Last Monday 3 November, creativity, originality and not least of all laughter, featured prominently at the 5th Québec Annual Lecture (QAL). For the occasion, the Québec Government Office in London received Mr Gilbert Rozon, Founding President of the Just for Laughs Group and Chairman of Just for Laughs Theatricals (JFLT).
It came as no surprise, that so many braved the autumn rain to come to the Menier Chocolate Factory to hear the colourful account of this prominent international figure’s ascent to the heights of the world of entertainment. In 1982, Gilbert Rozon realised that every artistic discipline had its own festival – except comedy, so he set about creating one. On 14 July 1938 in Montréal, the curtain went up for the first time on what would become a huge success story: the Just for Laughs Festival, which today attracts close to 2 million visitors each summer making it the world’s largest comedy event. JFL has since amassed an impressive number of statistics, such as having over 1.5 billion YouTube hits and having its television shows broadcast in over 140 countries.
Seizing this opportunity to remind the assembly of Québec’s outstanding cultural presence in the UK, in his welcome address Québec’s Agent-General, Stéphane Paquet, recalled: “there are on average 3 performances involving Québec artists or companies, each day across the United Kingdom. Tonight, it is to this momentum and creativity that we pay tribute”.
JFLT, launched in 2013 with Montréal-born/London-based Adam Blanshay as CEO, is just about to Premier its lead produced West End musical, Made in Dagenham, on 5 November.
The Québec Government Office in London is thankful to its long standing partner Fasken Martineau, for its renewed support towards this 5th QAL.