Inuit storytelling inspiration for new high-energy circus arts performance

 OTTAWA (Canada) – NAC Indigenous Theatre’s landmark inaugural season continues in the new year with the world premiere of Unikkaaqtuat (January 9 to 12, 2020), a major multidisciplinary production that blends circus arts, music, theatre, and video projection. Created by the internationally renowned Inuit circus group Artcirq (Igloolik), the leading Quebec circus company The 7 Fingers and the award-winning Inuit film production company Taqqut Productions (Iqaluit), this exciting new production sources Inuit traditions, culture and present day realities.

Unikkaaqtuat features Inuit and non-Inuit actors, musicians, and acrobats performing in a world of shadows and video projections, transporting us to an ancient realm where life did not known death; days had not seen nights. The ground-breaking 90 minute performance was inspired by Inuit founding myths and by the illustrations of Germaine Arnaktauyok.

The creative team includes Patrick Léonard, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of The 7 Fingers; Terence Uyarak, Co-Artistic Director of Artcirq; Guillaume Ittuksarjuat Saladin, Co-Artistic Director of Artcirq; Neil Christopher, Co-Director of Taqqut Productions; and illustrator Germaine Arnaktauyok. Unikkaaqtuat’s unique blend of circus arts, theatre, music, and video is a result of cross-cultural collaboration within a diverse team of designers and technicians. Video content was created by Inuit illustrator Germaine Arnaktauyok and directed by Neil Christopher; their vast repertoire and knowledge of existing portrayals of Inuit myths guided the project in respectful harmony with Inuit oral traditions.

"NAC Indigenous Theatre is incredibly proud to be presenting the world premiere of Unikkaaqtuat,” said Kevin Loring, Artistic Director of NAC Indigenous Theatre. “This extraordinary new work brings Inuit creation stories to life, and will showcase the artistry of its performers and the spirit of intercultural collaboration on the national stage.”

The world premiere at the NAC kicks off a five-city tour that includes Camrose, AB, Nanaimo and Vancouver, BC, and Yellowknife, NT.

Unikaaqtuat was supported by the National Creation Fund, which invests up to $3 million a year in the creation of 15 to 20 compelling and ambitious new Canadian works in theatre, dance, music and inter-disciplinary performing arts. Fuelled entirely by donors, the Fund provides Canadian artists with the additional time, space and resources they need to create great work. The Fund’s investment of $225,000 made possible additional residency periods during the show’s development, including a longer residencies in Igloolik and in Montreal that provided the time required to respect cultural creation practices.  The investment also supported the high costs associated with travel from the North.


In 2002, seven circus artists came together and became The 7 Fingers. Over the course of 17 years, the collective has grown. Ambassadors of diversity, the artists have consistently spread their horizons, mixing

genres to better tell their stories. Fascinated by the human condition, The 7 Fingers create performances that speak about our world and our time. Their works reach audiences across nations, with over 800 shows a year.


Artcirq is an Inuit circus performance collective based in Igloolik, Nunavut, Canada. Co-founded in 1998 by circus artists from Montreal and local Inuit youth, its mandate has sought to bridge traditional Inuit culture to modern artistic practices by creating meaningful and original work through the performing arts.


Taqqut Productions is an Inuit-owned (51%) film production company located in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Taqqut is committed to bringing the stories of the North to the world, and aims to establish itself as an innovative leader of youth and children’s programming through live action, puppet, stop motion and 2D animation creations.


A collaboration between The 7 Fingers, Artcirq and Taqqut Productions. Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter, First Air, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Conseil des Arts de Montréal, Ilagiiktunut Fund - Qikiqtani Inuit Association, and Government of Nunavut’s Department of Economic Development and Transportation. Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund. Presented by NAC Indigenous Theatre.


7:30 p.m. nightly Thursday, January 9 through Saturday, January 11;
Saturday, January 11 and Sunday, January 12 at 2 p.m.

Starting at $29
All My Relations $15 – Indigenous Theatre is committed to welcoming the Indigenous community at the NAC. The $15 All My Relations ticket is available to all self-identifying members of the Indigenous community throughout the Indigenous Theatre season.

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 to all purchases made through Ticketmaster.

Groups of 10 or more contact or visit

Find out more about the NAC Indigenous Theatre on Facebook and YouTube. To discover some fascinating facts about Unikkaaqtuat, visit


The inaugural season of Indigenous Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre is made possible through the support of many generous individuals and organizations from across the country. The National Arts Centre Foundation wishes to acknowledge the leadership support of Shirley Greenberg, C.M., OOnt, the late Dr. Paul and Mrs. Elsje Mandl, Frank and Debbi Sobey, and an Anonymous Donor. Thank you to Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group, Major Partner The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Hotel Partner The Embassy Hotel and Suites, and Official Rail Partner VIA Rail.. We also express our sincere gratitude to the Government of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts for their longstanding support of the NAC and the arts in Canada.


The National Arts Centre raised its curtains for the first time in 1969. A bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for Canada’s most creative artists, the NAC strives to be artistically adventurous in each of its programming streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre and NAC Presents. The Centre’s national role is reflected in its motto: “Canada is our Stage.” The NAC collaborates with artists and arts organizations across the country, acts as a catalyst for performance; invests in ambitious new works by artists and arts organizations nation-wide; and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. Situated on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe, the NAC is accessible and welcoming to all, and offers a variety of free programming and events.



Amy Ede
Marketing/Communications Officer
NAC Indigenous Theatre
613-947-7000 x540



Andrea Ruttan  
Communications Strategist

NAC National Creation Fund  
613 947-7000 x396               


Sean Fitzpatrick

Communications Officer

NAC English Theatre

613-947-7000 x389

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