News Release

The National Arts Centre celebrates 10 years since the first Scene festival and unveils full programming lineup for Northern Scene. 250 Artists. 50 Events. 10 Days.

February 25, 2013

Heather Moore, Producer and Executive Director of the National Arts Centre’s Scene festivals, today announced the complete programming lineup for Northern Scene.  An eclectic, multi-disciplinary arts festival featuring the work of 250 of the best established and emerging artists from Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as Nunatsiavut and Nunavik, Northern Scene will offer Ottawa/Gatineau audiences a contemporary cultural snapshot of the North. Northern music, theatre, dance, visual and media arts, film, literature, storytelling, food and fashion events will invade the capital at 26 venues across the city from April 25 to May 4, 2013.  Presenting Partner of Northern Scene is TransCanada Corporation.  The complete festival brochure is available to download at


The largest gathering ever of northern artists outside the region, Northern Scene is the sixth in a series of biennial national festivals produced by the NAC to showcase the work of artists from a specific region of Canada.  Since 2003, the festivals have focused a spotlight on arts and culture from coast to coast.  The inaugural Atlantic Scene was a huge success and was followed by Alberta Scene (2005), Quebec Scene (2007), BC Scene (2009), and Prairie Scene (2011).  The NAC is proud to be celebrating ten years of Scene festivals.

Northern Scene is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for audiences to explore, discover and enjoy the breadth of the contemporary northern arts and culture scene in one place, over ten, event-packed days.  What we think we know about the North comes face to face with the complex and diverse realities of northern life - and the two seldom match up.  Music is inspired by experience and the land, but takes on an entirely modern energy; Theatre reflects the stories that have shaped a unique, contemporary northern sensibility; Dance breathes new life into time-honoured traditions; Visual and media arts investigate the land, its history and its cultural collisions with a fresh lens; Film, Literature and Storytelling tell twenty-first century tales, unearthing the essence of what it means to be “of” the North; Food draws on local inspiration and creates an entirely new cuisine melding the familiar and the foreign; and Fashion uses traditional materials to create stunningly original modern designs.  The North is teeming with creativity, collaboration and invention and Ottawa/Gatineau audiences are about to have their eyes opened to what it truly means to be a northern artist!

Just a few of the artists taking part in the festival are Yukon’s Sobey Award-nominated visual artist  Charles Stankievech, spoken word artist and author Ivan Coyote, singer-songwriter Sarah MacDougall and the powerful Dakhká Khwáan Dancers.  From the Northwest Territories, singer-songwriter Leela Gilday, author Richard Van Camp, fiddler Richard Lafferty and storyteller Pat Braden; and from Nunavut, singer/vocal artist Tanya Tagaq, circus troupe Artcirq, artist Shuvinai Ashoona and alt-rocker Lucie Idlout; from Nunavik, singer-songwriter Elisapie and poet/spoken word artist Taqralik Partridge; and from Nunatsiavut, carver John Teriak and the Nunatsiavut Drummers.

Northern Scene offers something for everyone.  From the late-night vibes of DJ Madeskimo and Godson at the funky opening weekend gallery-crawl/fashion-show/party SWARM to the hands-on activities of Family Fun Day; from circus performance to circumpolar songstresses; from Northern Blues to Northern Rock; and from silent film to spoken word, the festival brings the very best of the North south.  In addition, for the first time, Northern Scene is presenting an Artists’ Marketplace to showcase and offer for purchase some of the remarkable and distinct creations of 20 artists from across the territories. 

A goal of the Scene festivals is to foster the careers of artists by introducing them to recognized presenters from around the world.   Since 2003 the NAC has invited 390 presenters from 27 countries to the Scene festivals to discover and book new talent, which has resulted in over 340 performance bookings and more than $1.2 million in fees for artists.  For Northern Scene, 50 national and international agents, presenters and talent scouts will have an opportunity to discover and engage artists for their audiences. 

 Support for the artists of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut

The National Arts Centre is thrilled to be marking the 10thanniversary of the Scene festivals by celebrating the arts and culture of Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as Nunavik and Nunatsiavut, and to shine a much-deserved spotlight on an area of the country that fascinates so many Canadians,” said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “In this, the NAC’s ‘Year of the North’, it has been a privilege to discover and work with hundreds of northern artists through our Orchestra tour last fall and now through Northern Scene. I am delighted that Ottawa/Gatineau and national audiences will have an opportunity to discover many of those artists first-hand.

It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to be part of the Scene festivals since the beginning, and I’m certainly proud to think of all the wonderful artists and work that we’ve been able to showcase over the last ten years. Learning about the artists of the North has been a joyful, eye-opening and rewarding experience for me and one that I am thrilled to share with audiences locally and nationally.  I welcome the artists of the North to Ottawa/Gatineau and look forward to an exciting ten days,” said Heather Moore, Producer and Executive Director of Northern Scene.

“I would like to congratulate the National Arts Centre on showcasing the breadth, depth, and diversity of Northern arts and culture right here in our nation’s capital,” said Minister Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “This year, Canadians are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Canada’s first Arctic expedition. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talent of the artists and creators of Canada’s North.”

“CanNor is pleased to support such an extraordinary celebration of Northern talent,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) and Minister for the Arctic Council. “I hope all Canadians take this opportunity to experience the rich expression of Northern culture that this festival will display.”

“The Government of Yukon is pleased to share the territory’s cultural wealth and diversity with new audiences during Northern Scene,” Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski said. “Our vibrant arts community is part of what makes Yukon a truly outstanding place to visit and to live. We celebrate all our artists and their accomplishments and wish them a great festival experience.”

Bob McLeod, Premier of the Northwest Territories, said, “Northern Scene is a remarkable opportunity to showcase the artists of the Northwest Territories.  I am proud to support these creative people and their contemporary expression of what it is to be a northerner.  I encourage everyone to enjoy this unique opportunity to see so many great Northwest Territories artists in one place over ten days.”

Nunavummiut have a rich history of resourcefulness and imagination. Today’s artists proudly pay tribute to our ancestors while forging their own unique voices.  Northern Scene is a wonderful way for the rest of Canada to discover the variety and skill of our gifted artists.”  Premier Eva Aariak, Nunavut.

Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO, said, “Through Northern Scene, together we can celebrate diverse culture and artistic expression in new and innovative ways. There is so much we can learn—in addition to gaining a better understanding of the region, culture, history, values and traditions. We encourage Canadians to take part in the festival and explore the artistic talents of the north.”

"It's always a great pleasure and privilege to partner with the National Arts Centre on an event that reinforces one of CBC/Radio-Canada's core values: the discovery and promotion of Canadian culture," said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. "This is a great opportunity to discover the richness and diversity of Canada as we start preparing to celebrate our country's 150th anniversary."


Please refer to the detailed Northern Scene brochure and website at for more information about each of the 50 festival events that will feature the work of over 250 artists from the North. 

  • SWARM – Friday, April 26

18:00 – 21:00 Gallery Crawl

21:00 – 23:00 SWARM Party and Fashion Show (NAC)

23:00 – 02:00 After-Party (Club SAW)

At venues across Ottawa/Gatineau (see brochure pp. 12-13 for details)

Part gallery-crawl, part high-fashion runway show, part performance showcase, part party – SWARM is a one of a kind experience that has become the highlight of the Scene festivals since it debuted at BC Scene.

SWARMers board the free SWARM shuttle buses early in the evening to tour 15 exhibits featuring the work of northern visual and media artists.  Tour buses all wind up at 9 p.m. at the NAC, where the Northern Scene opening night party ramps up with:

  • High fashion from the North featuring designers working in diverse media and styles, from strikingly contemporary to traditional.  Unusual and elegant fur designs by Nunavut’s Rannva, share the runway with the elegant and luxurious designs of NWT’s Qiviuk;
  • Hip-hop artist Godson ramps up the party vibe with his infectious beats and magnetic personality;
  • DJ Madeskimo uses elements of dub, electronica, throat singing and drumming to create great, danceable grooves;
  • Throat boxing sensation Nelson Tagoona creates feel-good music with a great, positive message;
  • Dhakhá Khwáan Dancers set a powerful rhythm to kick-off the festival;
  • Relish Gourmet Food Truck delivers a taste of the North;
  • Artists’ Marketplace offers every SWARMer a chance to take a little piece of the North home;

At 11 p.m. the party continues at Club SAW and includes a performance by Yukon artist

Joseph Tisiga.

  • ARTCIRQ -  April 30


Canadian Museum of Civilization, Theatre (pp. 60-61 for details)

Inuit culture meets circus spectacle in this remarkable troupe helmed by co-founder Guillaume Saladin.  A northern success story, Artcirq thrilled audiences at the Vancouver Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the UK.



Mayfair Theatre (p. 62 for details)

An unforgettable evening of live performance with internationally acclaimed music artist Tanya Tagaq, set against a screening of the iconic silent film, Nanook of the North.  Tagaq uses her remarkable voice in a soundscape that incorporates the brilliant improvisation of Jesse Zubot and Jean Martin, and blends with Derek Charke’s original score to cast the film in a fresh, contemporary light.



Mayfair Theatre (p. 63 for details)

Take a pioneering 1923 silent film about a spirited gal who travels to the Klondike in search of fame and fortune only to confront villainy and greed, add a new script compiled entirely from the works of Shakespeare, throw in a cast of actors to perform live in sync with the film and a new musical score performed live, and you have the hit of the Vancouver International Film Festival.  Melodrama meets madcap humour for an unforgettable night of film fun.

  • A Circumpolar Soundscape:

Leela Gilday, Sylvia Cloutier, Diyet, Nive NielsenApril 25


NAC Fourth Stage (p. 16 for details)

Four distinct, highly acclaimed female Aboriginal and Inuit artists from Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Greenland perform together in an evening of contemporary song that draws a vivid portrait of the lands that shaped them.



National Arts Centre, Fourth Stage (p. 66 for details)

Richard Van Camp’s arresting short story adapted as a radio play and performed live by a cast of Aboriginal actors, directed by Yellowknife artist Reneltta Arluk.

  • SPIRIT OF THE DRUMS – April 28

13:30 and 15:30

NAC, Southam Hall Stage (pp. 28-29 for details)

This event offers a rare opportunity to enjoy the fascinating diversity of the drum dancing traditions of the North in one place, at one event.  From the majestic regalia and breathtaking power of Yukon’s Dakhká Khwáan Dancers to the narrative wealth of the Inuvik Drummers to the driving rhythms of the impressive Dehcho Drummers, no two styles are the same and each speaks eloquently to the rich cultural influences that have shaped contemporary societies across the North.

  • A TASTE OF THE ARCTIC – April 29


National Arts Centre (p. 38 for details)

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is Canada’s national Inuit organization.  Northern Scene is proud to partner with ITK to present a glamorous fundraiser celebrating the vibrant culture of one of the founding peoples in an evening of fine food, fashion, and performance.



Library and Archives Canada (p. 25 for details)

Hosted by well-loved CBC radio personality, Paul Kennedy (Ideas), this evening of song, readings, storytelling and music creates a sensory experience that takes the audience on a trip across the wide spaces, big skies, and gorgeous vistas of the North.

  • FAMILY FUN DAY – April 28

12:00 – 17:00

National Arts Centre (pp. 30-31 for details)

A day of discovery and non-stop fun for all ages, Family Fun Day celebrates all things northern at venues across the city, including at the National Arts Centre where all events are free.   Families can enjoy and participate in Arctic and Dene Games, create a unique piece of “northern” art, learn about the amazing Inuit tradition of throat singing, make a northern-themed paper doll inspired by the stunning exhibit Sewing Our Traditions, and treat yourself to a delicious taste of the North at Relish Gourmet Food Truck.   Fun events also take place at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian Museum of Nature, Shenkman Arts Centre, and the Ottawa Art Gallery



National Arts Centre, Le Salon (p. 70 for details)

Food is fun in the North and this live cooking demonstration and tasting event brings together three of the most imaginative and entertaining northern chefs and three local captains of culinary invention in a north south mashup.  Yukon’s Michele Genest, Yellowknife’s Robin Wasicuna, and Nunavut’s Rebecca Veevee pair up with NAC interim Executive Chef John Morris, Fraser Café’s Ross Fraser, and Charles Part of Les Fougères for an event that promises to spice up the festival.

In addition to these highlights, the festival features the work of 145 visual artists in 15 exhibits at partner galleries across Ottawa/Gatineau, including Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Art Gallery, Canada Council Art Bank, AXENÉO7, Canadian Museum of Nature, Carleton University Art Gallery, City Hall Art Gallery, Cube Gallery, DAÏMON, Firestone Gallery, Galerie SAW Gallery, Gallery 101, National Arts Centre Foyer, National Gallery of Canada, and Ottawa Art Gallery.  

Highlights include:  

  • CHARLES STANKIEVECH: THE SONIFEROUS ÆTHER OF THE LAND BEYOND THE LAND BEYOND – presented at the City Hall Art Gallery this film and sound installation is a new work from Sobey Art Award-nominated Yukon artist Charles Stankievech, recorded during his residency at the Canadian Forces Station Alert.
  • NORTHERN EXPOSURES – features a survey of work by emerging artists from Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Nunavik at Galerie SAW Gallery and AXENÉO7.
  • INUIT ULLUMI: INUIT TODAY – on display in the Foyer at the National Arts Centre, this wonderful exhibit is drawn from TD Bank Group’s remarkable contemporary collection of Inuit art.

Northern Scene would like to thank the Government of Canada, the Governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency for their generous support of this event.

A festival of this magnitude would not be possible without the support of corporate and individual partners. The National Arts Centre Foundation would like to thank Presenting Partner TransCanada Corporation, Special Partners John and Bonnie Buhler, Community Partner TD Bank Group, Major Partners Enbridge Inc., Alice and Grant Burton and Margaret and David Fountain, as well as Major Media Partner CBC-Radio Canada. Thanks also to Supporting Partners The Banff Centre, Canada Council for the Arts, NCC Investment Group, The North West Company, the Government of Nunatsiavut, Janice and Earle O’Born and Gail and David O’Brien. The Program Partners of Northern Scene are Northwestel, the William and Jean Teron Foundation, Zita Cobb and “New Sun” Joy Maclaren, C.M. and the festival’s Media Partners are the Ottawa Citizen, Le Droit, The Lowe Martin Group, News/North, Nunavut News and the Yukon News and the Travel Partner is First Air.  A very special thank you to the NAC Friends, Gail Asper and Michael Paterson, Dr. Ann Cuddy, Peter Herrndorf and Eva Czigler, Heather Moore, Jane E. Moore, Karen Prentice, Q.R., and the Honourable Jim Prentice, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Sarick and Jayne Watson.


Tickets for Northern Scene are available at the NAC Box Office in person, through Ticketmaster at 1 888 991 2787, and/or at specific venues (please see brochure for details). 

The NORTHERN SCENE PASS is an incredible value offering four shows for only $40.  Passes are available to purchase at the NAC Box Office at 53 Elgin.  Tickets must be picked up prior to performances at the NAC Box Office or at performance venues.  Access to each performance is subject to availability and some exceptions apply.  See website for details at


For more information, please contact:

Laura Denker

LOF Communications

Publicist, Northern Scene Festival

613 299 8844 (cell)

613 947 7000 ext. 381


Rosemary Thompson

Director of Communications

National Arts Centre

613 947 7000 ext. 260


Carl Martin

Communications Advisor

National Arts Centre

613 947 7000 ext. 560