THE NAC WILL KICK OFF SUMMER WITH A BIG BANG: A CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL TO DELIGHT YOUNG AND OLD

News Release

Summer edition to be presented over the Canada Day long weekend

Ottawa, May 24, 2022 – On July 2 and 3, the sound of children’s laughter will echo through the National Arts Centre (NAC) during the BIG BANG Festival, an all-music event dedicated to youth. Forced to go digital last February, the popular sound adventure is back for 2022 (take 2) in a live edition to bring joy and wonder to young and old alike!

“Nothing compares to the joy of starting the summer with a BIG BANG. After two long winters of hoping for the return of this great sonic celebration at the NAC, it’s about to unfold in the most dazzling way to shake up our legs and delight our eardrums,” says Mélanie Dumont, Festival Programmer and Director of Youth Programming, NAC French Theatre.

Since 2019, the annual BIG BANG has attracted thousands of young visitors and their families to the NAC for an incredible weekend of sound. This summer’s edition, a first for the NAC, returns to a more familiar format with an array of amazing on-site events and performances. Free activities, sound experiences and interactive works of art of all kinds will be offered throughout the weekend.

In addition to the very affordable paid shows, a wide range of performances and activities will be presented free of charge to allow families to enjoy their festival to the max!

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

The BIG BANG shows will blow your mind ... and your ears. This new edition includes a concert in a greenhouse, a hip hop parade, musical plants, secret performances, and much more!

The Greenhouse 

Three musicians in a greenhouse are rockin’ some garden songs! Rave party for kids, 360° show—The Greenhouse is all that and more! A concert–performance like a burst of spring freshness in the heart of winter. Who says vegetables are boring? 

July 2-3 | $15 

35 minutes ● In English ● Ages 2–7 

*A French version of the show, Le Potager, will also be presented. 

Sarah Thawer 

A drumming superstar, Sarah Thawer rocks out in live performances and in her YouTube videos! A born percussionist, she has mastered all styles to perfection, from jazz and funk to R&B and hip-hop. Warning: you may be completely blown away by the energy of this beat pro! 

July 3 | $15 

45 minutes ● Bilingual ● Age 5+ 

Music Rooms

Are you a fan of the unexpected? Don’t miss these short, intimate performances! These micro-concerts in a welcoming and casual setting are a festival favourite. Let us guide you to a mysterious and unusual destination inside the NAC, where you’ll meet passionate artists. The series is offered in a “pick-your-own” format: choose just one micro-concert or attend them all!

July 2 & 3 | $5

20 minutes ● Multilingual ● Ages 5+

OVERVIEW OF FREE ACTIVITIES AND SHOWS

Urban Science Brass Band

There’s nothing like a brass band—especially this one! – to turn a place into an improvised dance floor. With its lineup of brass instruments, percussion and MCs, the Urban Science Brass Band cranks up the energy to blast out some hip-hop classics and get everybody up and dancing!

July 2-3 – 3 shows per day | Free

Bilingual ● All ages

Lulling Time

A dozen or so rocking chairs are waiting for you in NAC’s public space. They’re there for young and old alike. Equipped with built-in speakers, each chair wraps itself around you to whisper a few beautiful sung treasures from here and elsewhere. Complete your experience by visiting the LULLING VAN, an authentic Westfalia converted into a recording studio and share your own childhood lullabies.

July 2 & 3 | Free

Multilingual ● All ages

Solarium

Once upon a time, in the heart of the NAC, there was a magical greenhouse where singing plants grew…Visit Solarium and instantly become a sound gardener. Did you really think that all plants grew silently?! An interactive experience for all.

July 2 & 3 | Free

Without words ● For all ages

Piano for All

When a musician and two dancers come across a piano sleeping in the middle of nowhere, anything can happen. A few notes played and the melodies start to flow, the bodies come to life and a thrilling pas de deux begins—dance and music! The talented trio loves a challenge, and constantly pushes itself to take its creativity to the next level. A real joy to watch!

July 2 & 3 | Free

Bilingual ● All ages

Cabin

An impressive mountain of rocking chairs, with a soft carpet in the middle; they stack and nestle together like all the generations that have rocked in them. Come and listen to what the rocking chairs’ memory whispers in your ear. Like a bonfire, it crackles with recollections and possibilities! 

July 2 & 3 | Free

Without words ● All ages 

PLAN YOUR VISIT 

Explore the full lineup and book your spot right here: www.bigbangfestival.ca  

WHAT MAKES THE BIG BANG UNIQUE? 

The BIG BANG loves to travel, and what’s more, it loves to take visitors of all ages on adventures. It builds on the legacy of the OORSMEER festival, founded by Wouter Van Looy in 1995, to offer children an artistic and musical program designed specifically for them, and which they even help deliver by participating in certain interactive installations. 

Over the past 10 years the festival has travelled to several European cities, from Tallinn to Lisbon, from Antwerp to Athens, from Seville to Dublin, from Lille to Enschede, via Ghent, Brussels, Rouen, Reykjavik and Copenhagen. In 2019, the event took a giant leap across the ocean to land in its first North American city: Ottawa! Since then, each edition has been a resounding success, bringing together thousands of curious people attracted by the many guest artists and some 30 invigorating performances and micro-concerts.

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR BIG BANG FRIENDS 

The Ottawa presentation of the BIG BANG is the result of the NAC’s relationship with Belgium’s Zonzo Compagnie, which specializes in musical theatre for young audiences and is directed by Wouter Van Looy. Over the past few years the NAC has presented several Zonzo performances, including Listen to the Silence, set to the music of John Cage; Slumberland, an exploration of the world of dreams and the night; and Mile(s)tones, a show about legendary jazzman Miles Davis. 

The BIG BANG in Ottawa is supported by the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme, Winterlude, the Sandra and Alain Bouchard Foundation, and Sun Life. The BIG BANG is an initiative of Zonzo Compagnie. 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE 

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, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety—and nurtures the next generation of artists and audiences from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation. 

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: 

Julie Gunville

Communications Strategist, BIG BANG Festival 

National Arts Centre

613 668-2736

julie.gunville@nac-cna.ca

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