Carnival Carmagnole was created with the moral, financial and technical help of appreciated contributors: Cirque du Monde and Caserne 10-30. On September 8, 2001, a joyful and colorful crowd finally gathers in Melbourne Valley, Estrie, on l’Ensoleilvent woodlot. L’Ensoleilvent is a community-based organization and partner of the region. This first edition of Carnival Carmagnole took place with the participation of more than sixty volunteering artists, some of them being renowned, and a hundred of volunteers. Almost five hundred people went to see the shows, among them two hundred children. Encouraged by this immediate success, participants and artists enthusiastically thought about making this an annual event.

To improve the operation of Carnival, a non-profit organization named Productions Carmagnole was created in 2002. Its primary mission consists in “gathering and promote local and international emerging artists of circus arts”. The activities and functioning of the organization aim at promoting the values of sharing, protection of the environment and mind-openness through community approach. With the implementation of places that allow free expression of talents, Les Productions Carmagnole promote the exchange of know-how and knowledge. Participants can then extend their artistic and technical experiences, feed their creativity and possibilities of expression. Then, between 2002 and 2005, fifth and last year of the Carnival’s edition before a six years interlude, Carnival Carmagnole kept growing, as did the number of participants. Actors of the world of circus and performance in general joined the original team. Among them: le Cochon souriant and the Théâtre de l’Aubergine. More and more craftsman and community organisms come to present their work, contributing in the event that presents itself as an ephemeral micro-society. Circus always has a special place but the artistic family grows: music, dance, puppets, theatre, makeup and plastic arts… every form of expression that, in this particular context, revives the origins of popular carnival. A loyal and growing public-performer (1200 people in 2005) comes back each year to live this unusual experience.

Nourished with those collective experiences of social and artistic exploration, Carnival Carmagnole gave birth to other events such as “Cirque Alkimic”, circus cabaret that took place twice in Montreal with a large public, the very popular “Les Érotisseries” that took place three times in Montreal and once in Sherbrooke, “Park parties”, neighborhood popular parties with a taste of carnival and, finally, the “kermesse des enfants terribles”, a traditional fair animated by colorful characters, presented in Montreal and Quebec.

In 2011, children of the emerging scene grew up but their values haven’t changed. They still want a world of free expression, opened to differences, sharing and exchanges. They are professionals but didn’t forget their origins. Carmagnole’s spirit in breathing again and is back, more vivid and alert than ever! After six years of absence, les Productions Carmagnole present the 2012 edition of their main event, Carnival Carmagnole, with the collaboration of a new partner: Mouton Village of Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu that offers an ideal environment for this event, gifted child of a growing social and artistic movement!  After the great success of the Carnival revival in 2012, les Productions Carmagnole are questioning, redefining themselves. The child is maturing. In 2013, its mission gets more precise and consists in “promoting carnival arts of local and international artists by creating spaces of discovery, free expression, exploration and exchanges”. Dreams are bigger and possibilities are infinite… the show must go on!

In 2015, you will be part of it!