Ottawa’s artistic haven: The Azrieli Studio experience

Audience members hold up cards while a single performer stands on stage holding a microphone.
House of PainT OG500 Poetry Slam Competition in the Azrieli Studio © Curtis Perry
People in the audience raise their fists in response to a guitar player standing on stage with their fist raised.
Francisco, el Hombre in the Azrieli Studio, July 2022 © Pat Bolduc

Imagine a space where creativity knows no bounds, where artistic expression flows freely, and innovation thrives. Welcome to the intimate Azrieli Studio at the National Arts Centre, where unforgettable moments in theatre, music, and dance happen, drawing you closer to the action. 

Step into this hidden corner of Ottawa’s downtown and be immersed in our artistic universe where you feel connected in the experience. Let us draw you in to some exceptional events for the stage in our close and cozy studio setting that serves as incubator for some of the most captivating artists in our season.  

Here, queer icons tell their stories. Physical expressions of identity are told through dance, and songs in languages as old as time immemorial are shared. These experiences are the heartbeat of our theatre spaces, and a place where true aficionados and risk-takers congregate to witness something truly extraordinary. With so many exclusive moments on offer, we want to highlight your next opportunity to be inspired by our artistic hub that will challenge and transcend you in the closeness of the action. 

What’s next in our studio

Ralph Escamillan | FakeKnot | Piña
Inspired by artistic director Ralph Escamillan’s experience as a first-generation Canadian-born Filipinx, Piña examines the parallels between the physicality of that experience and a delicate yet resilient textile. November 16-17, 2023

The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time by Walter Borden
First written and performed by Walter Borden in 1986 as Tightrope Time Ain’t Nuthin’ More Than Some Itty Bitty Madness Between Your Twilight & Your Dawn, the work was one of the pioneering Canadian plays to explore and express homosexuality from a Black perspective. November 1-11, 2023

Singer-songwriter iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ (short for waseskwan iskwew, meaning "blue sky woman") is more than just an artist, she is a teller of stories that have impacted our past and will inform our future. iskwē’s music allows her creativity to soar as she explores a range of ambient sound effects and beats. November 29, 2023

Naishi Wang + Jean Abreu | Deciphers
On stage, Naishi and Jean transfix the audience as it witnesses a work where cultures collide, and where a powerful physical performance journey demonstrates the extraordinary use of the body as a tool of linguistic expression. February 22-23, 2024 

Inner Elder by Michelle Thrush
Michelle Thrush weaves the seemingly disparate anecdotes from her life into powerful and hilarious testimony that that will open your eyes, sear your heart, and have you laughing out loud. April 11-13, 2024

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