News Release

NAC Unveils Full Ontario Scene Lineup

March 2, 2015

Heather Moore, Producer and Executive Director of the National Arts Centre’s Scene festivals, today announced the complete programming lineup for Ontario Scene. The seventh in a successful biennial series of multidisciplinary festivals showcasing the work of established and emerging artists from a specific region of the country, Ontario Scene will take place at more than 30 venues across Ottawa-Gatineau from April 29 to May 10, 2015. Over 600 hundred artists will bring their music, theatre, dance, visual and media arts, film, literature and culinary creations to the nation’s capital in an eclectic and spectacular celebration of the Ontario arts scene. The Presenting Partner of Ontario Scene is Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).

Visit the festival website at to find out more about all of the 90 events that will be taking place.

A comprehensive electronic press package containing the festival brochure and hi-resolution photographs is available here.

Tickets are available for purchase now at or in person at the NAC Box Office at 53 Elgin. The incredible value festival pass, offering 5 shows for $99 (some restrictions apply) can also be purchased in person at the NAC Box Office. 


“The National Arts Centre is proud to produce Ontario Scene because we believe it is central to our mandate to be a catalyst for the performing arts in Canada,” said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “The festival not only gives established and emerging artists a national platform to showcase their work, but we are also able to bring in producers and promoters from across Canada and around the world and put them right in front of our Canadian artists to help further their careers.”   

Since 2003, The Scenes have given us a privileged, sometimes surprising, always fascinating insight into the rich artistic and creative life of this country,” said Heather Moore, Producer and Executive Director, NAC Scene festivals. “Here we are twelve years on, and Ontario Scene is about to challenge our understanding of what this province is. As elsewhere in the country, Ontario has an artistic landscape that is familiar, and one that is less well known.  Over the 12 days of the festival, audiences will have a unique, one-of-a-kind opportunity to see the artists they know, and to discover many they may not know.  I invite them to jump in and immerse themselves in an incredible cultural adventure.

“Ontario Scene is a great demonstration of the talent and passion of our artists in Canada,” said the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “We are proud to contribute to the success of this event and to help provide a strong and creative arts sector in Canada. Our Government recognizes that arts and cultural organizations strengthen our communities, enrich the quality of life of Canadians and contribute to our economy.”

“On behalf of the Government of Ontario, I am pleased to extend warm greetings to everyone attending the presentation of Ontario contemporary art and culture through Ontario Scene,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. “Ontario is a culturally rich province that is as diverse as its people. The festival will introduce audiences to new artists and art forms, while celebrating the cultural wealth of our province. Ontario’s world-renowned arts community will be on full display through music, dance, film, visual art, literature and theatre.”

“Ontario’s vibrant cultural scene contributes to the vitality of the province,” said Stephen Rigby, OLG’s President and CEO. “Ontario Scene offers a unique way to spotlight Ontario’s world-class artists, from all creative fields, who reflect our rich diversity of talent. OLG is honoured to join the National Arts Centre in celebrating the energy and spirit of Ontario artists as we show the country and the world what Ontario has to offer.”


NOTE: Please refer to the detailed Ontario Scene brochure and website at for more information about the events listed below. 

Ontario is home to some of Canada’s best-known artists, many of whom will share their unique voices with audiences during Ontario Scene – Daniel Lanois (on stage with Basia Bulat and the NAC Orchestra), Molly Johnson (singing Billie Holiday), Peggy Baker and James Kudelka (coming together with Art of Time Ensemble to explore Brahms’s Intermezzi), Daniel MacIvor (performing in Who Killed Spalding Gray), and rap sensation Shad.

Over the 12 days of the festival, audiences will also discover some new and exciting perspectives on a province they might think they already know.  This is a province where artists blur artistic boundaries – merging film and live performance to create award-winning theatre like Post Eden, and merging classical music with dance, theatre, and video to create evocative new works like Century Song.  This is where artists speak their minds in multimedia installations like Declaration. Where they examine and re-examine their cultures in plays like Graceful Rebellions, and in short-film programs like Indigi-nate NOW.  And it is where they create innovative mash-ups of art and science like Quantum: Music at the Frontier of Science and the BioART exhibition.

Other highlights:

Intermezzi: Art of Time Artistic Director and pianist Andrew Burashko performs live in a collaboration with Canadian choreography legends Peggy Baker and James Kudelka to explore through dance a collection of Johannes Brahms’s tender and lyrical Intermezzi for solo piano.  Kudelka creates new work for dancers from renowned Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, and Baker revisits early work performed by Jessica Runge. (See p.12 Ontario Scene brochure)

Hip-Hop Playground:  Curated by Toronto’s Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture, this family-friendly,  interactive celebration of hip-hop culture, dance, music, graffiti art and spoken word is a jubilant tribute to Ontario’s vibrant hip-hop scene.  DJ JervyJerv spins tracks for 20 of the province’s best hip-hop dancers across styles, competing for a cash prize;  Crazy Smooth and Gadfly demonstrate and share technique in mini-sessions with the public; DJ Grouch hosts an interactive turntable zone; the Graffiti Boxman Project brings a 15-foot cardboard canvas to the playground and invites some of Ontario’s hottest artists to design it (mini versions allow the public to discover their inner graffiti genius); and young spoken word sensation Mustafa The Poet performs a set of his intensely personal poems. (See p.20 Ontario Scene brochure)

Century Song: A world premiere production from Canada’s multiple award-winning, “explosive” (Independent, UK), Volcano Theatre, Century Song is an audio/visual tour de force bringing together classical song, dance, state-of-the-art video design, and music in a live performance theatrical hybrid.  Mesmerizing soprano Neema Bickersteth delivers a powerhouse performance as a kind of modern day “Everywoman” negotiating history with the eyes and voice of a black, female protagonist.  She moves through the past century in Canada, using art and music to explore the evolution of identity. (See p. 23 Ontario Scene brochure)

Declaration: Article 11 of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples asserted the rights of Indigenous Peoples to engage in the creation and evolution of arts and culture.  Produced by Toronto’s ARTICLE 11, aka Tara Beagan and Andy Moro – both of whom have been named among NOW Magazine’s top 10 theatre artists – Declaration offers a rare opportunity to witness established Indigenous artists mid-process as they create new work in an interdisciplinary environment.  Part live sound and image installation, part performance-creation lab, part-performance, Declaration is an immersive, unique cultural experience. (See p. 72 Ontario Scene brochure)

Human Nature: Presenting the work of 14 contemporary Ontario artists who look at the natural world and our impact on it as innovators and exploiters, creators and destroyers, this ambitious project includes installations, video, sculpture, painting, and outdoor sculpture and performance by some of Ontario’s most provocative artists and takes over the entire space at the Carleton University Art Gallery. (See p. 74 Ontario Scene brochure)

And these are just some of the programming highlights of Ontario Scene.  Ontario Scene will also feature work by Canadian theatre icon Daniel MacIvor, appearing on stage in Who Killed Spalding Gray?, his newest collaboration with long-time creative partner Daniel Brooks.  Ottawa-raised theatrical wunderkind, director, playwright, and Governor General’s Award-winner Jordan Tannahill comes to town with his breakthrough production, Post Eden. Toronto’s Théâtre la Tangente presents the gripping domestic drama set against a backdrop of some of the most important events of the twentieth century. The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony collaborates with the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing to create a fascinating exploration through music, video and narration of the parallels between music and science in Quantum: Music at the Frontier of Science. Jason Collett’s acclaimed Basement Revue, part poetry slam, part cabaret, part improvised musical jam, delights its audience with an unpredictable, secret roster of artists announced only at the last minute.

Music programming at Ontario Scene takes us from the classic, rootsy melodies of Matthew Barber, to the remarkable intercultural world of Jaffa Road and their inventive creations informed by jazz, rock, dub, Arab, Indian, and sacred and secular Jewish music . The innovative Afiara Quartet performs an impromptu “shuffle” program of their favorite pieces, and beloved and award-winning Molly Johnson incarnates Billie Holiday. Divine Brown, Kellylee Evans, Rita Chiarelli, Samantha Martin, Roxanne Potvin, and Diana Braithwaite come together in a one-of-a-kind, roof-raising evening of spectacular voices in the Toronto Blues Society’s Women’s Blues Revue. The very tall and musically adventurous Jesse Stewart, Kevin Breit and Matt Brubeck perform as the Stretch Orchestra and run the gamut from jazz to folk to rock. Ken Whiteley and the Beulah Band share their joyful gospel sound, and some of the province’s finest Francophone talents dazzle at the 8th Annual Trille Or Awards CeremonyShad, Cold Specks, Fucked Up, Pup, Danko Jones, The Wooden Sky, The Sadies – and many more –  offer Ottawa audiences an amazing opportunity to discover the astounding breadth, talent and diversity of the Ontario music landscape.

Visual Arts at Ontario Scene celebrate artists who are known, as well as those less familiar.  Ontario in Âjagemô: Selections from the Canada Council Art Bank draws on a selection of five decades of work by Ontario artists, including Jack Bush.  BioART: Collaborating with Life, at the Karsh-Masson Gallery, features work by Ontario artists whose practices merge with life sciences and biotechnology.  Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Art Gallery shows work by Aboriginal artists working in Ontario from the 1960s to 2014, and SAW Gallery presents an impressive survey exhibition of work by idiosyncratic artist Michael DeForge. These are just some of the visual arts experiences available to arts lovers at Ontario Scene.  In addition, a Sunday afternoon Gallery Crawl invites participants to board free shuttles with stops at all Ontario Scene galleries, to enjoy the exhibitions, see performances, take part in hands-on activities, and be delighted with some special surprises.

Film at Ontario Scene includes a specially curated film program offering contemporary perspectives on the Indigenous artistic experience.  Presented by imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Indigi-Nate NOW: A Province of Nations on Film spans Aboriginal histories and futures.  Film programming also includes VideOntario, showcasing short video works from across Ontario, Emulsion in Motion, a selection of poetic film works from eight Ontario filmmakers and rooted in experimental filmmaking, and the Canadian Film Institute’s The Films of Shelley Niro, a celebration of the short films of the celebrated Aboriginal artist.

Ontario literary culture is given a platform in Close to Home: Ontario Fiction, an evening of conversation about great fiction writing from close to home and featuring former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario James Bartleman reading from his new novel Exceptional Circumstances.  Spoken Word is a night of explosive poetry and music with four outstanding spoken-word artists: World Poetry Slam Champion OpenSecret joins theatre artist/songwriter evalyn parry, Robert Priest, aka Dr. Poetry, young spoken word sensation Mustafa The Poet, and pianist Nicole Lefebvre.

And Ontario Scene rewards tastebuds and culinary curiosity in the Ontario Culinary Challenge where the gourmand can experience the innovative and mouth-watering creations of more than a dozen top chefs from across the province as they vie for the $10,000 top prize. As well as a special Ontario Scene menu at the National Arts Centre’s le café, a Pelee Island Winemaker’s Dinner showcases and complements the delightful wines of Pelee Island with a five-course menu using all-Ontario ingredients.

During their participation at Ontario Scene, artists will also have the chance to participate in an interarts forum co-hosted by the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Arts Centre’s Ontario Scene.  Prominent multidisciplinary artists will lead discussion with the goal to further understanding of the challenges and opportunities of multidisciplinary practice. 


The Scene festivals began in 2003 with Atlantic Scene.  A huge success, that festival was followed by Alberta Scene (2005), Quebec Scene (2007), BC Scene (2009), Prairie Scene (2011), and Northern Scene (2013).  Ontario Scene rounds out the spotlight on the arts and culture of a specific region and looks towards a nationally-focused festival, Canada Scene, in 2017.

The Scene festivals have provided a national, and through the successful presenters program an international, platform for artists both established and emerging in a specific region across the country. To date, the festivals have welcomed 445 presenters and talent scouts from 27 countries to Ottawa to discover and meet with artists. The result is more than 495 performance bookings at major festivals and performance venues, representing well over $1.4 million in fees for Canadian artists.


Ontario Scene wishes to thank The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and the Canada Council of the Arts.

A festival of this magnitude would not be possible without the generous support of individual donors and corporate partners. The National Arts Centre Foundation thanks Presenting Partner OLG for their leadership support, Major Partners John and Bonnie Buhler and Enbridge Inc., Community Partner TD, and Supporting Partners Ian and Kiki Delaney, TransCanada Corporation, Ivesco Ltd. and The Walton Group. We are grateful for the contributions of Program Partner Richard Rooney and The Asper Foundation, and individual donors Ann Cuddy Moore, Scott Thornley + Co. and the Friends of Ontario Scene: Kimberley Bozak and Philip Deck, Andy and Beth Burgess, Adrian Burns and Greg Kane, the DH Gales Family Foundation, La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso, The Phelan Charitable Foundation, Andrew and Valerie Pringle, as well as Howard Sokolowski and Senator Linda Frum.

Special acknowledgment is given to the Ontario Scene Strategy Council, a committed group of individuals whose leadership, support and guidance are key to the success of the Ontario Scene. The Council is led by performing art icons Honorary Chairs Jim Cuddy and Karen Kain, and co-chaired by Valerie Pringle and Robert Foster. Its members include Kimberley Bozak, Kiki Delaney, Amoryn Engel, Leslie Gales, Susan Glass, Janice McDonald and Jaime Wyatt.

Finally, thank you to Hotel Partner the Ottawa Marriott, Travel Partner VIA Rail, Major Media Partner CBC-Radio Canada and Media Partners Ottawa Citizen, LeDroit, and St. Josephs Communications.




Laura Denker
Ontario Scene
613 947-7000 x588
Cell : 613 299-8844

Carl Martin
National Arts Centre
613 947-7000 x560