October 13, 2021 update on live performances and events at the NAC.

STATEMENT: National Arts Centre Flags Fly at Half-Staff in Honour of Theatre Dramaturg Iris Turcott

It was with great sadness that the National Arts Centre (NAC) has learned of the death of Iris Turcott, one of Canada’s most respected English-language dramaturgs.

Iris Turcott worked many times with the National Arts Centre during her career, most recently as dramaturg for Artistic Fraud’s production of Oil and Water, directed by NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley. She was also the dramaturg for Ronnie Burkett’s internationally-acclaimed Theatre of Marionettes, notably for productions of Penny Plain and Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy, also performed at the NAC.

“Iris’ fierce commitment to the development of playwriting in Canada was extraordinary,” said Jillian Keiley. “Always working from behind the scenes, she demanded bravery and truth in storytelling.  The raw and unavoidable honesty that has become a trademark of Canadian theatre is in no small part due to the insistence, compassion and brilliance of Iris Turcott.”

The NAC’s flags will fly at half-staff this week in honour of Iris Turcott.


Iris Turcott was co-founder and co-artistic director of Playbill Theatre. She spent 17 years as company dramaturg at the Canadian Stage, and worked at the Stratford Festival in the development of Daniel MacIvor’s Best Brothers (2012) and Judith Thompson’s The Thrill (2013), and was also company dramaturg at Factory Theatre. Iris worked with playwrights from coast to coast including Adam Pettle, Joan MacLeod, Michel Marc Bouchard, Brad Fraser, Judith Thompson, Sunil Kuruvilla,Tomson Highway, Robert Chafe, Anusree Roy, Pamela Sinha and Daniel MacIvor.

She had been involved in a number of international co-commissions including the Royal Exchange in Manchester, the Melbourne Festival, and the Abbey Theatre. Iris Turcott was also active in arts education and publishing. She taught at the National Theatre School of Canada, and served on the board of directors for the LMDA (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas).

In 2008, she was awarded the George Luscombe Award for mentorship in theatre. In 2013, she was selected as Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Honorary Award recipient for her devotion to Canadian theatre, and her work with Canadian plays and playwrights.

Sources: Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia, Playwrights Canada Press and Playwrights Guild of Canada websites



Carl Martin
Senior Advisor, Communications
National Arts Centre
613-947-7000, ext. 560