NAC English Theatre Presents BETWEEN BREATHS by Robert Chafe May 7 - 18 Azrieli Studio

News Release

NAC English Theatre Presentation
Between Breaths
By Robert Chafe
Music composed and arranged by The Once
Directed by Jillian Keiley
An Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland (St. John’s) Production
May 7 - 18, 2019

April 25, 2019 – OTTAWA (Canada) – Between Breaths is breathtaking.”The Telegram

In the final moments of his extraordinary life, east coast whale researcher Jon Lien tried desperately to tell his wife something, which she struggled to understand.

Between Breaths floats through the inspiring career of the man who freed more than 500 whales from fishing nets. From his unexpected first encounter with a whale, Lien worked to earn the trust of the injured giants, as well as the fishermen whose nets accidentally entrapped them.

Despite his risky work, Lien’s biggest fight came at the hands of a lengthy illness, the suspected long-term result of a random highway accident. He passed away in 2010, but not before his body was slowly conquered by immobility and dementia over a period of eight years.

Between Breaths travels through time, from the final moments of Lien’s life – brain damaged and in a wheelchair – to his very first whale intervention. As his life becomes progressively limited, his mind stretches itself in memories of release and salvation.

“Every now and again I have the privilege of working on a show that so moves my heart in rehearsal that I have to stop and remind myself to press on with the work. I just want to stay with these characters and indulge in The Once’s gentle music until the whales swim home.”– Jillian Keiley, NAC English Theatre Artistic Director.

With an evocative, live score by The Once, this moving work by renowned playwright Robert Chafe (The Colony of Unrequited Dreams) examines what it means to find your passion and how to let it go. 

Featuring Steve O’Connell, Berni Stapleton, Darryl Hopkins, Steve Maloney, Brianna Gosse and Kevin Woolridge.

The creative team includes: Additional Arrangements Duane Andrews; Musical Director Kellie Walsh; Dramaturg Iris Turcott; Additional Dramaturgy Sarah Garton Stanley; Set and Costume Designer Shawn Kerwin; Lighting Designer Leigh Ann Vardy; Sound Designer/Technical Director Brian Kenny; Assistant Director Sharon King-Campbell; Stage Manager and Production Manager Mara Bredovskis; Assistant Lighting Designer Emily Sousanna; Assistant Sound Designer Pat Dempsey; Producer and Tour Manager Patrick Foran.

Between Breaths
May 7 - 18, 2019
Azrieli Studio

Tuesday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 8
Thursday, May 9

Wednesday, May 15 and Thursday, May 16.
Stay in your seats for a post-show question-and-answer session with cast members of Between Breaths.

Performance Schedule:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm.
Saturday at 2 pm.

No performance Sunday or Monday.

$35 (previews) $48

Tickets are available:

  • Online on the NAC’s website:
  • In person at the NAC Box Office at 1 Elgin Street
  • At all Ticketmaster outlets**
  • By telephone 1-888-991-2787**
    **A service charge applies on all purchases made through Ticketmaster.

For groups of 10 or more please contact or visit

Find out more about the NAC English Theatre on Facebook and YouTube. To discover some fascinating facts about Between Breaths visit

Embassy Hotel and Suites is proud to be the Official Hotel Partner for the National Arts Centre English Theatre.




Sean Fitzpatrick
Communications Officer, English Theatre
613 947-7000 x389
613 899-9737

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