The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Alain Pare Mr. Alain Pare

CINARS (Conference Internationale des Arts de la Scene)
This international arts market is held every two years in November in Montreal, Quebec Province, Canada. CINARS primary purpose is to promote Canadian performing arts on the world market. It is composed of “Platforms” and “Forums.” The Platform features about 30 showcases by artists from various countries in the fields of dance, theater, music and multidisciplinary arts. There is also an exhibition room with 150 booths (companies). The Forum includes study sessions and workshops in the performing arts areas. CINARS activities are based on networking and it’s an opportunity for professionals to meet and exchange information. During the CINARS Platform, there are also independent performances known as Off-CINARS. Off-CINARS performances are shown all around the city of Montreal (approximately 30 venues) attracting many presenters from all around the world.
Presenter Interview
CINARS, over a quarter of a century  The vision and accomplishments of founder Alain Pare 
CINARS (International Exchange for the Performing Arts) is an international arts market held every two years in the city of Montreal, province of Quebec, Canada. Founded twenty-five years ago in 1984, the initial mission was to promote Canadian artists in the development of overseas markets. Since then, CINARS has grown to become one of the world’s largest scale performing arts markets, attracting over 1,000 participants from all around the world including artists, agents and presenters from about 60 countries. We spoke with the founder, Alain Pare about CINARS’ development and the role it has played over the years.
(Interview: Kyoko Yoshida, Director, U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network, Inc.)

CINARS developing markets overseas

CINARS is now an internationally known performing arts market that was founded in Montreal, Quebec Province in 1984. Can you begin by telling us how it came to be founded originally?

At the time CINARS was founded, there was a crucial need for non-profit support and to promote artists in the performing arts in Canada. Canada is the second largest country in the world by total area, but we only have a population of 34 million habitants. USA is much more smaller but the country has a population of more than 300 million habitants, so it has enough demands to support the arts and the show business industry. With the exception of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver don’t have market or funds to support such business. Even in Montreal, the audience is only large enough for example to fill six performances of Robert Lepage’s newest creation. Because of this limited audience and demands, we had to find ways for our artists to survive and cultivate overseas markets.
 So we have created CINARS and brought in presenters and program planners from abroad to see our artists’ works. This formula was very successful and numerous companies and artists such as La La La Human Steps and Robert Lepage attracted a lot of attention and obtained invitations to perform overseas. We were very surprised to see the response exceeded our expectations.
Nowadays there is a strong demand for Canadian artists overseas, to the extent that they less perform in Canada. So now, the domestic market is like a laboratory for artists such as Robert Lepage and La La La Human Steps and other dance companies to develop works that will tour abroad.

Was the founding of CINARS the result of an initiative by the city of Montreal?
Creating CINARS was my own private initiative. At the time I was president of the French Association in Montreal, the initiative came out from discussions we had about the need for such a platform. Fortunately, at the time, I was very close with the Quebec Minister of Culture and he was very interested to support the artists. For example, he gave the first million-dollar grant to Cirque du Soleil because he has seen their potential and it was an important company to support. Eventually, Quebec government support CINARS as well. In the beginning, we were very small scales market. The first editions, we had about 50 people coming in from five to six countries. Then, it grows a lot and I’ve become so busy that I’ve decided to sell my company and concentrate full-time on CINARS’ development.

What were you doing up until the time you started CINARS?
I went to the University of Montreal and I’ve studied communications and marketing. Before, I was an agent and promoter and I’ve represented some artists. I had my own agency and production company and at the time, I produced about 400 shows a year. I had a big team and we have done a lot of projects in Canada and abroad. But after a number of years we decided that we needed a platform like CINARS to help our company tour abroad. At the time we have created CINARS I was young and naïve and didn’t know what I was getting into. I just dived into a strange adventure. (Laughs)

Quebec Province is the French-speaking part of Canada and traditionally there is a strong concern for preserving and nurturing the language and cultural heritage. Is that related to the birth of CINARS?
Yes. In the beginning of CINARS, we saw artists in the English-speaking part of Canada created works that looked mostly like copies of American artists’ works. In response to that, Quebec dance choreographers, actors and playwrights were saying that they were different, their influences were primarily French and European. From that point, we decided that we couldn’t be the same, we needed to be different and really original if we wanted to compete with the dominant American trends. Cirque du Soleil is a good example of company that was born of this vision. When they created the company, they said they were going to be different from conventional circuses, they were not going to feature animals, and they were going to adopt innovative choreographies. That’s why Cirque du Soleil became so popular. In the field of dance, Quebec was the first to really change the trends with companies like La La La Human Steps, O VERTIGO and Compagnie Marie Chouinard. I remember, when I first saw their works, I was shocked because it was so different from the original dance model we had. I thought that no one would accept that style of dance and no presenters would try to book it. However, these dance companies ended up creating great new demands, perhaps because the younger generation was looking for that kind of new artistic expression. People were a bit tired of the conventional classical arts like Ballet and orchestra—that is not to say that the classical arts are not good—but people were more interested in new expression and creation. When presenters came to CINARS and saw these performances, the response was great. They said: “We don’t have anything like this in our country. We have to have this in our festival.”

Would you say that such direction created a new identity for the arts of Quebec?
Yes. The rest of Canada recognized that the artists from Quebec were really different, and couldn’t be compared to what they were doing. Today, about 70% of our artists touring overseas are from Montreal. Of course, the provincial government of Quebec has provided tremendous financial support for the creation and production of new artistic expression and this is part of the results. Proportionately, that Quebec investment was more important than the rest of Canada provinces. The other provinces of Canada have not made a long-term investment in the arts, and that has made a big difference for the Quebec artists.
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |