Linda Brunelle Named Winner of the Fifth Edition of the Jovette-Marchessault Award!


May 7 2024


Prize / Recipient


Press Release

Linda Brunelle

“I am incredibly touched by this honour, which celebrates the perseverance and hard work of so many women artists, and I pledge to do everything I can to be worthy of it: to pursue my commitment to this living, fascinating and exciting art form that allows us to dream of a world where ‘freedom’ is more than just a word.”

Montréal, Monday, May 6, 2024 – The Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM) and Théâtre ESPACE GO, in collaboration with the members of the Award’s Development Committee*, are proud to announce that Linda Brunelle is the winner of the 5th edition of the Jovette-Marchessault Award. The Award recognizes and showcases the contributions of women artists to the Montréal theatre scene, with this edition focusing on women designers. The Award comes with a $20,000 cash prize, which will be presented to the winner by the Conseil.

As a partner of ESPACE GO, Air Transat will give the two other finalists, Elen Ewing and Sonoyo Nishikawa, a round-trip ticket to Paris.

Countless performing arts shows have benefited from Linda Brunelle’s considerable talent. Over the past three decades, the costume designer has built an impressive and prolific body of work that bears witness to both her know-how and her fertile imagination. Her creations speak eloquently on the stage, providing invaluable assistance to performers composing their characters.

Her expertise is chiefly sought in the theatre, where her creations can be seen in numerous productions every year. Directors Claude Poissant and Frédéric Dubois, among others, have made use of her talent in many works. Brunelle maintains a special relationship with children’s theatre, where she quickly found an audience whose openness encouraged her passion for her craft. She continues to collaborate regularly with major Québec-based companies, including Théâtre Le Carrousel and Le Clou.

Well-known figures from the worlds of dance (including the late choreographer Pierre-Paul Savoie), opera and even film have also made good use of her costume wizardry. The same goes for the circus, with Brunelle having dressed NEBBIA and ID, two Cirque Éloize shows that have toured the world. Her work has also been showcased in productions staged outside our borders, in Morocco (TOMBOUCTOU 52 JOURS À DOS DE CHAMEAU), St. Petersburg, Russia (the choreography CONVOY PQ17), Japan (GRETEL AND HANSEL) and Lille, France (SALINA).

Frequently singled out by juries, her work has earned several honours and distinctions. They include the Masque award for best costume design for SI J’AVAIS LA SEULE POSSESSION DESSUS LE JUGEMENT DERNIER from the now-defunct Académie québécoise du théâtre. Her inventive creations for TRISTAN ET YSEULT and LE REVIZOR earned her a Gascon-Roux award from Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and a public choice award from Théâtre Denise-Pelletier, respectively. In 2008, Brunelle took home the Victor-Martyn-Lynch-Staunton Award, presented by the Canada Council for the Arts in recognition of outstanding artistic achievement.

Brunelle’s work has been exhibited many times, both here and abroad. In 2019 she had the honour of representing Québec at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. This major event, which was presenting her designs for the third time in 20 years, was the perfect showcase for her substantial contribution to CHAISES, a Théâtre du Nouveau Monde show directed by Frédéric Dubois, as well as the striking costumes she imagined for LE ROYAUME DES ANIMAUX, staged by Angela Konrad at Quat’Sous. In 2015, Brunelle also took part in the Costume at the Turn of the Century 1990-2015 international exhibition held at the A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, in Moscow.

For Brunelle, who sees her fellow human beings through the lens of a sociologist or anthropologist, there’s nothing superficial about costumes: on the contrary, they reveal the characters’ true nature, making the invisible visible. Seeking to suggest rather than show, the designer shines a light on the fictional figures’ essential character and, ultimately, their humanity.

Sparked by her curiosity, her creations are rooted in diverse cultural traditions, aesthetic sensibilities and historical periods. Her inventive costumes use contemporary materials to transpose the past, boldly interweaving eras and elements and creating visual realms with surprising contrasts and a level of complexity that echoes our modern world.

Brunelle’s relationship with matter borders on the carnal. She draws on an astonishing variety of materials, juxtaposing them to create unexpected effects and sculpt the performers’ bodies. Her creations highlight her mastery of shapes, textures and colours as well as her natural intelligence in reflecting the main themes of each work.

She continues to pursue her artistic exploration of textiles with passion. Her extensive experience hasn’t stopped her from constantly refining and reimagining her artistic approach. In 2015, for example, she started a bachelor’s degree in Fibres and Material Practices at Concordia University, gleaning new perspectives on her art.

Brunelle is a consummate designer, eager to pass on her knowledge to the next generation. She has taught costume design at the National Theatre School of Canada for many years in addition to lecturing at the École supérieure de théâtre at Université du Québec à Montréal, thereby sharing her invaluable expertise.

*The members of the Prix Jovette-Marchessault Development Committee are Nahka Bertrand, Micheline Chevrier, Margarita Herrera-Dominguez, Gabe Maharjan and Marie-Eve Milot

This Conseil des arts de Montréal award was named after Jovette Marchessault in honour of a great “tuner of souls” whose work reflects her desire to bring women’s culture out of the shadows, reshape history and forge a collective memory that allows women to be role models for all. The 2024–2025 edition of the Jovette-Marchessault Award will be geared to women authors, with the call for applications starting in fall 2024.


Through various forms of assistance, the Conseil des arts de Montréal identifies, supports and recognizes artistic innovation and creative expression in all their diversity with the aim of promoting Montréal’s artists, producers and presenters. Since 1956, the Conseil has played a unique role as a catalyst for this artistic ecosystem, helping make Montréal one of the world’s great cultural metropolises.


Ever since it was founded in 1979, Théâtre ESPACE GO has been dedicated to exploring the imaginations of women artists and the ongoing development of theatre. Thanks to that mission, the company is uniquely positioned in North America and a role model on the world stage. Through her artistic choices, Ginette Noiseux shares with audiences the astonishment, disorientation and questioning sparked by the exciting ways poets and artists are reinventing the world.


  • Prix Jovette-Marchessault