January 7, 2014 – OTTAWA (Canada) – Over 100 interviews comprising approximately 200 hours of material have been donated by arts journalist and author Sarah Jennings to Library and Archives Canada.  The recordings, along with some supporting documentation, derive from the research for her book Art and Politics: A History of the National Arts Centre (Dundurn Press, 2009). Known as “Fonds Sarah Jennings”, the collection has recently been processed and is now ready for use by other writers and researchers.   

“Ms. Jennings’ gift is an extraordinary contribution because it contains valuable insights into the founding of the National Arts Centre,” said Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. “It will be a tremendous resource for academics, arts organizations and researchers, as the contents of this archive document the history of Canada’s largest performing arts organization over its first 40 years.”

 Ms. Jennings’ archive contains conversations with leading figures associated with the life of the NAC, including its founder, G. Hamilton Southam; former NAC artistic leaders, ranging from Founding Conductor Mario Bernardi, Robert Lepage (French Theatre), John Wood and Marti Maraden (English Theatre); dance artists such as Celia Franca, Édouard Lock and Brian Macdonald, and many others. The collection also includes interviews with senior government officials and arts administrators, including current President and CEO Peter Herrndorf, chairs and members of the NAC Board of Trustees, and various cabinet ministers responsible for the NAC in its first 40 years.

“I am delighted to donate these interviews to Library and Archives Canada because they  preserve an important part of the history of the performing arts in this country,” Ms. Jennings said. “It is my hope that they will continue to be useful for others researching Canada’s arts in the future.”  Ms. Jennings has suspended her copyright on the collection to enable users, particularly students. It is anticipated that additional material relating to the NAC’s last decade will be added to the collection in the future.

The National Arts Centre was created by the Parliament of Canada as a Centennial project during the 1960s. Today the National Arts Centre is on the “Road to 2019,” a series of significant projects leading up to its 50th birthday. They include the NAC Orchestra’s China Tour in 2013, The NAC Orchestra’s UK tour in 2014, Ontario Scene in 2015, and Canada Scene in 2017.


A broadcaster, writer and commentator, Sarah Jennings has specialized for many years in culture and the arts. As the national reporter in Ottawa for the CBC Stereo network’s Arts News for eight years, she was deeply engaged with national political and cultural affairs. She has covered all the major national cultural organizations including the National Arts Centre, the Canada Council, the national museums and national agencies like the CRTC. Her feature articles and commentaries have appeared on the CBC and BBC networks, and also in publications ranging from the Globe and Mail, the National and Financial Post, the Wall Street Journal and the American-based arts magazine ARTsnews, for which she was Canadian correspondent. In addition to her journalism, Ms. Jennings has served since 1977 as Vice-president of Finance and Marketing in a private urban development firm which has successfully produced mixed-use urban development projects in Ottawa in excess of $100 million.  Her recent work has included the heritage redevelopment of the ”Institut Jeanne d’Arc” at Ottawa’s “Mile of History” on Sussex Drive, and at a new site in Ottawa’s By Ward Market. An active arts supporter, she served as an Outside Board Member on the Board of Trustees of the National Arts Centre and was a Vice-Chair of Opera Lyra Ottawa. As a university lecturer, she worked at Carleton University’s School of Journalism for a dozen years.


LAC plays a vital role in acquiring, preserving, and making our country’s documentary heritage accessible, including by serving as the permanent memory of the Government of Canada. Assembled over the past 140 years, LAC’s collection is the shared documentary heritage of all Canadians and spans the entire history of the country. The collection contains materials in all types of formats from across Canada and around the world that are of interest to Canadians.


The National Arts Centre collaborates with artists and arts organizations across Canada to help create a national stage for the performing arts, and acts as a catalyst for performance, creation and learning across the country. A home for Canada’s most creative artists, the NAC strives to be artistically adventurous in each of its programming streams – the NAC Orchestra, English Theatre, French Theatre and Dance, as well as the Scene festivals and NAC Presents, which showcase established and emerging Canadian artists. The organization is at the forefront of youth and educational activities, offering artist training, programs for children and youth, and resources for teachers in communities across Canada. The NAC is also a pioneer in new media, using technology to teach students and young artists around the globe, by creating top-rated podcasts, and providing a wide range of NAC Orchestra concerts on demand. The NAC is the only bilingual, multidisciplinary performing arts centre in Canada, and one of the largest in the world.



Rosemary Thompson,
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
National Arts Centre
613 947-7000 x260

Richard Provencher
Head, Media Relations
Library and Archives Canada