Barbara Irving - Follow Your Bliss

Barbara irving - landscape
© Photo: Barbara Irving

Mythologist Joseph Campbell is perhaps best known for his advice to “follow your bliss”. Barb Irving has done just that by making the performing arts—one of her greatest passions—central to her life. 

Barb was a graphic designer with the NAC for almost three decades before her retirement in 2017. Over the years, she created strong bonds with colleagues and nurtured her love of the performing arts. 

A subscriber to NAC English Theatre, Barb considers theatre her favourite discipline, but she attends everything that she can. Over the course of the pandemic, that meant enjoying the NAC’s many virtual offerings. “The last live performance I saw was The Neverending Story,” Barb says. “Since then, I have watched many performances online, including the NAC Orchestra Lunch Break concerts, Grand Acts of Theatre, The Good Lovelies, Kelly Lee Evans, Copenhagen, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala.” 

Before the pandemic, Barb also maintained her connection to the NAC by volunteering. In 2018, she started working with NAC Archivist and Curator Robert VanderBerg to organize thousands of show posters right from the NAC’s opening in 1969. Barb recollects, “It was fun to sort through posters of all the shows that I’ve seen.”  

The pandemic has given Barb many opportunities to reflect on how important the performing arts are to people’s lives. “Now more than ever it is important to fund the arts and the future of the arts,” she says. 

A generous donor to the Annual Fund, Barb has also left an undesignated gift in her Will for future generations of audiences and artists. 

“I have a very strong emotional connection to the NAC,” she shares. Thanks to Barb’s generosity, her expression of love for the performing arts will extend well beyond her lifetime.  

May is Leave a Legacy Month. If you would like to learn more about how you can leave a gift in your Will, please contact us at 249 504-5082 or

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