News & Announcements
At the Grand Re-opening of the new NAC with Diane Obam Dallaire and Samuel. Happy Summer! Our new season begins October 10!
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES OPENS THE NEW NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE ON CANADA DAY
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales today cut a ribbon to officially open the spectacular new glass atrium at the National Arts Centre in the presence of His Excellency David Johnston, dignitaries, artists, architects, construction workers, NAC staff, patrons and members of the public.
In a ceremony hosted by Canadian actor Colm Feore, the Prince was joined by Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly; Mayor Jim Watson; NAC Board Chair Adrian Burns; NAC President and CEO Peter Herrndorf; Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations; Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; the Honourable Hilary Weston and Mr. Galen Weston, Honorary Patrons of the NAC’s Grand re-opening; Principal Architect Donald Schmitt and Project Architect Jennifer Mallard (Diamond Schmitt Associates); Project Director Andrew Wisniowski; Jim Dougan, President, Eastern Canada, PCL Construction; Alexander Shelley, Music Director of the NAC Orchestra; Cathy Levy, Executive Producer of Dance; Kevin Loring, incoming Artistic Director of the NAC’s new Indigenous Theatre; Heather Moore, Executive Producer of Canada Scene; and Algonquin elder Annie Smith St-Georges.
The ribbon was also cut by 150 people, including NAC staff and construction workers from PCL Constructors, who have worked for 18 months to complete the project, and NAC subscribers. The ceremony featured performances by Quebec music superstar Gregory Charles, jazz singer Dione Taylor, NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley with members of the NACO Brass, the Yukon’s Dakhká Khwáan Dancers, as well as young dancers from Propeller Dance and the National Ballet School of Canada.
“It’s a proud day in the life of the National Arts Centre,” said NAC President and CEO Peter Herrndorf. “Today the NAC embraces the heart of our Nation’s Capital, and emerges from its original concrete structure into an open and modern public building, a place that we hope will become the living room of the city.”
Designed by renowned Canadian architect Donald Schmitt, the renewed NAC will feature improved performance spaces, public areas for education and events, full accessibility for people with mobility challenges. Its magnificent glass atrium and signature architectural feature – the “Kipnes Lantern” located over the Centre’s Elgin Street entrance – are transparent, inviting, and embrace the heart of our Nation’s Capital. Diamond Schmitt Architects has developed a global reputation for performing-arts spaces; it has designed more than 40 performing arts buildings, including Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the Maison Symphonique de Montréal and the new Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The firm is also working on David Geffen Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
The other visionary behind this project is Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the NAC. He set the bar high for the project, promising it would be “on time, on budget, with dazzling results”. The new NAC will animate its new public spaces with a wide range of community engagement activities throughout the day. There will be free wi-fi, free performances, learning activities, community gatherings, social events, celebrations, pre‑show chats and more. In addition, in the fall of 2017, Equator Coffee Roasters, a coffee company based in Almonte, Ontario, will open a permanent coffee shop inside the Elgin Street entrance. Equator will have a preview café at the NAC that will be open July 2-23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At $110.5 million, the project represents the biggest investment in cultural infrastructure by the Government of Canada to mark the sesquicentennial. This first investment into the Architectural Rejuvenation of the NAC was announced in December 2014 by the former Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In March 2016, the Government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an additional investment of $114.9 million for the upgrade of production equipment – sound, lighting, electrical, projection and acoustics – in all of the NAC’s performance venues. The entire project will be completed in 2019, to mark the NAC’s 50th anniversary.
THE NAC NAMES FIRST EVER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF INDIGENOUS THEATRE
The National Arts Centre’s President and CEO, Peter Herrndorf announced today that Kevin Loring will be the first ever Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre at the NAC, taking up his post on October 16, 2017.
The first season of the Indigenous Theatre Department will co-incide with the NAC’s 50th Anniversary in the 2019-2020 season.
Mr. Loring is an accomplished Canadian playwright, actor and teacher, and was the winner of the Governor General’s Award for English Language Drama for his outstanding play, Where the Blood Mixes in 2009. The play explores the intergenerational effects of the residential school system. It toured nationally and was presented at the National Arts Centre in 2010, when Mr. Loring was serving as the NAC’s Playwright in Residence.
Mr. Loring is currently performing at the National Arts Centre in Corey Payette’s Children of God, a musical that explores the legacy of the residential school system.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kevin Loring to the National Arts Centre in this very historic role as our first ever Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre,” said Peter A. Herrndorf, the President and CEO of the NAC. “Mr. Loring’s work as an actor on our national stage, and as a playwright with his play Where the Blood Mixes, has inspired us and audiences across Canada for many years. He is a ground-breaking artist, and we know he will succeed in building our new Indigenous Theatre Department.”
“The founding of the Indigenous Theatre Department at the National Arts Centre is an important step in reconciliation. Our stories from coast to coast-to-coast are the original songs of this land. Now through the NAC’s Indigenous Theatre Department our stories will have a permanent home, a place to grow and thrive,” said Kevin Loring.
The idea to build an Indigenous Theatre Department was fostered through a decade of work by the NAC’s English Theatre Department. The former Artistic Director of English Theatre, Peter Hinton programmed an Indigenous work every season during his tenure from 2005-2012, culminating in an all-aboriginal version of King Lear in 2012. Kevin Loring took the role of Edmund in King Lear and was a member of the NAC’s resident English Theatre Company during the 2011-2012 season, performing in 3 productions that season.
The work to expand Indigenous arts at the NAC continued under the leadership of the current Artistic Director of English Theatre, Jillian Keiley and Associate Artistic Director Sarah Stanley, who brought Indigenous artists across the country together for several retreats including one at the Banff Centre in 2012 and a second on Manitoulin Island in 2013.
Mr. Loring along with hundreds of Indigenous artists took part in these discussions that explored the scale and scope of Indigenous arts across the country.
“The founding of the Indigenous Theatre Department at the NAC is a natural evolution of the work we have all contributed to over the past decade. I want to make the NAC a safe place for aboriginal theatre to grow. I also want to see the aboriginal theatre community expand across the country, and to provide opportunities for artists, technicians, stage managers, and designers. Also I would like to see how our stories can inspire young people in the communities where they live. We need to take our theatre into Indigenous communities across Canada where they will have their greatest impact and foster the next generation of theatre artists,” said Loring.
A Nlaka’pamux from the Lytton First Nation in British Columbia, Loring created the Songs of the Land project in 2012 in partnership with five separate organizations in his home community. The project explores 100-year-old audio recordings of songs and stories of the N’lakap’amux People. Loring has written two new plays based on his work with the community including Battle of the Birds, about domestic violence and power abuse, and The Boy Who Was Abandoned, about youth and elder neglect.
A versatile artist and leader Loring has served as the co-curator of the Talking Stick Festival, as Artist in Residence at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, as Artistic Director of the Savage Society in Vancouver, as a Documentary Producer of Canyon War: The Untold Story, and as the Project Leader/Creator, and Director of the Songs of the Land project in his home community of Lytton First Nation.
An accomplished actor Loring has performed in leading roles in major films and television series in Canada.
End of Year Party
What a great time -- our final event of the year. Big thanks to Jayne Watson, CEO of the National Arts Centre Foundation, for being our speaker, to the Rideau Club for hosting us in such a beautiful setting, and to all of you for being there!
End of Year Party - SOLD OUT
Our final event of the season at the Rideau Club on May 25 is sold out.
If we don’t see you that night, thank you for a wonderful season. We hope to see you in the crowds at the Grand Re-opening of the National Arts Centre on Canada Day!
Southam Club in the news
We dined backstage with proud Newfoundlander Jillian Keiley, the NAC’s Artistic Director of English Theatre – and one of the most in-demand directors in Canada – before seeing her production of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Special guest was Seamus O'Regan, Member of Parliament for St. John's South-Mount Pearl. Read about it in the Ottawa Business Journal.
An evening with ... David Mc Cuaig!
We all know what flying in Canada is like this time of year, and when architect Donald Schmitt’s flight was cancelled, we were very grateful to David Mc Cuaig, Project Director for the NAC’s Architectural Rejuvenation, for stepping in and saving the day. David gave a presentation full of humour and fascinating context. Thanks for your thought-provoking questions, and the great turnout. And didn’t you love those vintage cocktails?
More kickoff party news
Southam Clubbers, our season kickoff event is on October 17 with the incredible Ironwood Quartet, hosted by Paul Wells, national affairs columnist for the Toronto Star. There will also be fabulous food (Tacos! Build your own signature poutine! Sushi! And more!), right on the NAC Studio stage. It’s going to be a night to remember. RSVP today!
Kickoff Party news
Great news: Paul Wells, national affairs columnist for the Toronto Star and avid music lover, will be our host at our Kickoff Party on Monday October 17 with the Ironwood Quartet. RSVP now!
Southam Club Kickoff Party to feature the Ironwood Quartet
Stoked to announce that the “take-no-prisoners” Ironwood Quartet will play for us at our Southam Club Kickoff Party on October 17.
Monday October 17, 5:30 p.m.
RSVP by October 13