The next time you’re at the NAC, take a few minutes to peek inside the window of the Hexagon Studio off of the Southam Hall lobby.
“Studio activity is seasonal, but it’s safe to say there is usually one, if not two, very cool things happening in or around the studio every day,” says Maurizio Ortolani, New Media Producer at the NAC.
For example, you might see NAC Orchestra clarinetist Sean Rice teaching his students at Memorial University in St. John’s using ultra-high definition video-conferencing technology. Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of a visiting choreographer talk about their latest production for the NAC’s YouTube channel. Or you might see emerging artists such as Indigenous folk music duo Twin Flames, connecting with students in Northern Ontario and Nunavut.
You might even be lucky enough to see Explore the Symphony hosts Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer and Marjolaine Fournier share a belly laugh over a certain composer’s quirks while recording their podcast.
The Hexagon Studio is home base for the NAC’s Hexagon Project – which aims to extend and enhance the NAC’s national role in arts education and support Canada’s artists and creators through the use of new technologies.
“The Hexagon Studio is the epicentre of these digital initiatives,” Maurizio explains. “The studio is used for distance learning outreach to all corners of the country and internationally. We like to say the Hexagon project makes connections possible that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.”
And now the newly-renovated studio is better than ever. While the previous studio was a single room space, the new Hexagon Studio features a separate studio, control room and machine room, improving both production quality and program flexibility. Equally important is the studio’s interconnectivity with the multi-purpose education space, the Shenkman Smith Atelier.
“This wonderful new space next door to the Hexagon Studio allows us to produce, for example, public masterclasses connecting educators around the world with participants and a “studio audience” at the NAC, or even record small- and medium-sized ensembles for outreach projects,” Maurizio says. “The new studio is a huge step forward. What remains the same is the great ‘store-front’ location which allows NAC visitors a look into the studio from the Southam Hall lobby area.”
Maurizio is grateful to NAC supporters for helping to make connections possible through our digital initiatives. “For many Canadians, the only connection they will have with the wonderful programs, artists and educators at the NAC will be through digital connections,” he says. “That’s why the programming produced through the Hexagon Studio is so pivotal.”