The following article is the first in a series about NAC "superfans", die-hard performing arts lovers - subscribers, donors and collaborators - and how they're coping during the pandemic.
Diane Obam Dallaire and her seven-year-old son Samuel were recently walking in downtown Ottawa when they caught sight of the National Art Centre’s three-storey digital Kipnes Lantern. Months after the building had closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she felt a pang of sadness.
“I miss the NAC very much. I miss the space. I miss dressing up in fancy clothes to see a show with friends… to meet artists. I miss the buzz!”
She says Samuel also misses the NAC.
“We went to see Ma petite boule d’amour, a lovely children’s play presented by NAC French Theatre. Samuel loved it. I experienced the beauty of the play through his eyes. Sharing these types of theatre experiences with Samuel, I miss that too.”
Diane, 41, normally attends at least one NAC show a month. She particularly loves opening nights and artist talks. She’s been thinking lately about some of her favourite NAC performances, including Desh by dance artist Akram Khan, Le Dragon Bleu by theatre icon Robert Lepage, and The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, NAC English’s Theatre’s epic retelling of Newfoundland’s entry into Confederation.
"I learned so much about Canadian history that night. I love this intersection of arts and ideas."
Diane is a passionate supporter of the NAC’s Future Fund, which invests in digital technologies for arts and culture. She hopes the initiative helps bring the performing arts to Canadians living in remote locations across the country, such as the North.
“No matter where we live, I feel it’s important to experience the performing arts,” she says. “When I see an NAC show, I might come to see a particular issue in a different way. I am often moved by the stories and the artists on stage. For that I am grateful.”