Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Corporate Secretary

Rosemary Thompson

Rosemary Thompson loves to generate national and international recognition for artists and arts institutions.  Aided by her wonderful team at the National Arts Centre (NAC), she is dedicated to shaping the future of Canada’s largest multi-disciplinary performing arts institution.

Thompson was part of the executive team that created the strategy and successful outcome of the Government of Canada’s decision to invest $225.4 million in the architectural and production renewal of the NAC to mark Canada’s 150th Anniversary.

She has been mentored by some of Canada’s leading arts and media executives including Peter Herrndorf, the President and CEO of the NAC (1999-2018), Trina McQueen, one of Canada’s greatest broadcast executives and Lloyd Robertson, former Chief Editor and News Anchor of CTV National News.

Thompson is the NAC’s Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Corporate Secretary—a multi-faceted position that allows her to work with her vast network of media contacts across the country, with leaders in the public and private sectors and with the NAC’s Board of Trustees, building support for the NAC’s Strategic Plan to build a national stage for the performing arts across Canada.

Thompson enjoys collaborating with many of Canada’s leading artists to gain attention for their work. She knows that developing their profiles will help them attract support for their artistic vision by inspiring Canadians to invest in the performing arts through ticket sales and donations.

After a 20-year career in network television with both the CBC and CTV, Thompson is able to connect the NAC with Canadians by designing major initiatives and events that merit national and international coverage. An early adopter of digital technology, Thompson has raised the profile of the NAC through livestreaming, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by creating the first in-house digital story-telling team in the NAC’s history.

Thompson also created a cross-functional team that coordinates the way the NAC tells its story through earned media, digital media, and advertising.

In 2010, Thompson  worked for months with Rideau Hall and Buckingham Palace to realize the first Royal Visit to the NAC in decades culminating with the unveiling by the Queen of the very popular bronze statue of Canadian Jazz Great, Oscar Peterson outside the NAC in front of a live audience of 10,000 people, and millions more on television. She worked with the CBC to put the NAC Orchestra back on television in 2014 for an unprecedented Christmas Day broadcast. The NAC Orchestra and former Music Director Pinchas Zukerman performed in an extraordinary concert at the Salisbury Cathedral to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The recording was picked up by both the CBC and the BBC—a very rare occurrence for a Canadian Orchestra.  

At a time of restraint for major media outlets internationally, Thompson persuaded embedded journalists to cover NAC Orchestra tours to Canada’s North (2012), China (2013) and the United Kingdom (2014).

She worked with a team of marketing and advertising professionals to re-brand the NAC with its new visual identity and tagline—Canada is our Stage.

Prior to her career with the NAC, Rosemary Thompson was one of Canadaʼs best known journalists. She covered some of the biggest stories of our generation as a correspondent for CTV and CBC. Her roles included working with a team of 30 media professionals at CTV’s Parliamentary Bureau as Deputy Bureau Chief. She was CTV’s first woman named Washington Correspondent and was outside the White House on the morning of 9/11. She also spent 37 days on the Yes Campaign bus during the Quebec Sovereignty Referendum in 1995 as CTV’s Montreal Bureau Chief.

Ms. Thompson has reported on the careers of five Prime Ministers and has covered seven election campaigns as a field reporter. Her work has allowed her to travel the world.

Ms. Thompson has received numerous awards and citations for her work in media and the arts from organizations including the New York Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (The Emmy Awards), the RTNDA Awards, and a Gemini nomination for a documentary she worked on about the Dionne Quintuplets’ trust fund.

In 2010, she received a lifetime achievement award from Canadaʼs National Press Club. In 2012, she received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and was honoured as a “national trailblazer” by the Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) organization. In 2013, she was named a mentor by the prestigious Trudeau Foundation and was asked to join Carleton University’s Board of Governors. In 2014 she won the CEO’s Award of Excellence from the National Arts Centre.

She is a graduate of Carleton University in Journalism and Political Science and from the Schulich School of Business where she recently completed an Executive Leadership course in Media and Performing Arts Management. She is married with two children. She is fluently bilingual. Her family is proud of its Métis ancestry.

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