Our Public Spaces have allowed us to welcome the community in a whole new way. 2017–2018 was the first full year of free programming in those spaces. Children (and their parents) sang and danced at Toddler Tuesdays. Seniors created art at Pop-up Painting, and the public relished free talks and performances. Community groups held hundreds of events – book launches, speaker nights, choir workshops and more. And every day, people from all walks of life met friends for coffee, studied for exams, attended meetings, and enjoyed the view through the floor-to-sky windows. Everyone is welcome here.
The National Creation Fund officially opened on November 1, 2017. It will invest up to $3 million a year in 15 to 20 ambitious new works by artists and arts organizations from across Canada. “The fund gives new work the time and resources it needs so it can achieve its full potential, and be presented widely beyond its premiere,” said Artistic Producer Heather Moore. On June 14, 2018, the NAC announced the first nine projects to receive a total of $1.4 million, and will announce a second round in the fall of 2018.
Christopher Deacon is an adventurous arts administrator who knows the NAC inside out. Before being appointed President and CEO on June 12, 2018, he spent 22 years as Managing Director of the NAC Orchestra where he led some of its most ambitious projects, including international tours and the multimedia work Life Reflected. He led the steering committee overseeing the Architectural Rejuvenation and Production Renewal projects, which are revitalizing not only the building, but also the institution itself. “I love what the NAC means to Canadians, and I have a passion for what it could become in the next chapter of its development.”
When the NAC’s new Department of Indigenous Theatre launches in the fall of 2019, audiences will see stories through the lens of Indigenous people, with Indigenous artists at the core of the creative team. By presenting Indigenous stories on the national stage, the department will help promote Indigenous culture and languages through collaboration and co-productions with theatre artists and organizations throughout the land. Indigenous Theatre will also nurture talent, said Artistic Director Kevin Loring. “We want to be a beacon to young Indigenous artists across the country, and inspire them to imagine their stories on our stages.”
Renewing our Performance
The renewal of our performance halls and production facilities is a major investment in the NAC by the Government of Canada. The project is bringing the NAC back to contemporary standards, allowing artists to do their best work on our stages, and our audience to experience it. The fully renovated Fourth Stage re-opened in October 2017, and major improvements were made in Southam Hall, the Babs Asper Theatre and the Azrieli Studio in time for the 2018–2019 season. The most dramatic change is the new orchestra shell in Southam Hall that has fundamentally improved its acoustics.
DESIGNED BY Diamond Schmitt Architects, Fisher Dachs Associates, Threshold Acoustics and Engineering Harmonics, and manufactured by Wenger & JR Clancy, the orchestra shell took more than 18 months to design and manufacture, and three months to install. Threshold Acoustics and Crossey Engineering also worked on the overall project, which was overseen by PCL Constructors.