Riverside’s French teachers are always looking for new ways to immerse students in the French culture, such as going on an annual trip to France and having guest speakers. Recently, the French immersion program introduced a program called “Projet Pont” that lets French Immersion students watch French plays for free. The plays are hosted by La Théâtre Seizième in Vancouver. The students saw their first play on Thursday, November 22. Seven grade 11 and 12 French Immersion students attended with host teachers Mr. Kevin Tao and Ms. Helaine Lo.

The four French plays part of the “Projet Pont” program

Grade 11 student, Kaitlyn Nguyen attended the play on Thursday. “I want to be a French teacher in the future, and I think that watching these plays will help build my French comprehension skills, and my knowledge of French culture and expressions, something that I would not be able to learn in a classroom. I think these plays are a very good opportunity for French immersion students,” said Nguyen.

Host teacher, Tao, thinks that these plays benefit students in several ways. “Firstly, students have the opportunity to use their French outside of the classroom in an authentic setting. This becomes an experience that validates all the work they’ve put in over the years to learn another language. Secondly, the language that is used expands the knowledge they’ve already developed, and typically leads to a greater appreciation of the French language and Francophone culture. The plays will features new accents, new vocabulary, and more use of typical day-to-day language than what we may see in the classroom.”
The stage at the theatre.

The play that was shown on Thursday is called “Chotto Desh.” It is a one-man show about the childhood of a person stuck between French and Bengal cultures and his difficult family dynamics growing up. The play was full of interpretive dance and a deep story that was easy to follow along. Riverside students found the play intriguing and interesting to watch. There will be a few other plays that are a part of the program that the students will be attending at the theater at the SFU campus in downtown Vancouver, including “Le soulier” and “Simon a toujour aimé danser.”

French immersion is not simply about speaking the French language and learning grammar rules, it’s about understanding, and immersing students in the culture. Seeing plays in French, based off of French stories, is one of the best ways to do that.

Header photo courtesy of: La Theatre Seizieme