Le Pays de la Sagouine expands English services after rise in anglophone visitors

·2 min read
Le Pays de la Sagouine, in the eastern New Brunswick town of Bouctouche, presents theatrical and musical performances inspired by Acadian author Antonine Maillet. (Radio-Canada/New Brunswick Government - image credit)
Le Pays de la Sagouine, in the eastern New Brunswick town of Bouctouche, presents theatrical and musical performances inspired by Acadian author Antonine Maillet. (Radio-Canada/New Brunswick Government - image credit)

Le Pays de la Sagouine is widening its English services after COVID-19 brought more Anglophone visitors to the Acadian theatre village in eastern New Brunswick.

The Bouctouche attraction previously offered English guided tours but will now present four English performances every day.

"What we wanted was for our anglophone visitors to be immersed in something that's more what we're all about, like the storytelling, and the theatre and the music," said Monique Poirier, the assistant general manager of Le Pays de la Sagouine.

"This is step one for us. We have a vision that's much larger than what we're going to present this summer, for the whole site and for our anglophone visitors."

Le Pays de la Sagouine presents theatrical and musical performances inspired by the work of renowned Acadian author Antonine Maillet. She was most famous for her book and play, La Sagouine, which tells the story of a cleaning lady from rural New Brunswick.

Emilien Cormier is an actor with Le Pays de la Sagouine who plays the character Thaddée. He will perform in the village's daily English shows.
Emilien Cormier is an actor with Le Pays de la Sagouine who plays the character Thaddée. He will perform in the village's daily English shows. (Submitted by Le Pays de la Sagouine)

Poirier said the village normally sees about 60,000 visitors every year, but that number dropped to about 10,000 last season because of COVID-19.

About 90 per cent of visitors before COVID were francophone tourists from Quebec, Ontario and northern United States. Last season, anglophones made up about 40 per cent of visitors.

"Last summer was the summer we welcomed the most English-speaking visitors because New Brunswickers were visiting New Brunswick," Poirier said. "So we decided we were going to get the ball rolling on this project."

The English performances will be included in the 2021 summer season, offered Wednesday to Sunday beginning June 27 until September.

The new offering also includes four English performances at the village's children's theatre.

Abel Cormier, a musician with Le Pays de la Sagouine for over 25 years, plays the character Walk Alone and will perform in the English shows.
Abel Cormier, a musician with Le Pays de la Sagouine for over 25 years, plays the character Walk Alone and will perform in the English shows. (Submitted by le Pays de la Sagouine)

Poirier said the village will continue widening its English services n hopes of seeing more anglophone visitors in the coming years.

It was "such a great surprise," she said, to see anglophones taking in Le Pays de la Sagouine for the first time.

Le Pays de la Sagouine employs five to eight full-time staff and 150 part-time employees in the summer. Seasonal staff have dropped significantly during COVID-19, but Poirier hopes the village will be back to normal in 2022.

The village is a non-profit operation partially funded by the New Brunswick government.

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