Our Team

Linda Mesnel

Linda taught French literature, Latin, Ancient Greek and History of the Arts in high schools in Paris for 10 years before moving to Chicago in 2015. Co-founder of Francophone Youth Theatre she is now FYT’s President  and coordinates the different programs of the Festival.  Linda discovered her passion for the theatre as a teenager. Since then, she has acted in various plays – from classical Greek theatre to comedies – and trained at the French Improv League. She also directed plays, in particular at the Avignon Festival for several years. In Chicago, she discovered the richness of the artistic scene as well as the enthusiasm of French learners. This led her to promote the French language and the Francophone cultures through different actions.


Renée-Claude Thériault

Renée-Claude grew up in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada and studied improv and stand-up comedy in Toronto for two years in Humber College. In January 2014, she toured French Immersion schools all across Ontario, performing a bilingual show called “O Canada!” She moved to Chicago to pursue her career in comedy. Renée-Claude wrote and now performs her One Woman Show in French called “Pardon My French!” all over the United States. At Francophone Youth Theatre, Renée-Claude coaches students and is also a trainer for teachers of French.

Laura Maïche

Laura was born in the North of France but grew up in the French Riviera. After completing a BS in Life and Earth Sciences at the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Laura studied at the University Institute for Teachers Training in Nice. She has been teaching in pre-school and elementary school for 8 years. Bilingualism is part of her private and professional life since she’s teaching French to multilingual children at EFAC, the French American School of Chicago and at the Alliance Française of Chicago.

Laura is FYT’s media assistant. She is in charge of filming our workshops and events and also monitoring of social media channels.

Hugo Duhayon

Hugo was born in Lille, France, and grew up in the beautiful landscapes of Picardy in northern France. After studying Comparative Literature, French as a Foreign Language, and Performing Arts, he decided to travel the world through teaching.

He has been teaching French for 12 years in a number of countries and institutions. Besides this, he has been coaching improv and scouring theatre festivals throughout Europe. He is also a member of the Chicago-based Frenglish improvisation group Frogprov.

Hugo joined FYT in September 2018 and he coaches students preparing the Festival.

Abigail Boucher

Abigail is a Franco-American actor and teacher.  Born and raised in France, Abigail moved to the United States in 1999. In 2002, she graduated with honors from Smith College, with a dual degree in government and theatre, and headed to Chicago. As a teacher, Abigail has led many acting workshops for teens and college students in Chicago (Goodman Theatre, Lake Forrest College) and in Paris (Lycée International de Sèvres, Artworx). At Francophone Youth Theatre, Abigail coaches students and is also a trainer for teachers of French.

More information about her acting work can be found on her website.

Our Board

Karine Deren

Karine Deren is an academic coach. She considers Chicago as her second city at heart (with Paris!). Passionate about education and personal development, she is in charge of Francophone Youth Theatre’s communication.


Fabrice Lequoy

Fabrice was born in France, Normandy. He’s been teaching in elementary school for 17 years. He moved to Chicago in 2013 to work at EFAC, the French American School of Chicago, where he enjoys being in contact with the American culture. He’s always been fond of American movies and series, so living in the US is a dream come true. He’s happy to be involved in FYTheatre as the Board Secretary. The festival is a great project to motivate American students to speak French through theatre, and Fabrice is looking forward to the second edition.

Gerald Bermond

Gerald is a postdoctoral scholar at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He is born and raised in the south of France in Nice where he did the majority of his studies. In 2013 he completed a PhD in ecology and evolution at the National Institute of Agricultural Research. During his studies and the first years of his scientist career, Gérald realized the significance of bilingualism to communicate, learn and teach. Consequently, he decided to move to the US in August 2014 to be immerged in an English-speaking country. He is very excited and enthusiastic to serve and join the FYT team.

Christine Bouchend’homme

A native of Schaumburg, IL, Christine graduated from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with a bachelor’s degree in International Business. She lived in Paris for several years, studying at the University of Paris, and later working for the International Herald Tribune. She returned to Chicago with her husband in 2000. They now live in Lincoln Park, with their daughter Maya. Christine is actively involved at her daughter’s school, and among the French community here in Chicago.