Stage Door News

Ottawa: National Arts Centre’s 2018/19 annual report details its 50th anniversary season

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The National Arts Centre’s 2018–2019 Annual Report was tabled in Parliament last week. The NAC enjoyed an extraordinary season that included more than 1,450 showsand events, and attracted nearly one million patrons to performances, events and commercial activities.

The Annual Report, which includes a timeline of the NAC’s 50-year history, also documents a number ofspecial initiatives in honour of this milestone occasion:

• The programming announcement of NAC Indigenous Theatre’s inaugural season. On April 30, infront of a crowd of hundreds, Artistic Director Kevin Loring and Managing Director Lori Marchandshared the exciting details of Indigenous Theatre’s inaugural season. The season celebrates theresilience, strength and beauty of Indigenous women; features more than 10 Indigenous languages;and showcases Indigenous artists from across the land on the NAC’s national stage. The first seasonhas enjoyed tremendous success, beginning with the very popular Mòshkamo festival (September 11-29, 2019), followed by the sold-out run of Unikkaaqtuat (January 9-12, 2020), and continuing withKiinalik: These Sharp Tools (January 22-February 9, 2020);

• The NAC Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary European Tour. Music Director Alexander Shelley, the NACOrchestra and five Canadian guest artists shone on the world stage during the 50th AnniversaryEuropean Tour, performing in Saffron Walden, London, Paris, Utrecht, Copenhagen, Stockholm andGothenburg (May 10-26, 2019).The Tour showcased works by six Canadian composers, and includedthe multimedia commission Life Reflected, which tells the stories of four extraordinary Canadians —Alice Munro, Roberta Bondar, Amanda Todd and Rita Joe;

• The NAC’s 50th Anniversary Open House. In an echo of the NAC’s opening weekend in 1969, andin partnership with Doors Open Ottawa, the NAC welcomed thousands of Canadians to its free OpenHouse on June 2, 2019 – the NAC’s anniversary. Visitors witnessed the magic of backstage; sang,danced and acted on the NAC stages; and enjoyed pop-up performances by Canadian artiststhroughout the building. In the evening, Alexander Shelley and the NAC Orchestra gave a free concert in honour of the NAC’s 50th anniversary that featured many Canadian guest artists.

• The North American debut of BIG BANG, one of Europe’s most renowned festivals for youngaudiences. BIG BANG (February 17-18, 2019) took over the building, with thousands of children andfamilies exploring the fascinating world of music, sound and the arts. The festival, which the NACpresented in partnership with Winterlude, included imaginative installations, workshops andperformances, including a visually enchanting concert with the NAC Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Shelley. The NAC is pleased to be presenting the second edition of BIG BANG duringWinterlude 2020 (February 16-17, 2020);

• nacThe NAC’s presentation of The National Ballet of Canada, a company that has enjoyed a strongrelationship with the NAC since its opening night on June 2, 1969. From January 31 to February 2,2019, they danced Apollo choreographed by the illustrious George Balanchine, The Dream by thelegendary Sir Frederick Ashton; and Paz de la Jolla by trailblazing choreographer Justin Peck.

“The 2018–2019 season was a wonderful milestone for the National Arts Centre as we marked 50 years asa home for some of Canada’s most creative artists,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon.“From the programming announcement of NAC Indigenous Theatre, to the NAC Orchestra’s European Tour,to the extremely popular Open House on our June 2 anniversary, the NAC celebrated the Canadianperforming arts with thousands of Canadians, and with the world.”