As someone who has worked at the National Arts Centre for more than 30 years, it has been incredibly strange to have had our doors closed for such a long time. We have missed you, our audience and our donors, greatly. However, since the pandemic was first declared we have put our energies into leading and supporting the renewal of our sector. We’ve worked with artists and arts organizations across the country on a number of digital initiatives, including livestreamed performances. We hope you have had the chance to see some of them, and invite you to explore our growing on-demand library on our website.
However, you and I know that the performing arts on a screen can never replace the magic of “live.” That is why I’m delighted to tell you that with the public health situation improving, and with vaccination rates increasing, the NAC is planning a safe and gradual return to stage for our 2021–2022 season.
All of our artistic leaders from the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre in collaoboration with Black Theatre Workshop, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety have been hard at work for many months to bring you exciting performances that represent the creativity and artistry you expect from the NAC. We will announce full programming and ticketing details in mid-August.
The performing arts experience is indeed magical. It can also be transformative. When we sit in a darkened theatre to hear a story, whether through music, theatre or dance, we learn to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Over these past 15 months, I’ve been reminded of this power of the live performing arts, not only because of their absence, but also in light of the global movement toward a more just and equitable society.
Last summer, we announced our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in our Strategic Plan. Our 2021–2022 season will demonstrate that commitment in action. It will feature an incredibly exciting and diverse range of artists, voices and perspectives that together help tell a fuller story of who we aspire to be as a country.
We also want to engage with new audiences, particularly those from equity-seeking groups, and to ensure that everyone who comes to the NAC feels welcome. We look forward to you being part of this journey with us.
As we continue to plan our re-opening, let me reassure you that the health and safety of our audiences, artists and staff remains our highest priority, and our protocols will continuously evolve to follow public health guidelines.
On behalf of our entire team, thank you once again for your support. We cannot wait to welcome you back to the National Arts Centre, where we can once again come together to experience the transformative power of the performing arts.