Viola LegerWhen an author and a character meets an interpreter, that’s how the magic operates! That's the story behind La Sagouine. Antonine Maillet created a masterpiece by writing La Sagouine, but who would have thought that this larger-than-life character would succeed, thanks to the talent of Madame Viola Léger, to touch the collective memory of a whole people!

Surprisingly, Ms. Léger became an actress almost by accident, all thanks to Antonine Maillet who gave her the title role in La Sagouine. Thus was born a legendary character, a humble Acadian housekeeper who tells her hectic life with humour and dignity. She performed the piece for the first time in 1971 and then, in both official languages, in Canada, the United States and France. His performance earned him the Dora Mavor Moore Award. Since 1993, she spent her summers in the Pays de la Sagouine, where she played her character.

In addition to La Sagouine, Ms. Léger has played in various plays, including from Michel Tremblay, Michel Garneau, Tennessee Williams and Federíco Garcia Lorca. In 2001, the Académie québécoise du théâtre awarded her the Best Actress Mask for her performance in Grace and Gloria by Tom Ziegler.

Ms. Léger was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1989. Her singular talent has earned her many awards and honours: the 1995 New Brunswick Government's Award of Excellence in the Arts, Order of the New Brunswick -Brunswick in 2007 and four honorary doctorates. She was named Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of France in 1991, member of the Order of Francophones of America in 1998 and Knight of the Order of the Pléiade in 2004. From 2001 to 2006, Ms. Léger sat in the Senate, where she emphasized the importance of artists in our society.

Viola gave life to La Sagouine and by the same token, she gave in her way hope to Acadia ... all of a sudden, on a stage, there was a character shouting with truth who said aloud what that people thought in a whisper. Viola Léger did not play the Sagouine, she was the Sagouine.

In addition, Viola has inspired several generations of artists to choose the arts as a trade, a theatre teacher for many years, Ms. Léger has transmitted her love of the stage and the sacred to the majority of artists that can be seen on different Acadian scenes and elsewhere today.
Ms. Léger retired from public life in 2017.

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