Acadian play in English gets $100K funding

A production of the popular Acadian play La Sagouine is getting almost $100,000 in government funding to promote its performances in English.

A production of the popular Acadian play La Sagouine is getting almost $100,000 in government funding to promote its performances in English.

Le Pays de la Sagouine's new English version of La Sagouine has been outdrawing the French original. (CBC)

Le Pays de la Sagouine historic site in Bouctouche, N.B., began putting on an English version of La Sagouine earlier this year, and assistant general manager Steve Landry says each show is attracting more than 200 people, outdrawing performances in French at the site.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency says $91,500 in funding will be used for development and promotion of the translation. It's the first extensive English programming offered to anglophone visitors of the historic site.

The play's popularity is attracting more anglophones to the site generally, Landry said.

The money will be used for more newspaper ads and roadside billboards. Landry said it's all part of promoting the site to people of both official languages.

The agency will follow up with English visitors during the off-season to see what worked and didn't work this summer, Landry said.

Le Pays de la Sagouine historic site, which is in Premier Shawn Graham's riding, was the target of arsonists in 2008, with the restaurant and theatre destroyed by a fire that caused $4 million in damage. The federal and provincial governments vowed to help the site rebuild, and it was reopened in 2009.

La Sagouine was written by Antonine Maillet and published in 1971. The play is a collection of monologues delivered by an Acadian washerwoman.

Former senator Viola Léger has performed the famous role over 1,400 times, in English and French, and has toured nationally and abroad with the piece.