Major work has been undertaken to transform the obsolete second room of the Théâtre St-Denis, in the Latin Quarter, into a hyper-modern multifunctional room with restaurant service.
“I think it will be one of the most multifunctional theaters in Canada,” says Jean-Claude Chabot, vice-president, public relations and business development at France Film, which owns and operates Saint-Denis.
Built-in sound and image studio, interactive LED walls, optical fiber, 4K projection equipment, stage with dressing rooms: in this new room, it will be possible to present a film premiere as much as to hold a webcast event, to record a TV show than presenting a traditional show.
“As for the layout, rather than being Italian-style, it will be seats with tables, like at the Théâtre Capitole in Quebec City,” explains Mr. Chabot. The room can accommodate 250 to 700 people, it will be flexible as needed. ”
Like the Il Teatro restaurant which serves the Capitol, the catering service at St-Denis 2 will be provided by an establishment which will be located on the ground floor of the old building which housed the ONF cinerobothèque, adjacent to the St-Denis. “There will be an access corridor between the two. ”
Phase 1 of this renovation project in this corner of the Latin Quarter developed nine years ago – phase 2 being the St-Denis 2 transformation -, the erection of this new six-storey building was completed in September 2020. It now houses the offices of France Film and the administrative services of UQAM, among others.
“The infrastructure of the restaurant is ready, the interior layout remains. But we are not opening a restaurant at the moment! So it will see the light of day when COVID is over, ”says Jean-Claude Chabot, who without wanting to name it speaks of a“ mid-to-high-end ”restaurant. “We no longer find that on Saint-Denis Street and we bring one back. This is the kind of clientele we are targeting. ”
The cost of the first two phases of the project is 12 million each, entirely privately financed by the Compagnie France Film. The third phase which is envisaged would be the restoration and renovation of the main hall of the Saint-Denis theater, a larger-scale project which will require public funds this time.
“We are talking about a room born in 1916, which has undergone major renovations, but never in its structure,” explains Mr. Chabot. So it would be fun to make it a magnificent venue and that is why we need talks with the government. ”
The heritage value of St-Denis 2, a former cinema – the Chevalier cinema – transformed into a performance hall during the 1970s, is much less than that of St-Denis 1, he believes. “It had been redone during the years 85-90, and poorly made. The best gift we could give him was the peak of the wreckers. ”
Room with poor acoustics, the St-Denis 2 was also used less and less often. “It was used more when there was a lack of rooms in Montreal, but in recent years it was rather quiet. ”
The schedule for completion is November 2021.