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



October 21, 2021 – OTTAWA – The National Arts Centre mourns the loss of Martha Henry, one of the greatest actors this country has ever known.

Ms. Henry was best known for her extraordinary performances at the Stratford Festival, her theatrical home for a remarkable 47 seasons. As the Festival noted today, she was “a leading light in a generation focused on building a uniquely Canadian industry with a uniquely Canadian voice.”  She received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 1996.

She performed on the National Arts Centre stage numerous times, including in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented at the Capitol Theatre (1968); New World by John Murrell (1984); The Stillborn Lover by Timothy Findley (1993); and Copenhagen by Michael Frayn, directed by her dear friend and colleague Diana Leblanc (2003). In 2015, she collaborated with the NAC Orchestra on the multimedia production of Life Reflected, which toured Canada and internationally. Comprised of four portraits of exceptional Canadian women, Martha Henry narrated Zosha Di Castri’s composition about Alice Munro, called Dear Life, based on the short story from Ms. Munro’s book of the same name.  

“Martha Henry was a titan of Canadian Theatre — a brilliant director, an inspiring mentor, a leading artistic director and a legendary actor,” said English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley. “Her impact was felt across the country and her magic was seen by many thousands.  We are so fortunate that she chose Canada as the place to share her great gifts.”

“Canada has lost one of its brightest lights,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon. “Canadians will always be grateful for the enormous contributions Martha Henry made to Canadian theatre, and to our country. All of us the National Arts Centre send our deepest condolences to her family, and to her Stratford Festival family.”


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 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 Nation.



Mary Gordon
Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications
National Arts Centre
613 601-3877