TheJourney Ahead

Strategic Plan 2023-2026

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Join us on the journey.

An actor, poised in the wings, takes a deep breath and, plunging into the action on stage, joins the other characters in the drama. They are on a journey, a hero’s journey, a lover’s journey – regardless – the character is driven forward by desire. As an audience, we throw our lot in with them and join them on the journey. Where their story unfolds to reveal authentic vulnerability, a universal human quality, we can relate. We share their goals, their fears, their strengths and weaknesses. For the duration of the performance, we identify with their experience.

The magic of the performing arts lies in its invitation to breathe deeply, to set aside the cares of the day, to dream, to reflect, and to exit the performance hall renewed or changed.

The poetry of dance, the romantic sweep of orchestral music, the poignant lyrics of a folk song, or the gripping drama of a play – the experience is unique to each audience member and yet something we share in community.

The National Arts Centre is a house of dreams, an idea of creativity and story that takes flight on stages across the country through our collaborations and partnerships with artists and arts companies coast to coast to coast. It’s an idea about creation, production and co-production, performance, and learning through the arts of the stage.

In 2020, the performing arts was changed profoundly by the pandemic and calls for social justice, and would soon be challenged by economic shocks that have confronted us all. We set ourselves on a course: to work with others across the country to lead a revival of the performing arts. During the three years of that strategic plan, we heard from arts stakeholders that we were playing a helpful, important role, and that we should push ahead on that course.

Today, audiences are returning with new enthusiasm, sometimes in large numbers, but not consistently. There is greater diversity on Canadian stages, in artistic leadership positions, and in our audiences. But there is much more work to be done. Now is a moment of fragility and promise, like the moment just before an artist goes onstage.

And so, in 2023, as we look ahead to the road that awaits us, we recommit to the journey. We recommit to working with others to build a performing arts sector that is more creative, adaptive, and relevant to communities. One that is equitable, diverse, accessible, and welcoming to all. One that advances environmental sustainability and reconciliation with Indigenous nations. So that the art on the stages reflects all of what Canada is becoming.

Join us on the journey.

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    President and CEO Christopher Deacon
Mixed media artwork called Heartbeat of Mother Earth by Algonquin artist Emily Brascoupé-Hoefler
Mixed media artwork called Heartbeat of Mother Earth by Algonquin artist Emily Brascoupé-Hoefler

Pangawogo Ninga Akì

Iyo Kichi Mazinibìgewogamig ate Anishinàbewakìng ega wìkàd Anishinàbeg kà mìgiwewàdj odakìwà. Eko wayeshkàt Anishinàbeg abiwag ondaje. Tedibà wàkàhì kàgige Anishinàbeg kì màmandoseg ashidj kìyàbadj nongom Akikodjiwaning, Asinàbikà minitigong kaye iyo nibì nengishkodàdìmagak enì ànikodjiwang. Nayegàdj kàgìdàdj niga pimosemin ondaje akìng kaye niga manàdjiyànànig Anishinàbeg kaye niga manàdjihìdimin. Kichi Mìgwech.

The National Arts Centre is located on the traditional, unceded territory of the Anishinabeg People, who have lived on this land since time immemorial. This region has been and continues to be a gathering place, from the sacred Akikodjiwan falls to Asinabka island and the connecting waterways. We will walk gently on this territory, respecting the Anishinabeg People and one another. Chi-Miigwetch.

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    Music Director, NAC Orchestra Alexander Shelley
  • Artistic Director, French Theatre Mani Soleymanlou

Vision

We believe the performing arts are vital to the human experience.

A house of dreams for the Canadian performing arts, the National Arts Centre will work with artists and arts organizations from across this land to revitalize our sector.

We are on a journey, committed to ensuring that equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, anti-racism and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples will guide our actions.

Values

These are the values we aspire to embrace in our relationships with artists, audiences and communities across Canada, and within our NAC team.

Creativity

Inspired by artists and creators, we take risks and pursue bold ideas.

Grounded in communities

We are in constant conversation with communities, learning and listening as we go, striving to create experiences that connect and inspire. 

Sense of belonging

We value the dignity and well-being of artists, partners, audiences and staff. We work to ensure that the NAC is an open, safe space ​where everyone knows they belong.

Generous collaboration

We are enriched by our collaborations with artists and arts organizations across the country. We commit to generous, respectful and long-lasting relationships.

Walking gently on the land

We pledge to activate the role of the performing arts to help create a green and just future. 

Children of today, future of tomorrow

We aim to spark a sense of wonder and endless possibility in young people through the arts. Awakening imaginations offers hope for the future.

Strategic goals

Our Strategic Goals and Priorities are the signposts that mark our way along The Journey Ahead.

 The scene presents a woman adorned in a vibrant yellow sari and a gold headpiece with peacock feathers, drawing attention to her elegant attire. Behind her, a man is dressed in a matching yellow outfit, his right hand is raised. On the right side, a

Develop the Canadian performing arts through the work on the stage

A man wearing a plaid button-up shirt over a red shirt and a sleeveless jean jacket. He is holding up a gavel in one hand, wearing a triumphant expression on his face.

Elevate Indigenous voices and stories at the NAC and across the land

Six attendees of the Black Out Night at the NAC in 2023. They are standing against a grey background, smiling and looking at the camera. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, as they gently embrace each other, reflecting the camaraderie and enjoyment

Engage meaningfully with audiences and communities

The scene portrays a crowd of people looking away from the camera, engaged in various activities. Among them, a little girl wearing a crown on her head stands out as she looks directly at the camera with a happy and intriguing expression on her face.

Support engagement in the arts for children, youth and families

Four NAC ushers dressed in suits, standing in rows and looking at the camera. They are positioned in the Foster Gallery at the NAC, exuding a professional and attentive demeanor.

Foster best practices in management 

Action plans

The Journey Ahead is supported by three key actions plans that will guide the NAC’s commitments towards equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, accessibility and sustainability.