“I like to dream that it’s a bit like The Cavern, where the Beatles started. We’re packed, we’re together, but something solid is going on. Vincent Léonard, new co-owner of an art school and an 80-seat performance hall in Sainte-Thérèse, the “Palette Denis Drolet”, has big ambitions for L’Urlu.
Vincent Léonard had had the project of his own theater school in the back of his mind for a long time. “I really like this idea of spreading the happiness of acting, acting and improvising,” he says.
As teenagers, he and Sébastien Dubé (the bearded Denis) attended the theater school Ateliers En Jeux in Sainte-Thérèse. “We met some of our current friends there, including Frédéric Pierre,” says Vincent. Many of our friends are from there. There is a sense of belonging.”
When one of her then-boyfriends died suddenly last year, Vincent decided to return to this theater he hadn’t set foot in for 20 years. “I remembered how magical it was and how important this place is to thrive if you have an atypical character or artistic desires.”
Vincent wanted to enroll his own children and was told by the principal, Diane Gendron, that she was selling and was looking for someone to take over the school. “She kept the lighthouse for 33 years. She thought she was getting a little too old to continue.
After talking to his wife Karine Daoust, Vincent Léonard decided to put her in charge of the school and the theatre. Already engaged in the organization of all kinds of events, his wife not only led part of Denis’ career, but also threw herself headlong into the adventure.
“It was my idea to buy this, but she went along with it and said she wanted to get involved,” says Vincent of his wife, with whom he has shared his life since they were 15. She is the manager of the school. She is the one who manages everything, she is the one who sets everything in motion. She is wonderful.
And where does the name L’Urlu come from? “I wanted it to stand out, to have something punchy and to like it,” says Vincent. We hired a specialist there. When he asked me why I couldn’t make up the name myself, I replied that I wanted it to be popular while also representing myself. If it had been up to me, I would have called it a home tiger. It would have been everything! [rires]»
“There’s this Captain Haddock swear word (“gang of madmen!”) that I really liked, which is very illustrated and depicts our band of broken and atypical madmen. […] We also thought there was some truth to the pun “howl”. It’s noisy [bruyant]who have favourited Denis Drolets. I’m a loud person who doesn’t go unnoticed. I thought it represented us.”
His mother’s dream
At the L’Urlu Formation school we offer theater and musical theater courses for 7 to 77 year olds. “They even say it’s for 7 to 107 year olds because we have people over 80 who have just done amazing productions,” says Vincent.
Even the comedian’s own mother attended a play two weeks ago. “My mother always dreamed of doing theatre. At 71, she appeared in a play and got the house going! It’s really aimed at enthusiasts, people who want to excel or just the curious.
Actor Réal Bossé works regularly with the school. This summer he will be giving improv workshops at the day camp. “He’s flipped the shop and comes by regularly,” says Vincent.
A place of experimentation
Adjacent to the school is a Protestant church dating back to 1858 which has been converted into a very intimate venue. “We want to do great business there,” says Vincent, who wants to make it a place to experiment.
“I want poetry and theater that’s a bit odd. Humorous I want to get new beetles people who needed a place like the Denis Drolet in the beginning.
Comedian Jean-Michel Martel will present a new comedy evening there in autumn. “I think it’s a beautiful satellite that has been orbiting Denis for a long time. He now has his own universe and will make his humorous evenings a little different with his color.
The Denis Drolet, who both live on the north coast, will also use this space to rehearse their next show. “There are also some moments from our podcast [Rince-Crème] We will shoot there. We think that the church institution is sick.
A family project
Always wanting to direct for other artists, Vincent Léonard will direct Mona de Grenoble’s new show, he tells us. “I daresay we might think about some material there [à l’Urlu], he said. It’s such a place. It is a beautiful multifunctional space that we can design as we wish.
Vincent Léonard and his wife also like to project themselves into the future, telling themselves that L’Urlu will serve their three children.
“All three have an artistic side,” says Vincent. My 16 year old daughter [Juliette] aspires to enter the Conservatory of Music. She already teaches music theory groups at my school. She likes the organization very much and wants to get involved. My Eliot [14 ans] makes television and improvisation. And my youngest [Rémi] is already a musician, he plays Led Zeppelin and Metallica. He’s 10 years old and he really likes the idea of being there and making friends.