Heather Moore has always felt like she had the best job in the world.
As Executive Producer of the National Creation Fund, and before that of the NAC’s biennial Scenes festivals, she got to learn about Canada through its artists.
“It has been a privilege to work with so many Canadian artists from literally coast to coast to coast,” Heather said. “My job has allowed me to get to know so much about our regions and peoples through artists and their stories.”
Now, 27 years after she started at the NAC, Heather Moore will retire on June 3. She leaves a remarkable legacy for the performing arts in Canada.
Leading the National Creation Fund
Since its launch in 2017, Heather has been the founding Executive Producer of the National Creation Fund. Fuelled entirely by private donors, the Fund has paved the way for a new model for artistic creation in Canada by making substantial investments in ambitious new Canadian works at the development stage. Heather was deeply involved in the creation of the Fund, and has been a passionate advocate of its mandate to fill the “creation gap” by giving artists the time, space and resources they need to create great work.
"Canadian artists from across the country have told us time and again that they lack the time and resources that are necessary for making truly ambitious new work," Heather said. “Too often, new work is rushed to the stage before it is ready. The National Creation Fund is about investing in the creation process, giving new work the time and resources it needs so that it can achieve its potential, resonate with audiences, and be presented widely beyond its premiere."
Under her leadership, the National Creation Fund has invested more than $10 million in 68 major new works, many of which have enjoyed successful premieres and subsequent runs on Canadian and international stages. Those works include Revisor (Kidd Pivot, Vancouver), Unikaaqtuat (The 7 Fingers, Montreal, Taqqut Productions, Iqaluit and Artcirq, Igloolik), Violence (Infrarouge, Montreal) and Multitudes (Feist, Toronto), to name just a few. In the coming year, several more projects that received a Fund investment will premiere, including Tell Tale Harbour (Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown), Prison Dancer (Citadel Theatre, Edmonton), Fall on Your Knees (NAC and Vita Brevis Arts), and Mahabharata (Why Not Theatre, Toronto), among many others.
Heather was the Executive Producer of the NAC’s biennial, multidisciplinary Scene festivals that showcased more than 5,000 artists from all regions of Canada. She began with Alberta Scene (2005), then went on to lead Quebec Scene (2007), BC Scene (2009), Prairie Scene (2011), Northern Scene (2013) and Ontario Scene (2015), culminating with Canada Scene (2017), the largest gathering of artists held during Canada’s sesquicentennial. The Scenes featured diverse emerging and established artists in music, theatre, dance, literature, visual and media arts, film, circus and culinary arts, and were filled with highly creative programming that took place at the NAC and at venues throughout the National Capital Region.
525,000 audience members took in the Scene festivals. And through the Scenes' Presenters Program, more than 500 presenters from 28 countries travelled to Ottawa to see performances, which resulted in Canadian artists receiving hundreds of new bookings at prestigious venues and festivals around the world.
“The Scenes gave us a very special, sometimes surprising, always fascinating insight into the rich artistic and creative life of this country,” Heather said. “A major part of the Scenes was to help Canadian artists present their works for new audiences beyond the festival and Canada’s borders, and we certainly did that.”
Anyone who knows Heather knows she is energetic, focused, and a strategic thinker. She was one of the authors of the NAC’s first-ever strategic plan, Restoring the Vision (2001), which set the NAC on the road to playing a greater national role. She followed that by co-authoring subsequent strategic plans – Performing for Canadians (2008) and Canada Is Our Stage (2015) – and was involved in developing the NAC’s current strategic plan, The Next Act (2020).
Always ready for the next challenge, Heather has led the development of the NAC’s new professional development program over the past year, helping the NAC create new opportunities for skills development in the performing arts and the advancement of IBPoC arts professionals. As it has been throughout her career, her leadership of this important initiative has centered on partnerships and ensuring that the NAC will serve a diversity of voices and perspectives.
“I have been energized by helping the NAC play a strong role in supporting the Canadian arts professionals of the next generation,” Heather said. “It’s about making sure that opportunity and diversity are woven throughout – in the creative side, in production, and in arts administration. This next generation is just bursting with talent, with so many extraordinary stories to tell. The future looks very bright indeed.”
Serving Canadian artists
“Heather Moore has had a profound impact on the National Arts Centre, and on thousands of artists nationwide,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon. “On behalf of the NAC Board of Trustees, Senior Management and the entire team, I want to offer our deepest thanks for her passion and tireless dedication to the NAC and the performing arts in Canada. Heather leaves a legacy for Canadian artists whose careers have flourished as a result of her incredible work over the past two decades.”
All of us at the NAC are very grateful to Heather Moore for all that she has accomplished on behalf of artists across the country. We will miss her dearly. But we have no doubt we will see her in the NAC’s performance halls, and in theatres and venues across the country, cheering on Canada’s artists as she always has. We wish her all the very best for the future.