Machine de Cirque has signed a 3-year agreement to rent the Saint-Charles de Limoilou Church. 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 La Fabrique de la paroisse de Saint-François-de-Laval. It is also working on a business plan to promote the church, optimize its use in respect of its great heritage value and guarantee 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 could immediately accommodate two large-scale productions at the same time. The chapel behind the high alter will also be set up to accommodate smaller-scale productions. Other types of productions will also be able to take advantage of this facility: theatre, dance, photography, video productions, etc. Eventually, teams from three productions of various scales will be able to rehearse simultaneously in the church.
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, digital arts, video games, etc. – can meet, exchange ideas and create in order to enhance their art.
In addition to circus shows, other creative industries in the region will have an opportunity to explore the site’s verticality, use the rooms with high ceilings and benefit from a discreet and removable hanging system that will eventually be installed to hang objects and sets, make characters fly, present projections on large surfaces, etc.
In addition to its high ceilings, the building contains a variety of smaller rooms with various layouts. These rooms will serve as outstanding creation labs for a multitude of 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 presentations as part 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 showcased. 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 plan will allow the Saint-Charles de Limoilou Church to be preserved, 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, artistic and heritage hub will be the pride of the neighbourhood.
To oversee the fulfillment of this large-scale project, Machine de Cirque has founded a new non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and harmonious development of the church: the Centre de creation Limoilou.