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Performing Arts History & Criticism

National Performance

Representing Quebec from Expo 67 to Celine Dion

by (author) Erin Hurley

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2017
History & Criticism, Popular Culture
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2011
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2011
    List Price

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In National Performance, Erin Hurley examines the complex relationship between performance and national identity. How do theatrical performances represent the nation in which they were created? How is Quebecois performance used to define Quebec as a nation and to cultivate a sense of 'Quebec-ness' for audiences both within and outside the province? In exploring Expo 67, the critical response to Michel Tremblay's Les Belles Soeurs, Carbone 14's image-theatre, Marco Micone's writing practices, Celine Dion's popular music, and feminist performance of the 1970s and 80s, Hurley reveals the ways in which certain performances come to be understood as 'national' while others are relegated to sub-national or outsider status. Each chapter focuses on a particular historical moment in Quebec's modern history and a genre of performance emblematic of the moment, and uses these to elaborate the nature of the national performances.

Winner of the Northeast Modern Language Association's Book Prize, National Performance is sophisticated yet accessible, seeking to enlarge the parameters of what counts as 'Quebecois' performance, while providing a thorough introduction to changing discourses of nation-ness in Quebec.

About the author

Erin Hurley is a director of undergraduate studies and an associate professor in the Department of English at McGill University. Her teaching and research areas focus on Québécois theatre and cultural performance, national performatives, theatre historiography, performance studies, dramatic theory, twentieth-century theatre, and feminist and LGBTQ theatre. Erin has won several awards for her work, including the Pierre Savard Award and the Ann Saddlemyer Award.

Erin Hurley's profile page


  • Winner, International Council for Canadian Studies Pierre Savard Award
  • Winner, Ann Saddlemyer Award awarded by Canadian Association for Theatre Research
  • Winner, Winner of the Northeast Modern Language Association Manuscript Prize

Editorial Reviews

‘This compelling and lucidly written study makes an important contribution to Quebec and Canadian Studies, as it is certain to change the way we will henceforth recognize a performance as being "national."’

Canadian Literature

Other titles by Erin Hurley