President and CEO

Christopher Deacon

Ottawa · ON

Last updated: May 9, 2024

Christopher Deacon was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s National Arts Centre in June 2018. Throughout his career, he has been a champion of the arts in Canada who believes in supporting ambitious new creation and propelling Canadian artists on the world stage. He is a strong proponent of making performing arts centres more open, accessible and engaged with their communities. His first year as President and CEO celebrated the 50th anniversary season of the NAC with a number of special initiatives, including a European Tour by the NAC Orchestra, and an open house that welcomed thousands of Canadians to backstage tours and performances. Most recently, he enabled the NAC to undertake a number of ambitious artistic projects, including the NAC Orchestra’s first performance at Carnegie Hall in 30 years (at which they performed the American premiere of a new symphony by Philip Glass, commissioned by the NAC); and Un.Deux.Trois, a trilogy of plays by Mani Soleymanlou featuring more than 35 actors that toured to nine Francophone theatres across the country.

Christopher Deacon has recruited extraordinary individuals to join the NAC’s artistic leadership team, including Nina Lee Aquino (English Theatre), Caroline Ohrt (Dance) and Mani Soleymanlou (French Theatre).

After the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, he led the NAC through a challenging financial situation, and focused the organization on leading and supporting the renewal of the Canadian performing arts – the vision of the NAC’s three-year Strategic Plan, The Next Act. In September 2023, the NAC followed up with its 2023-2026 Strategic Plan, The Journey Ahead, in which the NAC recommitted to working with artists and arts organizations from across the land to revitalize the performing arts sector.

Christopher Deacon has prioritized equity, diversity and inclusion at the National Arts Centre. His tenure included the landmark launch of Indigenous Theatre and its highly successful first season in 2019-2020. His tenure also included the debut of Black Out Nights at the NAC, in which NAC English Theatre invited Black audiences to experience a theatrical performance with their community; the programming of an increasing number of IBPoC artists and companies; the hiring of a Director of Equity and Inclusion; and anti-racism training at the Board, Senior Management and staff levels of the organization.

During his 22 years as Managing Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Christopher Deacon was the driving force behind numerous ambitious initiatives. He led the Orchestra to tour nationally and internationally, including the seven-city China Tour in 2013 that included eight concerts and 80 education events, as well as the 2014 UK Tour, the largest Canadian initiative overseas to mark the centenary of Canada’s entry into the First World War. He was Executive Producer of Life Reflected, a multidisciplinary, critically acclaimed NAC commission that the Orchestra performed across Canada, and in Europe in 2019. He also chaired the Committee overseeing the NAC’s 2015-2018 Architectural Rejuvenation and Production Renewal Projects.

Christopher Deacon trained as a composer, studying piano, harmony and solfège at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec in Hull. He later received a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the University of Toronto. He lives in Ottawa with his wife Gwen Goodier. They have a daughter, Charlotte, and he is stepfather to Katherine and Peter.

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