October 22, 2021 update on live performances and events at the NAC.


NAC also presents two free, online panel discussions with women in the performing arts on how the pandemic has affected their lives and careers  

March 3, 2021 – OTTAWA, CANADA – The National Arts Centre is celebrating International Women’s Day (March 8) with free online events centred on women’s voices and experiences, including panel discussions with extraordinary Canadian artists, and the Canadian premiere of a documentary film about the joys and struggles of women who have dedicated their lives to classical music.    

At 4 p.m. EST, the NAC website will acreen Forte, a brilliant documentary that asks  the provocative question: “What is ‘success’ for women today in the world of classical music?” The free screening will be accompanied by a panel discussion, moderated by NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley, that includes filmmaker David Donnelly, producer Anastasia Boudanoque, and two of the film’s subjects — the Argentinian composer and pianist Lucía Caruso and the violinist Tatiana Berman. The film will be available on the NAC website for 24 hours (in English only).  

That same day, the NAC will also present Survival of the Artist: Women in the Arts During a Pandemic — two online panel discussions about how women in the performing arts have been affected by COVID-19.  Both panels will be broadcast on the NAC website and Facebook page. 

The French panel, at 11 a.m., will include Geneviève Pelletier (Winnipeg), Artistic and Executive Director of Théâtre Cercle Molière; Rhodnie Désir (Montreal), public speaker, choreographer and Artistic Director of RD Créations (Montreal); Véronique Lacroix (Montreal), conductor and founder of Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+); and Émilie Monnet (Montreal), founder of Onishka Productions, an interdisciplinary arts organization that creates bridges between Indigenous peoples worldwide while honoring their diversity, richness and resilience. The moderator will be Annabelle Cloutier, Executive Director of Strategy and Communications at the NAC.

The English panel, at 12:30 p.m., will include artist and creator Nicole Brooks (Toronto); theatre artist Heidi Susanne MacDonald (Rosebud, AB); performer, musician, playwright, producer, director and motivational speaker Sylvia Cloutier (Kuujjuaq, Nunavik); and singer-songwriters Leela Gilday (Yellowknife) and Irish Mythen (Ireland/PEI). The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Jillian Horton (Winnipeg), an internist, musician, medical educator and author of the recently released book We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing, as well as host of the NAC speaker series Arts, Medicine and #Life. 

“As the National Arts Centre works to lead and support the renewal of the Canadian performing arts sector, we are very happy to present these fascinating events that focus on the voices and experiences of women with careers in the performing arts,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon. 


4p.m. EST, NAC Website and Facebook page 

The NAC is proud to present the Canadian premiere of Forte, a 60-minute documentary by the American filmmaker David Donnelly that explores the notion of success through the lens of three female musicians. Using classical music as a powerful example, the film reveals realities of the societal expectations women face today as private and professional individuals. 

Forte features an entirely female ensemble cast. Tatiana Berman is a cultural entrepreneur and mother of three, struggling to balance her family obligations with an effort to re-establish her career. Lucia Caruso is an Argentinian composer who gets a career-defining opportunity to score a feature film, discovering whether she can meet her own artistic expectations under pressure. Eldbjørg Hemsing is a young Norwegian soloist who champions a rare, self-discovered composition and risks a promising career to bring it to life. These intriguing, inspiring stories are put into context through commentary by some of the world’s top classical music personalities, including Paavo Järvi, Tan Dun, JoAnn Falletta and Ksenia Bashmet. 

“Today, it is virtually impossible to skim through your social media feed without being bombarded by compelling images of success,” said Anastasia Boudanoque, who produced Forte together with Donnelly.  “But what does success actually mean for each and every one of us? This question is especially challenging for women, who are often held to complex and often conflicting standards. The women in this film have the courage to define success for themselves, and I hope their stories will inspire the audience to do the same.” 




French panel 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Broadcast on the NAC website and Facebook page  

Rhodnie Désir (Montreal), public speaker, choreographer, Artistic Director of danseRD Créations, and founder of Dêzam, an organization that has developed more than 2,500 cultural initiatives. In 2017, she launched her dance company danseRD Créations. She is frequently invited to speak at conferences and serve as a jurist with the Montreal Arts Council, le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Canada Council of the Arts.

Véronique Lacroix (Montreal), the recipient of multiple conducting awards, and who founded the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) in 1987 to work closely with composers. Every summer, she leads the New Music workshop at the Orford Music Academy with longtime partners, including Ana Sokolović, with whom she’s been collaborating since 1996.

Émilie Monnet (Montreal), founder of Oniskha Productions, a Montreal-based interdisciplinary arts organisation that creates bridges between indigenous peoples worldwide while honoring their diversity, richness and resilience. At the intersection of theatre, performance and media arts, her practice centres on questions of identity, memory, history and transformation.

Geneviève Pelletier (Winnipeg), a Métis performer and director, and Artistic and Executive Director of Théâtre Cercle Molière, who is interested in the intermingling/interweaving of cultures and the myriad possibilities opening up in a world that is getting smaller all the time, giving rise to complex and fertile spaces for creation.

English panel 12:30 – 1:30 p.m,
Broadcast on the NAC website and Facebook page 


Nicole Brooks (Toronto), a filmmaker, director, performer, singer, playwright, composer, curator, teacher and ‘art-ivist’ who has devoted more than 20 years producing innovative content for the stage and screen, with a focus on narratives that illuminate the peoples of the African Diaspora. She is the creator, composer and librettist of – and an actor in –  Obeah Opera.

Sylvia Cloutier (Kuujjuaq, Nunavik), a performer, actor, musician, playwright, television and theatre producer, director, motivational speaker and mother currently residing in Montreal. Over the course of her illustrious 25-year career as a singer, she has performed nationally and internationally both as a solo artist and in collaboration with many esteemed artists and ensembles, including Madeleine Allakariallak, Tafelmusik and the NAC Orchestra.

Leela Gilday (Yellowknife), a singer-songwriter born and raised in the Northwest Territories who writes about the people and the land that created her. She has toured festivals and concert halls with her four-piece band through every province and territory in Canada. She has played in the United States, Greenland, Australia, New Zealand and several countries in Europe.

Heidi Susanne MacDonald (Rosebud, AB), a queer, multidisciplinary theatre artist who is a graduate of Rosebud School of the Arts Mentorship in Acting program. She primarily functions as an actor and director but is also a playwright and fight choreographer. She is drawn to stories that inspire hope and that call for intersectionality and inclusivity. In addition to her work in theatre, Heidi also works as a nurse.

Irish Mythen (Ireland/PEI), whose latest release, Little Bones, gained her recognition around the globe, including a 2020 JUNO nomination for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, seven Music PEI 2020 nominations and two wins — Touring Artist of the Year and Roots Contemporary Recording of the Year, and a Canadian Folk Music Nomination for Solo Artist of the Year.

The National Arts Centre (NAC) is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams—the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety—and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation.



Mary Gordon 
Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications
National Arts Centre