National Arts Centre English Theatre Extends Artistic Director Jillian Keiley's Contract to 2020

The National Arts Centre (NAC) announced today that Jillian Keiley, Artistic Director of NAC English Theatre, has agreed to extend her contract for four years, from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2020.

Ms. Keiley assumed the role of Artistic Director in August of 2012. Her predecessors include such renowned theatre leaders as Peter Hinton, Marti Maraden, Gil Osborne, Andis Celms, John Wood and Jean Roberts.

“An artistic directorship like this one takes a dedicated commitment to learning about our country and community,” said Ms Keiley. “I’ve spent the last three years listening, watching and doing what I believe will raise Canadian theatre and artists higher, and to explore what will excite and engage audiences in current questions about art, leadership, and civic and community responsibilities. I spent the first season drowning in the depth and breadth of it all, and the second learning how to swim. In this third season, I’m looking both backwards and forwards and can see where this river might take us. It’s pretty exciting to think of the ever advancing work we can bring to the NAC stage and what the NAC can bring to stages across the country.”

“It has been wonderful to observe Jillian Keiley’s journey over the last three seasons,” said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “Jillian has worked tirelessly to program outstanding productions and showcase some of the finest artists in Canadian theatre. A highlight of her tenure so far has been the creation of three NAC English Theatre Ensembles featuring ten artists per season who represent the best of what is happening on the national theatre scene at the moment.”

Among some of the artistic highlights of Ms. Keiley’s seasons have been the highly successful Ensemble productions Tartuffe, The Importance of Being Earnest, ENRON, Stuff Happens, Alice Through the Looking-Glass and the NAC attendance record-breaker, The Sound of Music. The 2015-16 season will add to those highlights with such productions as The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God, The December Man (L’homme de décembre), Anne & Gilbert and Twelfth Night, directed by Ms Keiley.

Under the leadership of Jillian Keilley, NAC English Theatre continues to grow its extensive artistic collaborations with some the most dynamic theatre companies across Canada. For instance, for her 2015-16 season, NAC English Theatre is partnered with organizations in Vancouver, Whitehorse, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Halifax, and St. John’s. Through this unique initiative, The Collaborations, NAC English Theatre resources go to artists who are launching work or honing shows in their home communities. 


Jillian Keiley is an award-winning director from St. John’s, Newfoundland and founder of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland. Ms. Keiley has directed and taught across Canada and has worked internationally. She received her BFA in Theatre from York University, and was the winner of the prestigious Siminovitch Prize for Directing in 2004. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Memorial University and was the winner of the Canada Council’s John Hirsch Prize. Ms. Keiley assumed her role as NAC English Theatre Artistic Director in August 2012. On top of her work at the NAC, Ms Keiley continues to bring her artistry to communities across Canada, recently directing a production of The Diary of Anne Frank at the Stratford Festival and a touring production of Alice Through the Looking-Glass, which will play at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg and the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton over the next year, featuring new casts in all cities.


National Arts Centre audiences were introduced to Jillian Keiley in the 2003, when Tempting Providence was selected for the NAC’s Atlantic Scene Festival. While the show was a hit in Newfoundland two years earlier, it was virtually unknown outside the province. Following its mainland debut at the NAC, Tempting Providence went on tour for almost 11 years. Following that, Jack and the Three Giants in 2004 and a special presentation of the children’s opera Anne and Seamus performed in Southam Hall in 2007. Since her arrival at the National Arts Centre, Ms Keiley has created works that have engaged and delighted audiences, beginning with Metamorphoses: Based on the Myths of Ovid, her collaboration with Andy Jones on a re-working of Tartuffe, Oil and Water and an eye-catching production of Alice Through the Looking-Glass last December, in a partnership with the Stratford Festival.


For more information, please contact:

Carl Martin
National Arts Centre
613-947-7000, x560

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