NAC releases digital annual report for first time 

 OTTAWA (Canada) – The National Arts Centre’s 2017–2018 annual report, entitled The New NAC, was tabled in Parliament last week. The report documents an extraordinary year of renewal, not only of the NAC building, but also the entire institution.

In addition, for the first time in its history, the NAC Annual Report was released in a digital, interactive format on the NAC’s website. This evolution is consistent with the NAC’s efforts to increasingly interact with Canadians through its digital platforms.

Highlights of the 2017–2018 year include:  

  • The appointment of Christopher Deacon, an adventurous arts administrator, as the NAC’s new President and CEO. The former Managing Director of the NAC Orchestra has led some of the Orchestra’s most ambitious initiatives, including the 2012 China Tour, the 2014 UK Tour, and the critically acclaimed, Canadian multimedia commission Life Reflected;
  • Laying the foundation for the new Indigenous Theatre department at the NAC. Led by the brilliant team of Artistic Director Kevin Loring and Managing Director Lori Marchand, Indigenous Theatre will help promote Indigenous culture and languages through collaboration and co-productions with theatre artists and arts organizations throughout the land. Mr. Loring and Ms. Marchand travelled broadly, sharing their plans, cultivating support, speaking with Indigenous artists, leaders and allies, and seeing work by Indigenous artists. They also shared their vision at a number of events at the NAC. Programming details of Indigenous Theatre’s first season in 2019-2020 were announced on April 30. The season gets underway September 11 with a two and half-week Indigenous arts and community festival called Mòshkamo: Indigenous Arts Rising that will take over the National Arts Centre;
  • The first full year of welcoming the community to free programming and events in the NAC’s bright and inviting new Public Spaces, created through the NAC’s Architectural Rejuvenation Project, a major investment in the NAC by the Government of Canada;
  • The renewal of the NAC’s performance halls and production facilities as part of the NAC’s Production Renewal Project, another major investment by the Government of Canada. The project included the renovation of Southam Hall, which re-opened in September 2018 to reveal its new Orchestra Shell. Designed and manufactured over the course of 18 months, the Shell has dramatically improved the acoustics in Southam Hall. Significant improvements in lighting and sound were also made to the Babs Asper Theatre and the Azrieli Studio, bringing them back to international standards (Fourth Stage renovations were completed in September 2017);
  • The opening of the National Creation Fund, led by Artistic Producer Heather Moore, which is investing up to $3 million of privately raised funds a year in 15 to 20 ambitious new works by artists and arts organizations from across Canada. By investing in the development stage, the Fund aims to help artists achieve national and international success.

“It was always our dream to renew the institution by renewing the building, and it’s been incredibly rewarding to see that renewal come to life,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon.

“As the NAC celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, we want to engage with all Canadians, while staying true to our values as a home for some of Canada’s most creative artists.” 

“The National Arts Centre had an extraordinary 2017–2018 season,” said Adrian Burns, Chair of Board of Trustees. “Artistic excellence was alive on our stages, and on stages across the country. We welcomed Canadians to our beautiful new public spaces, and continued to renew our performance halls and production facilities to the highest standard. We sincerely thank the Government of Canada for their generous investment in the NAC.”

2017–2018 was also an extremely successful year for the National Arts Centre Foundation, which raised more than $12.7 million – an increase of 3% over the previous year. Highlights included the NAC Gala featuring k.d. lang, which raised more than $780,000 for the National Youth and Education Trust; the opening of the National Creation Fund, which is fuelled by generous donors to the Creation Campaign; and the 25th anniversary Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards on June 2.

“We are incredibly grateful to our donors for their essential support for the National Arts Centre’s work in performance, creation and learning across Canada,” said Jayne Watson, CEO of the NAC Foundation.  

During 2017–2018, the NAC staged 1,411 performances, and attracted 933,794 patrons to performances, events and commercial activities at the NAC.


The NAC presented exceptional performances on its four stages, and engaged with communities across Canada as a catalyst for performance, creation and learning. Additional highlights include:

  • The tour of the French Theatre creation Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show, about the struggle of the Métis of Western Canada, to Montreal, Winnipeg and Saskatoon. This ambitious new work brought together 10 playwrights, 10 performers and an impressive team of designers, representing different territories and cultures across the country;
  • Two mesmerizing productions directed by French Theatre Artistic Director Brigitte Haentjens – she collaborated with the composer and musician Denis Plante and the actor Sébastien Ricard to present La bibliothèque-interdite; and Dans la solitude des champs de coton, written by Bernard-Marie Koltès;
  • The continuation of the Canada 150 Tour, led by Alexander Shelley, into Northern and Western Canada, with nine concerts and 130 education events in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, Vancouver and Whitehorse. Highlights included the performance of Life Reflected, the multimedia commission about four remarkable Canadian women, in Calgary and Vancouver, and a brilliant performance by Associate Concertmaster Jessica Linnebach in her hometown of Edmonton;
  • The Man with the Violin featuring Joshua Bell and the NAC Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Shelley, as part of the Orchestra’s holiday concert. Co-commissioned by the NAC and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the work was composed by the Grammy Award-winning composer Anne Dudley, with animation by Montreal’s Normal studio. Based on Bell’s experience busking outside a Washington metro station, the work was adapted from the popular Canadian children’s book written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić;
  • Composer Jocelyn Morlock won a 2018 JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the Year for My Name is Amanda Todd, part of the NAC multimedia commission Life Reflected; and Andrew Staniland, composer of Phi, Caelestis (part of the NAC Music-Dance commission ENCOUNT3RS), received a JUNO nomination;
  • The tour of the Molière classic Tartuffe, directed by English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley and adapted by the Newfoundland comedy genius Andy Jones, to five communities in Newfoundland. This was the first tour by English Theatre in nearly 20 years.
  • The stunning new musical Onegin by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille. Based on a poem by Pushkin and an opera by Tchaikovsky, the show was directed by Amiel Gladstone and produced by The Musical Stage Company (Toronto) in collaboration with English Theatre;
  • Three exclusive Canadian performances by the internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company Tanztheater Pina Bausch, presented by NAC Dance, and led by Executive Producer Cathy Levy. The company performed the riveting Café Müller and Bausch’s masterpiece The Rite of Spring, featuring 34 dancers on an earth-covered stage, with Stravinsky’s score performed by the NAC Orchestra;
  • Two sold-out performances of Dance Me, the multimedia homage to poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, presented by NAC Dance, and created by BJM – Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal in collaboration with choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Andonis Foniadakis and Ishan Rustem;
  • NAC Presents, the all-Canadian music series led by Executive Producer Heather Gibson, presented more than 130 concerts and attracted total attendance of more than 41,000. Highlights included Bruce Cockburn, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Klô Pelgag, Kelly Lee Evans, Laetitia Zonzambé and more;
  • NAC Presents also launched Fridays at the Fourth, an upbeat music series in the newly renovated Fourth Stage, and NAC Presents Across Canada, an initiative that supported nearly 40 concerts in 10 cities across Canada;
  • The Tribute Dinner for outgoing NAC President and CEO Peter Herrndorf, with performances by Angela Hewitt, Molly Johnson and Chantal Kreviazuk. The dinner, presented by the NAC Foundation, raised more than $1.1 million for the new Indigenous Theatre at the NAC;
  • Overwhelmingly positive response to the NAC’s new catering spaces, such as the Lantern Room, the O’Borm Room and the Canada Room, which have hosted hundreds of meetings and events.



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. Founded on June 2, 1969, the National Arts Centre is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 with an array of special programming and activities throughout the year.  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, Dance and NAC Presents. NAC Indigenous Theatre will begin its first season of programming in the fall of 2019. The NAC’s National Creation Fund invests up to $3 million of privately raised funds every year in 15 to 20 ambitious new works by Canadian artists and arts organizations. The NAC building has recently undergone two extensive renewal projects, generously funded by the Government of Canada, which have re-oriented the NAC to the city; allowed the NAC to become more welcoming and accessible; and returned its performance halls and production facilities to contemporary standards. The NAC 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, showcasing the performing arts across the country through the Kipnes Lantern, the largest transparent LED installation in North America; using technology to teach students and young artists around the globe; 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.





Annabelle Cloutier
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs   
National Arts Centre
613 947-7000 x 260

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