Le Hibou was graced by performances from many fine actors, some amateurs , others well established, some of whom went on to become professionals. To name a few: Elsa Pickthorne, Pierrette Vachon, Johni Keyworth, Gerard Gravelle, who became a CBC radio announcer, Charlotte Gobeil, who hosted her own show on the CBC, Huguette Beaucaire-White, and George Tremblay, who worked at the CBC then went to London to work at the BBC. John Palmer came on the scene first as an actor, then went on as a director and script writer and attracted a strong following. Luba Goy performed regularly in John’s productions and even provided voice and hand for children’s puppet theatre with the Little Owl Children’s Theatre, though not with Noreen Young Puppets. I had the opportunity to direct Luba in “Three Actors and their Drama” by Michel De Guelderode as well as in “Play without Words” by Samuel Beckett.
Saul Rubinek was also part of the John Palmer menagerie, and he went on to become not only an actor in theatre but also a film actor in Hollywood. He was a teen when he first arrived at Le Hibou, and he took his newly found role very seriously. I recall an amusing incident when I asked the cast of the upcoming production to put up posters for the play. Saul countered haughtily that he was “an actor and actors do not put up posters.” I was of course shocked and could only reply that, if he wanted an audience for the play, he needed to put up some posters. He reluctantly took a few posters but I’m not sure if they were posted!
Always concerned about a balance between French and English, Le Hibou sponsored many French productions. Edgard Demers (who was also theatre critic for Le Droit) directed our first French play, “La Leçon,” by Eugene Ionesco. And of course, we had very good press at Le Droit, not only for theatre but for all of our other performances thanks to Edgard. Gilles Provost, actor and director, also mounted many plays for Le Hibou, some plays in English and some in French, including “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tenessee Williams and “Les jumeaux etincelants” by Rene de Obaldia. Later he became a full-time theatre director of Le theatre de l’ile for the City of Hull (Gatineau). Jean Herbiet, who taught theatre at the University of Ottawa, also directed many plays for us, such as “Miss Julie” by August Strindberg. He later became French theater director for the NAC.
In 1965 I brought in a Montreal satirical revue called “On le prend pas,” featuring a Quebecois comedian Gilbert Chenier, originally from Hull, but now quite well known on the Montreal scene. Clemence Desrochers was part of the group as well as Yvon Deschamps, and it was then that Yvon started to do his inimitable hilarious monologues, satirizing Quebec culture and all human foibles. He later became the most celebrated of Quebec stand-up comics.