Needles and Opium - an Exceptional Collaboration at the NAC

Robert Lepage’s Needles and Opium presented by English Theatre and Théâtre français in 2015

On March 11, 2014, Jillian Keiley and Brigitte Haentjens  – Artistic Directors of the National Arts Centre English and Théâtre français respectively – met with the media to announce an exciting collaboration between English Theatre, Théâtre français and the Magnetic North Theatre Festival for the NAC’s 2014-15 theatre season : the three companies will co-present Robert Lepage’s Needles and Opium in spring 2015.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to present this masterpiece from this Canadian Master. The show, conceived in 1991 was thought to be years ahead of its time then - and now 25 years later it’s still light years ahead of its time. There isn’t anything like it, and there may never be,” said Ms Keiley. “I’m so proud to partner with Magnetic North and Théâtre français to present it.” 

The production, which has received rave reviews in both English and French, was originally created by Mr. Lepage when he was Artistic Director of Théâtre français at the National Arts Centre.

"[Being at the NAC] was a really exciting time for me, said Robert Lepage. It informed me a lot about who I am, what my aspirations are. It gave me the means to produce and create a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have been able to do before that."

Now, this mesmerizing new production, which will play in both English and French, will close both Théâtre français and English Theatre’s seasons, and kick off the 2015 Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Ottawa.  Needles and Opium represents the first time that the NAC theatre companies have co-presented since 2009 with Mr Lepage’s The Blue Dragon (le dragon bleu).

“Les aiguilles et l'opium is an outstanding play in the repertoire of Robert Lepage with its striking themes and refined aesthetics, in addition to the fluidity and poetry of its composition,” explained Ms Haentjens. “Since its creation, the play has been refined and transformed, but the essence remains the same – a love affair that ends between New York and Paris, compelling sites of memory.”

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