Machine de Cirque has signed a 3-year agreement to rent the Saint-Charles de Limoilou Church with La Fabrique de la paroisse de Saint-François-de-Laval. This agreement, which includes an option to purchase the building, will enable the Company to bring together all of its creative and management activities under one roof.
Alongside its regular activities, Machine de Cirque is currently pursuing its efforts to restore the church in close collaboration with the Fabrique. It is also working on a business plan to promote the church, optimize its use in respect of its great heritage value and ensure it is accessible to the entire community.
This plan will ensure the church will be preserved and allow for harmonious development. Here are the three lines of action under study:
1 - A place to create:
Circus practice requires a lot of space, very high ceilings and the installation of anchor points to attach various equipment.
Given its dimensions, the building’s nave is the ideal place to create circus shows. It can immediately accommodate two large-scale productions at the same time. In addition, the installation of discreet and removable anchor points at strategic locations will eventually make it possible to attach mobile equipment and safety ropes. The chapel behind the high alter will also be set up to accommodate smaller-scale productions. In a later development phase, an additional creation room will be set up in the rood screen. Eventually, teams from three circus productions of various scales will be able to rehearse simultaneously in the church. Other types of productions will also be able to take advantage of this facility: theatre, dance, photography, video productions, etc.
Machine de Cirque’s goal is to design a site that is adapted to the circus arts where creators from all backgrounds – circus, theatre, dance, music, visual arts, etc. – can meet, exchange ideas and create in order to enhance their art.
The building in fact contains a variety of rooms, some of which could never be used for circus practice. These rooms will serve as outstanding creation labs for other art forms.
2 - A space for promotion and outreach:
The church will serve as a place for exchanges of ideas and outreach. The creators who work there will have an opportunity to invite the public to witness the fruits of their work, whether in the form of creation residencies, laboratories, exhibits, album launches, etc. This will be a place where artists can take risks, test new ideas and discuss with the public. These meetings can take place in the church, on its forecourt or in its historic wooded area. Meeting after meeting, the community will rediscover this site under a new light. Tailor-made artistic performances showcasing the beauty of the place (e.g. in situ shows or art tours) could also become part of the cultural offering of this unconventional creative site.
3 - Showcasing the heritage:
The architectural elements of interest and objects of heritage value will be identified and showcased: every item will be listed in a directory. Activities such as exhibits, art tours, shows or guided tours will be organized in an effort to open the site to the community and provide an opportunity to learn more about the history of Limoilou.
This three-pronged development will allow the Saint-Charles de Limoilou Church to be preserved with few modifications, to be enhanced, to reach out to the community, to provide exposure to Québec City artists, and to once again become a gathering place for the inhabitants of the Old Limoilou district. By becoming a place of great cultural value, its heritage will become more alive than ever. This cultural, heritage and artistic hub will be the pride of the neighbourhood.