I am William / Je Suis William

by Rébecca Déraspe, translated by Leanna Brodie

A theatre le Clou Production, co-presented with Théâtre la Seizième

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Feb 13 - 17, 2024
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Waterfront Theatre
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Age Recommendation
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Running Time
65 minutes

(Please check back soon for more updates !)

Vocal Eye Live Description
ASL Interpretation
Relaxed Performances
Mask Mandatory Performance
February 17, 2024 3:00 PM

Show Information

“There are many true stories of talented and successful women that never got told because of how we have historically limited opportunity for certain people and because of who was writing the history books. This play allows young people to have the opportunity to see themselves in the hero and in doing so, see that they could be that person in the history books.” –Lauren Gienow, Broadway World

Margaret Shakespeare has a dazzling talent for writing, which she yearns to put to serious use. But in an age that is lethally suspicious of female intellect and literacy, the place of a girl is at home doing chores. How can she fulfill her ambitions and still survive? Fortunately, she has a brother, William, who isn’t much of a writer but who wants to make it as an actor – and friends in high places have just the role for him.

Tapping into our fascination with the enigma of William Shakespeare’s life and how he came to write those plays – and the speculation about whether he really did – this lighthearted yet genuinely passionate interweaving of comedy, song and poetic fancy spins a playful and witty yarn that will delight younger audiences and adults alike.

The sixteenth century becomes becomes a magnifying glass of our times. Because today, being a boy or a girl still dictates a part of the path to follow.

For more information about the I Am William FRENCH performances on Feb 13 10AM & 1PM, Feb 15 at 1PM and Feb 16 at 7PM, please visit https://seizieme.ca/fr/spectacles/je-suis-william/


Show warnings: haze, loud sounds, gender based discrimination

Show Schedule

Public Performances

Sat, Feb 17 | 11:00AM

Sat, Feb 17 | 3:00PM - Mask Mandatory Performance

School Performances

Wed, Feb 14 | 10:00AM

Wed, Feb 14 | 1:00PM

Thurs, Feb 15 | 10:00AM

Cast & Creative


William: Simon Labelle-Ouimet and Jonathan Caron (alternating)

Margaret: Édith Arvisais and Gabrielle Gourd (alternating)

Narrator: Renaud Paradis, Norman Carrière, and Guillaume Rodrigue (alternating)

Musician: Benoit Landry and Jean-François De Bellefeulle (alternating)

Play and lyrics by Rébecca Déraspe

Directed by  Sylvain Scott

Music and environmental sound by Benoit Landry Chloé Lacasse

Assistant Direction by Dominique Cuerrier

Dramaturgy by Paul Lefebvre (from CEAD)

Costume Design by Linda Brunelle

Lighting Design by Luc Prairie

Choreography by Monik Vincent

Chandelier design and construction by Nathalie Trépanier

Makeup by François Cyr

Wigs by Géraldine Courchesne

Production and Technical direction by Semuel Thériault

Supplemental Reading List

This Book List is generously created by our friends at Massy Books.
Please note that CTYP does not thoroughly investigate the books listed.

Once There Was
Kiyash Monsef

Age: 10+ years 

Description: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them meets Neil Gaiman in this striking and heartfelt novel about an Iranian American girl who discovers that her father was secretly a veterinarian to magical creatures—and that she must take up his mantle, despite the many dangers.

Themes: subverting inequitable systems, kindness to animals, grief, loss, coming-of-age

A Girl Called Echo
Katherena Vermette

Age: 12+ years 

Description: Métis teenager Echo Desjardins is struggling to adjust to a new school and a new home. When an ordinary history class turns extraordinary, Echo is pulled into a time-travelling adventure. Follow Echo as she experiences pivotal events from Métis history and imagines what the future might hold.

Themes: Alternative perspectives on history, Indigenous history, Canadian history, Indigenous retelling

This Place: 150 Years Retold
Alicia Elliott

Age: 12+ years 

Description: Explore the past 150 years in what is now Canada through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

Themes: Alternative perspectives on history, Canadian history, Indigenous wisdom, Indigenous storytelling, Indigenous history

Teach the Torches to Burn: A Romeo & Juliet Remix
Caleb Roehrig

Age: 13+ years 

Description: Verona, Italy. Seventeen-year-old aspiring artist Romeo dreams of a quiet life with someone who loves him just as he is. But as the heir to the Montague family, he is expected to give up his "womanly" artistic pursuits and uphold the family honor—particularly in their centuries-old blood feud with a rival family, the Capulets. Worse still, he is also expected to marry a well-bred girl approved by his parents and produce heirs. But the more Romeo is forced to mingle with eligible maidens, the harder it is to keep his deepest secret: He only feels attracted to other boys.

Themes: Shakespeare retelling, queer love, gender roles

To Shape A Dragon’s Breath
Moniquill Blackgoose

Age: 14+ years 

Description: The remote island of Masquapaug has not seen a dragon in many generations—until fifteen-year-old Anequs finds a dragon’s egg and bonds with its hatchling.  Unfortunately for Anequs, the Anglish conquerors of her land have a very specific idea of how a dragon should be raised, and who should be doing the raising. Only with great reluctance do they allow Anequs to enroll in a “proper Anglish” dragon schoo. If she cannot succeed there, her dragon will be killed.  Anequs is smart, determined, and resolved to learn what she needs to help her dragon, even if it means teaching herself. The one thing she refuses to do, however, is become the meek Anglish miss that everyone expects.

Anequs and her dragon may be coming of age, but they’re also coming to power, and that brings an important realization: the world needs changing—and they might just be the ones to do it.

Themes: subverting inequitable systems, gender inequality, colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, residential schools, racial inequality, indentured servitude, neurodivergence, human impacts on the environment, relationships with land

Alex Gino

Age: 8-12 years

Description: When people look at Melissa, they think they see a boy named George. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

Melissa thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. Melissa really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part... because she's a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, Melissa comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Themes: Gender roles, gender identity, allyship, friendship, being yourself, creative expression

SJ Sindu

Age: 8-12 years 

Description: A fierce, feminist, and fun middle grade fantasy graphic novel about a twelve-year-old Indian American girl named Shakti who must learn the power of her ancestral magic if she wants to save her family and town from a dangerous curse.

Themes: Family, bullying, found family, subverting inequitable systems, female empowerment

Mehndi Boy
Zain Bandali

Age: 6-11 years 

Description: The first time Tehzeeb tries mehndi, his passion for the art form blossoms. Soon, he’s creating designs for all his friends and family, and dreams of becoming the most in-demand mehndi artist in town. So Tez is hurt and confused when his favorite uncle tells him mehndi isn’t for boys. When a crisis before his cousin’s wedding puts his talents to the test, Tehzeeb must find the courage to be his true creative self.

Themes: Gendered norms, creative exploration, self-acceptance, family

Ironhead, or, Once a Young Lady
Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem

Ages: 12+ 

Description:  Eighteen-year-old Constance is not interested in marriage or in being a “young lady.” But for a young woman coming of age in the early 1800s, that’s just about all that’s available to her. When her parents arrange her a marriage with a man more than twice her age, she’s powerless to resist. Stance couldn’t possibly find her newfound husband less appealing, but what can she do?

Here’s what:

Four months into the marriage, she can slip out of their bed in the middle of the night, and she can put on his clothes. She can look in the mirror and like what she sees. She can sneak out of the house before dawn and visit the baker’s scrawny son, who has just been drafted into the army, and offer to take his place.  

Themes: Gender roles, gender inequality, feminism, female empowerment, equality, courage, being yourself

In Other Lands
Sarah Rees Brennan

Description: Elliot is thirteen years old. When his class goes on a field trip and he can see a wall that no one else can see, he is given the chance to go to school in the Borderlands. The Borderlands aren’t like anywhere else.  There are elves, harpies, and — best of all as far as Elliot is concerned — mermaids.  It turns out that on the other side of the wall, classes involve a lot more weaponry and fitness training and fewer mermaids than he expected.  There’s even the chance Elliot might be able to change the world.  A hilarious, tender, and magical coming-of-age journey that will surely melt your heart! 

Themes: Self-acceptance, friendship, gender roles/gender role reversal, being different, queerness

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