Christopher Deacon is also appointed Chair of the Performing Arts Centres Consortium, regrouping the CEOs of North America’s largest performing arts venues.

APRIL 28, 2022 – OTTAWA, CANADA – The Board of Trustees of the National Arts Centre announced today they have extended the mandate of Christopher Deacon as President and CEO of the NAC, until December 3, 2025. Christopher Deacon was initially appointed on June 12, 2018 for a five-year term to head the National Arts Centre.

“As arts institutions across the country are going through challenging times, the extension of Christopher Deacon’s tenure as President and CEO of the National Arts Centre is excellent news for the NAC, but also for the performing arts in Canada,” said Adrian Burns, Chair of the NAC Board of Trustees. “Christopher has provided outstanding leadership during an unprecedented and critical period for the arts, encompassing the pandemic and the global call for social justice. He has been a calm and steady presence, generous in his approach, and has the full confidence and support of our Board of Trustees in leading the Corporation through the next years.”

In addition to being extended as President and CEO of the National Arts Centre until December 2025, Christopher Deacon has been named as Chair of North America’s Performing Arts Centre Consortium (PACC), at their semi-annual meeting in Los Angeles. The consortium brings together CEOs of the 36 largest and most prominent performing arts centres in Canada and in the U.S. As Chair, Christopher Deacon will work with others to focus further development of the performing arts sector towards the return of live performances, pandemic recovery, and sectoral transformation in addressing social justice issues.

“I am honoured to lead the National Arts Centre at such a critical time. Canada’s artists have so much to offer audiences and communities, and it’s essential that institutions like the NAC do all we can to support them, and provide them with resources and opportunities to shine,” said Christopher Deacon. “I’m equally honoured to be asked by my North American colleagues to convene discussions through the Performing Arts Centre Consortium (PACC). The live performing arts sector has been hit hard by the pandemic. Artists, creators, producers, and presenters have had to adapt and reimagine a path forward, rethinking their relationships with their communities and audiences, but also their business model and operations.”

Throughout his career, Christopher Deacon has been a champion of the arts who believes in supporting ambitious new creation and propelling Canadian artists on the world stage. He is also a strong proponent of making performing arts centres more open, accessible, and engaged with their communities.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, Christopher Deacon has guided the organization while securing much-needed short-term federal funding that allowed the NAC to focus on leading and supporting the renewal of the Canadian performing arts sector. The NAC has created or co-produced numerous artistic initiatives in support of that vision, while sparking research about Canadians’ attitudes toward returning to live arts events, as well as national re-opening guidelines for performing arts organizations and venues.

Christopher Deacon has prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion at the NAC. His tenure has included the landmark launch of Indigenous Theatre in September 2019, the naming of Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop as the first Co-Curating Company of NAC English Theatre, and presentations and co-productions with an increasing number of IBPoC artists and companies. His tenure has also seen more diverse voices appointed as artistic leaders and or senior managers at the NAC.

Under Christopher Deacon’s leadership, the NAC has helped Canadian artists perform internationally. His first year as President and CEO saw the celebration of the 50th anniversary 2018-2019 season of the NAC with special initiatives, including a European Tour by the NAC Orchestra. From October 2021 until March 2022, the NAC partnered with Global Affairs Canada and curated Canada’s cultural programming at Expo 2020 Dubai, showcasing more than 100 diverse Canadian artists to international audiences. And last month, the NAC Orchestra, led by Alexander Shelley, successfully toured the “Truth in our Time” concert, with a return to New York’s Carnegie Hall for the first time in 30 years.

A strong believer in digital platforms and initiatives to reach broader audiences, Christopher Deacon spearheaded a partnership with CBC/Radio-Canada to produce a one-hour television broadcast, in English and in French, of the 2021 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, which was nominated for Canadian Screen Awards. The 2022 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala will return to Southam Hall on May 28, 2022.

The President and CEO of the NAC works with an exceptional team of artistic leaders: Music Director Alexander Shelley; Dance Executive Producer Cathy Levy; French Theatre Artistic Director Mani Soleymanlou; English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley; Indigenous Theatre Artistic Director Kevin Loring; Popular Music and Variety Executive Producer Heather Gibson; National Creation Fund Artistic Producer Heather Moore; and Executive Chef Kenton Leier. In September 2022, Nina Lee Aquino will join the team, succeeding Jillian Keiley as Artistic Director of English Theatre.

Before his appointment as President and CEO, Christopher Deacon was Managing Director of the NAC Orchestra for 22 years. During that time, he was the driving force behind numerous ambitious initiatives. He led the Orchestra to tour nationally and internationally and was Executive Producer of Life Reflected, a multidisciplinary, critically acclaimed NAC commission that the Orchestra performed across Canada, and in Europe in 2019. He also led the committee overseeing the NAC’s recent Architectural Rejuvenation and Production Renewal Projects. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the University of Toronto.

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Annabelle Cloutier
Executive Director, Strategy and Communications
National Arts Centre

Mary Gordon
Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications
National Arts Centre