NAC English Theatre and Black Theatre Workshop Launch the First Curated Production with The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time - February 4 – 12

News Release


NAC English Theatre and Black Theatre Workshop begin their Co-Curation partnership with multiple character one-man play

January 26, 2022 – OTTAWA (Canada) – In December 2020, NAC English Theatre, in partnership with Black Theatre Workshop (BTW), announced a shared curation model for the national stage, and introduced BTW as the inaugural Co-Curating Company-in-Residence. Under this initiative, BTW will curate half of English Theatre’s programming for the 2021-2022 season, providing the opportunity to envision its mandate of fostering and showcasing Black Canadian art and artists on a national scale. 

Now, in 2022, the NAC and BTW will launch the first curated production with The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time, a one-man, multi-character tour-de-force written and performed by the legendary Canadian actor, poet, and playwright Walter Borden. Directed by former NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Peter Hinton-Davis, The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time follows the moving and intimate journey of a young Black queer man growing up in rural Nova Scotia. 

Initially written and performed by Walter Borden in 1986, and presented as Tightrope Time Ain’t Nuthin’ More Than Some Itty Bitty Madness Between Your Twilight & Your Dawn, the work was one of the first Canadian plays to explore male homosexuality from a Black perspective.

Borden originally played 14 characters, each of whom was crucial in reflecting his philosophy on the journey of life. Now, through the voices of 10 extraordinary characters, Borden delivers an autobiographical solo performance as a distilled feast for the senses.

The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time is a rare opportunity to witness a Black Canadian legend at the peak of his artistry: the culmination of a lifetime of joy, resilience, and power.

The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time
Written and performed by Walter Borden 
Directed by Peter Hinton-Davis 
Set, Lighting, Projection and Costume Designer Andy Moro; Sound Designer Adrienne Danrich; Associate Sound Designer Wayne Hawthorne; Stage Manager Melissa Rood;
Assistant Stage Manager Alison Crosby 
An NAC English Theatre production
Curated by Black Theatre Workshop

In-person in the Azrieli Studio
February 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12 8 PM  
Tickets for performances $15 (preview February 4) and $24 

For tickets, visit Ticketmaster to purchase online or call 1-844-985-2787 (ARTS). In-person purchases at the NAC Box Office are suspended until further notice.  
As health and safety regulations continue to evolve, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible before you return to the NAC. Please visit  to find out what you need to know before accessing the building and facilities.  
The National Arts Centre Foundation would like to thank Official Hotel Partner Embassy Hotel & Suites, and Official Rail Partner VIA Rail. Special Thank You to Margaret Fountain, C.M., DFA (h) & David Fountain, C.M. and to the Dr. Kanta Marwah Endowment for English Theatre. 

The creation of the Co-Curating Company in Residence came to light after calls for significant change in the theatre industry. Recognizing the substantial lack of resources and opportunities available to Black artists in Canada, NAC English Theatre engaged members of the IBPoC arts community to guide us in a response. The catalysing force of Ravi Jain and his team from Why Not Theatre, along with advisors Audrey Dwyer and Mike Payette, worked alongside the leadership of NAC English Theatre to develop the model of the Co-Curating Company.

As the planning cycle for the 2021-22 season began, NAC and BTW realized that an abbreviated season would not be enough to allow the residency to reach its full potential. In July, it was announced that BTW will continue as Co-Curating Company through the 2022-23 season. This will allow BTW to co-curate another season, with access to the greater range of resources available in a more stable planning cycle and equally, will allow NAC English Theatre to benefit from working with BTW for another year


Entering its 51st season, Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) is Canada’s longest running theatre company dedicated to the works of Black and diasporic communities. BTW’s mission is to promote and produce outstanding theatre that educates, entertains and inspires. The company strives to create greater cross-cultural understanding by challenging its audience and the status quo. Expanding the representation of Black Canadian artists, BTW bridges cultural divides – uniting hearts, minds and communities.

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.