The National Arts Centre Brings Canadian Performing Artists to Expo

A dynamic and diverse lineup notably features Dominique Fils-Aimé, Jill Barber, Celeigh Cardinal, RIIT, Dancers of Damelahamid, Beòlach and Les Grands Hurleurs

The National Arts Centre (NAC) is collaborating with Global Affairs Canada to present a broad spectrum of Canada’s performing arts at Expo 2020 Dubai, taking place in the United Arab Emirates from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.

After a one-year postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to welcome over 190 participants and millions of visits over the course of the six-month event. This is the first world Expo hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.

Expertly curated by NAC Executive Producer Heather Gibson, the NAC’s cultural programme is an integral part of Canada’s overall participation in Expo 2020 Dubai. It will showcase the breadth, diversity and excellence of Canada’s performing arts, in music, dance, theatre and more.

Jill Barber, Les Grands Hurleurs and Beòlach kick off Canada’s dynamic and diverse performing arts lineup in Dubai on October 7. Indigenous artists will be participating in the Festival of Indigenous and Tribal Ideas Te Aratini from October 15 to 20. They include Celeigh Cardinal, Digging RootsZoey Roy, Dancers of Damelahamid, Sarain Fox, Kevin Loring and Christine Frederick.  Shawnee Kish will also be featured later in October in the Late Night Music Series. In December, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Pierre Kwenders and RITT take the stage.

On behalf of the National Arts Centre, I am thrilled to be presenting a program that is a true representation of our diversity, cultural background, and the future of performing arts in Canada,” said Heather Gibson, Executive Producer of NAC Popular Music and Variety. Art plays a unifying role between cultures and people. Expo 2020 Dubai is a great opportunity for Canadian artists to perform on an international stage in the United Arab Emirates, to bring our nations closer together through culture and artistic expression.” 

“It is with the future in mind that Canada proudly joins the world at Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Marie-Geneviève Mounier, Commissioner General, Expo 2020 Dubai. “As a space to share our country’s values, culture, ideas, artistic excellence, and other aspects of our identity, the Canada Pavilion will inspire authentic exchanges between peoples and nations. The coming months will be an opportunity to reflect on our collective future.  We are thrilled to have the National Arts Centre and Canada’s world-class artists as part of the Canadian voice.”

For the full list of artists being featured this fall, keep an eye on the Canada at Expo 2020 Dubai website. Performing arts will be presented during the full length of the world Expo, until March 2022.


Canada’s Expo 2020 theme, The Future in Mind, serves as a platform to promote opportunities for trade, investment, education, tourism and immigration, from across Canada’s provinces, territories and cities, and throughout all sectors of society. Canada’s participation highlights Canadian leadership in key sectors, including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, education, digitization, telemedicine, clean technology, agriculture, health sciences, aerospace and more. Canada’s approach to Expo 2020 Dubai is inspired by our core values of diversity, inclusion, human rights and gender equality as the foundation to building a prosperous and inclusive nation capable and intent on offering solutions to global challenges.


  • Universal exhibitions are held every five years. Their themes are designed to raise awareness and find answers to the universal challenges of our time.
  • Dubai Expo 2020 will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and the largest event ever held in the Arab world.
  • The overall theme of the exhibition is Connecting Minds, Creating Futures and aims to introduce new ideas and find solutions to global challenges

Health measures related to COVID put in place by Expo organizers include thermal cameras and disinfection stations throughout the Expo site as well as mandatory mask wearing and social distancing.  Visitors will be required to present a valid vaccination certificate issued by the relevant national authority or present a negative PCR test certificate taken within the previous 72 hours to gain access to the Expo site.



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.



Mireille Allaire 
Senior Manager, Strategy and Communications
National Arts Centre


Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada


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