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


JUNE 17, 2021 – OTTAWA, CANADA – As the public health situation in Ontario continues to improve, and as the province moves toward a gradual re-opening, the National Arts Centre is planning to safely welcome live audiences back to the NAC for a 2021–2022 season filled with exceptional performances by a wide range of diverse artists.

After many months of hard work and preparation by the NAC’s programming departments — the NAC Orchestra, English Theatre in collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, Dance, and Popular Music and Variety — the National Arts Centre’s stages will once again come to life with outstanding performances in music, theatre and dance by some of the most creative artists in the country. Programming and ticketing details will be announced in mid-August. The season will begin on September 10 with a concert by the NAC Orchestra.  

“After a profoundly challenging period for the performing arts in Canada, it is heartening to announce plans to welcome audiences back to the National Arts Centre,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon. “The performing arts offer each of us solace, moments of reflection, and inspiration to move forward. Let us all draw upon those qualities as we resume fuller lives in the coming year. I want to thank the generous donors and sponsors who have helped us deliver programming during this difficult period. We look forward to engaging our audiences both at the NAC and online, as we showcase exceptional programming from a wonderfully diverse array of artists from across Canada.”

Considering the uncertainty of the NAC’s transition back into live venues, this upcoming season will feature works that can be experienced safely and comfortably given evolving circumstances. The well-being of  audiences, artists and staff remains the NAC’s highest priority. Health and safety protocols, including seating capacity in the halls, will continuously follow public health guidelines.


In response to the international movement toward a more equitable society, and as part of the NAC’s commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in its Strategic Plan called The Next Act, the 2021–2022 season will showcase a wide range of artists, voices and perspectives. As part of that effort, the NAC will be looking at new ways to speak to new audiences, particularly those from equity-seeking groups, and to ensuring that all audiences feel welcome.

For many years, the NAC has been showcasing and building relationships with diverse artists in all its programming departments. In September 2019, NAC Indigenous Theatre launched its first season, shining a spotlight on the voices, stories and perspectives of Indigenous artists from across the country. In the fall of 2020, NAC English Theatre announced the appointment of Black Theatre Workshop as the NAC’s first Co-Curating Company, sharing half of English Theatre’s programming budget and decision-making for the 2021–2022 season. And in May 2021, the NAC announced the appointment of Germaine Chazou-Essindi as its first-ever Director of Equity and Inclusion, and Félicia Tremblay, Senior Advisor of Outreach and Engagement in that space – an important step toward creating a welcoming and respectful environment for artists, audiences and staff.  

“Our society is going through a transformative change in recognizing the importance and enormous value of diverse voices and perspectives,” Germaine Chazou-Essindi said. “As someone who has recently joined the NAC, I’m excited and energized by the opportunities that lie ahead — in both showcasing extraordinary performances by outstanding, diverse artists on our stages, and in building relationships with new audiences and communities. The National Arts Centre can and should be a gathering place for all Canadians, from all backgrounds, to experience the performing arts in all of their beauty and diversity.”



All of the NAC’s disciplines will be back with full seasons on the NAC’s stages. Programming and ticketing details will be announced in mid-August. 

The NAC Orchestra will offer a variety of classical and popular concerts, and family programs, appealing to a broad range of musical audiences. The season will include major symphonies and concertos by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Shostakovich, as well as music by today's most vibrant and interesting composers, with exceptional Canadian and international guest artists representing new voices and diverse perspectives.

In the first season of English Theatre's groundbreaking Co-Curating Company in Residence program, in which Black Theatre Workshop will co-curate the 2021-2022 programming, English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley and BTW's Artistic Director Quincy Armorer have assembled a diverse and engaging lineup of theatre, symposia and national artist development activities.

French Theatre’s season will be the last to be programmed by French Theatre Artistic Director Brigitte Haentjens after a highly successful 10-year tenure. The actor, author and director Mani Soleymanlou will succeed Brigitte as of September, and will take advantage of this season to meet the public, artists and the community.

Indigenous Theatre’s third season includes brilliant productions that will highlight the distinct natures of Indigenous artists’ perspectives, territories, cultures and languages. As always, Indigenous Theatre is excited to share with a wide audience the brilliance and creativity of Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island.

NAC Dance will offer a diverse program of works to delight and inspire audiences, while helping to kick-start the return to touring by Canadian dance companies. Dance artists from across Canada — as well as two international troupes — will be featured, providing an exceptional range of contemporary expressions.

Popular Music and Variety will showcase dozens of talented emerging and established music artists on stage and in person, and its Fridays at the Fourth series will continue partnering on shows with venues from across Canada, as well as livestreamed performances. And the NAC’s Public Spaces programming will offer a variety of free performing arts experiences, adapting as needed to health and safety regulations.

Zones Théâtrales, a showcase and gathering for professional theatre from Francophone communities across Canada and from the regions of Quebec, led by Artistic Director Gilles Poulin-Denis, will take place from September 13-18. Programming details will be announced on June 22.


Since the pandemic was first declared in March 2020, the NAC has been singularly focused on leading and supporting the renewal of the performing arts sector; it is the NAC’s guiding vision. The 2021–2022 season illustrates that vision in action through performances in partnerships with artists, arts organizations and venues across the country; a strong commitment to supporting and presenting work by artists from equity-seeking groups; lively engagement with new audiences; and expanded in-person and online learning opportunities for students and families. The NAC will continue to play a leadership role, together with our partners across the country, to successfully and safely bring the performing arts back to life in Canadian communities.


Over the course of the pandemic, the National Arts Centre launched a number of digital initiatives to support Canadian performing artists and engage with audiences online. They include #CanadaPerforms, NACO Live, #DanceForth, Grand Acts of Theatre, Prologue(s), Indigenous Cities and the Arts Alive arts learning programming, among many others. The NAC will continue to use its digital platforms to engage with Canadians online, and sees digital technology as an important part of its future. All details of livestreamed performances and other digital offerings will be listed on the NAC website.


The National Arts Centre 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 in collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop, 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.


Programming at the National Arts Centre is made possible through the support of many generous individuals and organizations from across the country. The NAC Foundation would like to thank BMO Financial Group, Dasha Shenkman, OBE, Hon RCM, Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, C.M., O.N.L., LLD (hc), Facebook Canada, Frank & Debbi Sobey, Margaret Fountain, C.M., DFA (h) & David Fountain, C.M., Mark Motors Group, Robert Tennant, Rogers Communications, Shirley Greenberg, C.M., OOnt, SiriusXM Canada, TD Bank Group, The Azrieli Foundation, The Hon. Hilary M. Weston & Mr. W. Galen Weston, The Janice and Earle O’Born Fund for Excellence in the Performing Arts, The Leacross Foundation, The RBC Foundation, and The Slaight Family Foundation. Thank you also to our many other supporters across the country.

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Annabelle Cloutier
Executive Director, Strategy and Communications
National Arts Centre

Mary Gordon
Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications
National Arts Centre