Celebrating Black voices this February and throughout the year at your NAC

Nac calpurnia final
Audrey Dwyer, Calpurnia © Tanja Tiziana
Digidance-via kanana credit christian ganet
Via Katlehong Dance, Via Kanana © Christian Ganet
Portrait yao

NAC English Theatre and Black Theatre Workshop set to begin a historic co-curation partnership

More music, dance and theatre featuring Black Canadians will hit the NAC stage in February and beyond, including an exciting first – a shared curation model for the national stage.

First announced in December 2020, Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) is NAC English Theatre’s inaugural Co-Curating Company in Residence, curating half of the season’s programming and enabling the company to envision their mandate on a national scale.

In the coming months, we look forward to presenting works co-curated with BTW. This includes Calpurnia by Audrey Dwyer, a hilarious and highly charged look at the knots and tangles of intersectionality and allyship. And BTW is hard at work curating half of English Theatre’s 2022-2023 season programming.

“The Co-Curation Project presents the opportunity for our two companies to create a collection of stories that many Canadians would not otherwise be able to see. Bringing these beautiful and exciting stories out of the shadows of “niche art” and into the bright lights of Canada’s National stage has been a challenging but worthy experience. BTW, working with the NAC is proud to be the first company to help bring a fuller, richer and more inclusive voice to Canada’s performance perspective. We invite you all to join us in celebrating these Canadian stories. From our community to yours!”
Tyrone Benskin, Black Theatre Workshop Interim Artistic Director
“as the nac grows into a new era of presenting and representing performance that truly reflects the national scene, it's especially important to persistently throw spotlight on the cultural pockets that contribute to the ever-morphing character of canadian art. centring focus on the works of black artists and companies like black theatre workshop on our national stages is a vital part of this growth.”
ahdri zhina mandiela, NAC Co-Curating Interlocutor

BTW, which is based in Montreal, has a long history with English Theatre, having co-produced and presented several productions over the years. They include Angélique (co-produced with Tableau D’Hôte Theatre) and The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God (in association with co-producers NAC English Theatre and Centaur Theatre Company). And in 2021, BTW’s performance of Black and Blue Matters – Track 1: No one Gives a F**k about a Cop was part of English Theatre’s Grand Acts of Theatre.

Experience more exciting performances in February and beyond 

In March, experience the people, sounds and stories of the musical movement that grew to influence music around the globe in Reggae Roots. The video learning series will feature reggae royalty in the figure of the Jamaican-born, Halifax-based vocalist Jah’Mila, who will perform with conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser and the NAC Orchestra.

Performances celebrating Black History Month also include the Congolese, Queer singer-songwriter Desiire.

Beginning in mid-February and continuing into March, enjoy the video on demand performance of Via Kanana as part the final Digidance film presentation of the season. Created by the South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma and performed by Via Katlehong Dance, Via Kanana pulsates with rhythmic energy as it examines corruption in South Africa and the unfulfilled promises made in the transition to democracy.

YAO, performing songs from his new album Kintsugi, takes the stage this spring.  

Look forward to May, when the NAC announces its 2022-23 season!

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