OTTAWA, CANADA – From June 1 – August 31, 2021 more than 30 Canadian artists will participate in the National Arts Centre (NAC) ’s summer artistic residency program "Free Rein," a new three-month-long initiative in support of the renewal of the Canadian performing arts sector.

The Artistic Residencies will enable the development of new artistic creations and enable more time for artists to enhance their previous works, within the genres of dance, theatre, music, and interdisciplinary arts. It will also support creators who were impacted by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Roughly half of the residencies are for projects led by artists from equity deserving groups (IBPOC, women, LGBTQ2S+). Some of the Artistic Residencies also include an offer for young emerging artists to participate in observing the creation process and the professional development opportunity to further leadership skills.

“The summer residency program comes at a crucial time for artists and creators across the country, who have seen opportunities to create new works dwindle due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. As a national institution we are committed to supporting the renewal of the Canadian performing arts sector. The launch of this new multi-disciplinary summer residency program is a crucial step on the journey back to live, in-person performances next season,” says CEO, National Arts Centre, Christopher Deacon. “Participating artists will have the opportunity to access venue spaces and performance halls across Canada and receive additional time and resources to deepen their artistic work and refine ideas that are in the early stages of development. They were selected by the NAC’s artistic leadership team and the curation was also achieved in collaboration with regional venues and companies.”

One of the Artistic residencies is a Summer Songwriting Camp on Prince Edward Island hosted by Juno award nominated singer songwriter, Irish Mythen.  Bringing together five emerging artists and four industry veterans, the camp will explore collaborative songwriting, offer insight on building careers in the music industry, touring tips, and a session with a sound technician to provide practical skills to make the most of a live stage performance.  Hosted at the Goeland Centre, the Summer Songwriting Camp will run from June 6 – 10, 2021.

The NAC’s website will also feature videos and texts exploring how artists transform an idea or inspiration into a fully realized work of art. A series of testimonials will speak to the unique artistic process behind individual works, encouraging the public to learn about creative processes. It will provide a sneak peek behind the curtain and illustrate what it really takes to bring a show to life on stage.


Participating Artists include:


NAC Dance 

Ralph Escamillan
Aria Evans

MT Space


NAC English Theatre

Black Theatre Workshop, with Walter Borden and Peter Hinton-Davis

Black Theatre Workshop, with Omari Newton and Diane Roberts

DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT), with Daniele Bartolini

100 Watt Productions, with Kristina Watt


NAC French Theatre

Allain Roy (Théâtre populaire d’Acadie)

Catherine Bourgeois (Joe Jack et John)

Julien Morrissette and Karina Pawlikowski 

Iannicko N'Doua 

Milena Buziak (Voyageurs Immobiles)

Philippe Boutin (Empire Panique)


NAC Indigenous Theatre

Jeanette Kotowich with Michelle Olson (Raven Spirit Dance)

Ryan Cunningham

Corey Payette (Urban Ink) with mentee Cheyenne Scott

Caleigh Crow with Nathan Howe

Stacy Da Silva with David McMurry and Raven Spirit Dance

The Awaken Festival and Gwaandak Theatre


NAC Orchestra 

Gabriel  Dharmoo

Ensemble Obiora

Banff Centre Evolution: Classical (with Dior Quartet; Indigo Trio; Abigail Sinclair and Ria Kim;  

Dastoor Ensemble; Eybler Quartet; Radia; Calliopie’s Ballade and SHHH! Ensemble with choreographer Marie-Josée Chartier)


NAC Popular Music and Variety – summer songwriting camp

Irish Mythen  

Kinley Dowling 

Sergey Varlamov 

Catherine MacLellan

Sarah Hagen

Brielle Ansems

Emmet MacLellan

Joce Reyome

Tiffany Lu


Zones Théâtrales 

Katia Café-Fébrissy 

Véronique Lachance 

Noémie Avidar 



The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. As part of its Strategic Plan, the NAC’s vision is to lead and support the renewal of the performing arts sector. 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. 




Andrea Ruttan 

Communications Strategist 

National Arts Centre



Camylle Gauthier-Trépanier
Communication officer, French Theatre
National Arts Centre

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