• By: OLM Staff

Canada’s Stage to Shine Brighter Than Ever in 2017!

This morning inside the National Arts Centre the message rang out as loud as a 1st of July firework: in 2017, the NAC will be Canada’s stage.

Though the NAC has always celebrated the diversity of Canadian arts since opening its doors back in 1969, next year’s big 150th birthday will have an even greater emphasis on the country’s music, theatre and dance.

Canada’s last big birthday bash, our centennial, included the NAC in its plans but delays in constructions pushed the actual opening of the Centre to 1969. They don’t intend to miss the boat this time. Crews are barrelling forward to meet the July 1st grand opening deadline with work continuing on the much needed face-lift even during today’s big announcement.

“The glass has arrived,” a crowd gathered inside today for the 2017 announcement was informed in reference to the huge, glass atrium which will stand as the new centrepiece to the centre. Jubilant applause immediately followed.

An already packed season has expanded to include tours that will see the NAC go Canada-wide, as well as renowned Canadian performers taking the new Southam Hall and other NAC stages.

“In 2017, the NAC will perform for Canadians in their communities and then bring back their stories and artists to our national stage here in the Nation’s Capital,” said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre.

img_6240Theatre patrons, NAC staff and the curious were treated to a small taste of what would be in store when Juno Award-winning pianist Robi Botos sat behind the grand piano and performed a glorious rendition of Oscar Peterson’s “Blues for Smedley”. The celebrated jazz musician's music will see tribute next July when Botos joins Oliver Jones and Jon Kimura Parker, three phenomenal pianists, to honor the work of their mentor. Even with all the construction, Oscar’s statue on the corner outside the building smiles on!

op_bw_for_web__largeThe NAC English theatre will be hitting the road in late 2017 for performances of the Molière classic Tartuffe. The company, including the always brilliant Andy Jones (getting ready to take the stage as Scrooge in next month’s A Christmas Carol), will be visiting Newfoundland and Labrador. The program will also include educational activities linking youth and artists.

Not to be outdone, the NAC Orchestra will embark on their first tour under Music Director Alexander Shelley that will showcase the orchestra’s talents in the Atlantic provinces come the spring. The tour will feature Canadian violist James Ehnes.

img_6255“Touring allows our orchestra to come face to face with Canadians in their own communities,” NAC Orchestra Managing Director Christopher Deacon said. “We take time to share, to collaborate and to make lasting connections.”

When approached to lead a cross-Canada tour, Shelley had the criteria that he wished to tell the story of the country’s indigenous people and a land of settlers from overseas. Some performances will close with the orchestra's own Life Reflected, a multi-media presentation set to the poem I Lost My Talk by Mi’kmaw elder and poet Rita Joe. With a lush score composed by John Estacio, the piece touches upon the pain and suffering Joe experienced in a Nova Scotia Residential school while also offering hope and inspiration for the future. It is a journey of strength and healing sure to be moving for all who see it.

louisriel_map_flat_hr_4c__largeBack in the city, Ottawa will get another ambitious year of the Canada Scene festival. More than 1,000 artists will be featured over a six-week period in June and July as a culmination of the NAC’s biennial showcase of dance, music, theatre, culinary and visual arts. Highlights will include Harry Somers’ classic opera Louis Riel and Montreal’s circus troupe Les 7 doigts de la main. Foodies will love the group's Cuisine & Confessions which blends cooking, circus and storytelling together in a tasty theatrical broth.

ENCOUNT3RS, an NAC commissioned piece, will unite three of the best Canadian choreographers and three outstanding composers for a three new one-act ballets. Also new will be Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show, a play that centres around the events of the North-West Resistance of 1885 as told through the lens of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

Buffy (7)


The legendary Buffy Satine-Marie will perform on July 3 and Rufus Wainwright will join the NAC Orchestra on July 12, two not to be missed shows.

In the middle of it all will be the grand opening of the new NAC. The Canada Day spectacular will include artists and dignitaries. When the ribbon is cut the public will be able to tour the space for the first time and take in performances by the orchestra and others. This house-warming party will last all weekend!

Truly, the NAC stage is now set to shine brighter than ever before in 2017!