François Girard

François Girard's career began with directing art videos. His output then became increasingly narrative and in time led to full-length features (Thirty-two Short Films about Glenn Gould, The Red Violin, Silk). Theatre, opera and now Cirque du Soleil have joined the list. "Like Cirque, I like to mix media, but my work has remained essentially the same: I try to rally artists around an idea and present the results to the public."

As stage director, François is currently working on the creation of a resident show to be presented in Tokyo starting in fall 2008.

  • François Girard
  • Montreal
  • Film and Stage Director

What is your approach with the actors working on Cirque projects?
Whether with Cirque du Soleil or elsewhere, my approach is always the same: I ask myself who they are, how they work and what stimulates them. But the method differs with every artist, every singer, and so on. It is the stage director who needs to adapt to the performer, not the other way around.

What is the most interesting aspect of working with actors who come from different walks of life and have different ethnic backgrounds? What are the challenges?
I am used to working with artists from everywhere. I find it fascinating to see the many ways people can learn a trade, absorbing so many different methods and influences. In that respect, I am well prepared for a Cirque production.

How would you describe your creative philosophy?
I like to start with an idea, a text, or a character that I then serve. I try to be a gardener who plants a seed and helps it grow with water and light. I can let the seed become a tree but I can ' t decide what that tree will be. All that is encoded in the seed. All you need to do is dig a little before eventually seeing the light. That ' s about it...

How do you see the role played by actors and the role of acting in Cirque du Soleil ?
Cirque's greatest success can be attributed to a meeting of acrobatics and dramatics. Who are the actors? Who are the acrobats? What is their contribution? In my show, I try to blur the line as much as possible so that we are left unsure of who is who and who contributed to what. This is one lesson that I learned from Franco Dragone's shows.

What do you find most stimulating about working in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil ?
The sense of celebration; the public's expectation of a magical adventure; working in Japan , a country that I love, amid a culture I find most stimulating.