Stage Door News

Ottawa: The NAC Annual Report details a year of renewal at the National Arts Centre

Friday, May 10, 2019

The National Arts Centre’s 2017–2018 annual report, entitled The New NAC, was tabled in Parliament last week. The report documents an extraordinary year of renewal, not only of the NAC building, but also the entire institution.

In addition, for the first time in its history, the NAC Annual Report was released in a digital, interactive format on the NAC’s website. This evolution is consistent with the NAC’s efforts to increasingly interact with Canadians through its digital platforms. 

Highlights of the 2017–2018 year include:  

  • The appointment of Christopher Deacon, an adventurous arts administrator, as the NAC’s new President and CEO. The former Managing Director of the NAC Orchestra has led some of the Orchestra’s most ambitious initiatives, including the 2012 China Tour, the 2014 UK Tour, and the critically acclaimed, Canadian multimedia commission Life Reflected;

  • Laying the foundation for the new Indigenous Theatre department at the NAC. Led by the brilliant team of Artistic Director Kevin Loring and Managing Director Lori Marchand, Indigenous Theatre will help promote Indigenous culture and languages through collaboration and co-productions with theatre artists and arts organizations throughout the land. Mr. Loring and Ms. Marchand travelled broadly, sharing their plans, cultivating support, speaking with Indigenous artists, leaders and allies, and seeing work by Indigenous artists. They also shared their vision at a number of events at the NAC. Programming details of Indigenous Theatre’s first season in 2019-2020 were announced on April 30. The season gets underway September 11 with a two and half-week Indigenous arts and community festival called Mòshkamo: Indigenous Arts Rising that will take over the National Arts Centre;

  • The first full year of welcoming the community to free programming and events in the NAC’s bright and inviting new Public Spaces, created through the NAC’s Architectural Rejuvenation Project, a major investment in the NAC by the Government of Canada;

  • The renewal of the NAC’s performance halls and production facilities as part of the NAC’s Production Renewal Projectanother major investment by the Government of Canada. The project included the renovation of Southam Hall, which re-opened in September 2018 to reveal its new Orchestra Shell. Designed and manufactured over the course of 18 months, the Shell has dramatically improved the acoustics in Southam Hall. Significant improvements in lighting and sound were also made to the Babs Asper Theatre and the Azrieli Studio, bringing them back to international standards (Fourth Stage renovations were completed in September 2017);

  • The opening of the National Creation Fundled by Artistic Producer Heather Moore, which is investing up to $3 million of privately raised funds a year in 15 to 20 ambitious new works by artists and arts organizations from across Canada. By investing in the development stage, the Fund aims to help artists achieve national and international success.

     “It was always our dream to renew the institution by renewing the building, and it’s been incredibly rewarding to see that renewal come to life,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon.

    “As the NAC celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, we want to engage with all Canadians, while staying true to our values as a home for some of Canada’s most creative artists.” 

     “The National Arts Centre had an extraordinary 2017–2018 season,” said Adrian Burns, Chair of Board of Trustees. “Artistic excellence was alive on our stages, and on stages across the country. We welcomed Canadians to our beautiful new public spaces, and continued to renew our performance halls and production facilities to the highest standard. We sincerely thank the Government of Canada for their generous investment in the NAC.” 


The NAC presented exceptional performances on its four stages, and engaged with communities across Canada as a catalyst for performance, creation and learning. Additional highlights include:

 • The tour of the French Theatre creation Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show, about the struggle of the Métis of Western Canada, to Montreal, Winnipeg and Saskatoon. This ambitious new work brought together 10 playwrights, 10 performers and an impressive team of designers, representing different territories and cultures across the country;

 • Two sold-out performances of Dance Me, the multimedia homage to poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, presented by NAC Dance, and created by BJM – Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal in collaboration with choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Andonis Foniadakis and Ishan Rustem;

 • NAC Presents, the all-Canadian music series led by Executive Producer Heather Gibson, presented more than 130 concerts and attracted total attendance of more than 41,000. Highlights included Bruce Cockburn, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Klô Pelgag, Kelly Lee Evans, Laetitia Zonzambé and more;

 • NAC Presents also launched Fridays at the Fourth, an upbeat music series in the newly renovated Fourth Stage, and NAC Presents Across Canada, an initiative that supported nearly 40 concerts in 10 cities across Canada;

 • The Tribute Dinner for outgoing NAC President and CEO Peter Herrndorf, with performances by Angela Hewitt, Molly Johnson and Chantal Kreviazuk. The dinner, presented by the NAC Foundation, raised more than $1.1 million for the new Indigenous Theatre at the NAC;

 • Overwhelmingly positive response to the NAC’s new catering spaces, such as the Lantern Room, the O’Borm Room and the Canada Room, which have hosted hundreds of meetings and events.