Your Stories, Your Stage: The National Arts Centre Unveils its 2023-2024 Season
YOUR STORIES, YOUR STAGE: THE NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE UNVEILS ITS 2023-2024 SEASON
Time to mark your calendars—a wide variety of music, dance and theatre will fill up any wish lists of live performances
MAY 11, 2023 – OTTAWA, CANADA – The NAC’s artistic leaders have created a line-up packed with a blend of powerful new works and treasured classics for the 2023-2024 season, delivered by some of the most creative and diverse range of artists, voices and companies from across Canada and beyond.
This season marks new beginnings and farewells. English Theatre Artistic Director Nina Lee Aquino explores the full spectrum of theatre for her inaugural season, while Cathy Levy, after over 20 years as Executive Producer for NAC Dance, has created an inspiring and innovative final season that will be carried by her successor, Caroline Ohrt. French Theatre Artistic Director Mani Soleymanlou builds on the huge success of his first season with a highly anticipated follow up. Led by Music Director Alexander Shelley, the NAC Orchestra has programmed a vast number of concerts and performances that celebrate the classics and introduce new works. Popular Music and Variety under Executive Producer Heather Gibson continues to highlight legendary performers and up-and-coming artists from Canada and around the globe. Indigenous Theatre Artistic Director Kevin Loring presents his fifth season with the some of the most exciting Indigenous artists and stories told in theatre, dance, and music from coast to coast to coast.
“All of us at the National Arts Centre are extremely excited about welcoming all audiences to the 2023-2024 season,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon. “Our dynamic artistic leadership team has crafted a season that features some of the most extraordinary artists from across Canada and around the world. Through music, theatre, and dance, they tell stories that entertain, inspire and heal. We invite all communities to come together at the NAC, and on stages across Canada, to hear those stories—and experience live the power of the performing arts.”
All six NAC artistic streams have created exceptional opportunities for a wide range of audiences and communities to experience connections with artists, while also sparking dialogue around the performances on stage. The warm and inviting atmosphere at the NAC sets the stage for audiences and artists to connect in anticipation of new and exciting adventures in live performances.
WISH LIST OF LIVE PERFORMANCES WITH A NEW TICKETING EXPERIENCE
Below are a number of highlights for audiences this coming season.
A new ticketing system will improve the way you buy tickets online to our performances. Our seamless new platform will provide added features—you will have the chance to view the stage from your seats before buying, build wish lists, and create user profiles in which you can manage preferences and view your subscriptions and upcoming performances.
NAC ORCHESTRA 2023/2024 SEASON
Throughout the season, audiences will hear a full spectrum of symphonic music, including Rimsky-Korsakov’s evocative Scheherazade and the ever-inspiring Symphony No. 9 by Beethoven.
The NAC Orchestra welcomes a Who’s Who of guest performers in 2023-2024, including pianists Angela Hewitt, Louis Lortie, and Seong-Jin Cho; and violinists Ray Chen and Blake Pouliot.
This season, Music Director Alexander Shelley and the Orchestra launch a multi-year commissioning project pairing vivid tone poems by Richard Strauss with new work by some of today’s most exciting Canadian composers, including Kelly-Marie Murphy and Kevin Lau. Creative Partner and pianist/composer Gabriela Montero performs her own Latin Concerto. In addition, Creative Partner and violinist James Ehnes leads an all-Bach concerto program featuring members of the orchestra as soloists.
The Pops series, helmed by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, showcases the best of Broadway and cinema, with both Home Alone and Jurassic Park onstage in Southam Hall. Principal Youth Conductor and Creative Partner Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser leads Family Adventures, NACO’s vibrant musical experiences for all ages. Chamber music with orchestra members and special guests is a feature of the season, with Music for a Sunday Afternoon returning, in its new home at Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre; and WolfGang Sessions at Club SAW.
“I remain inspired by the dedication and the skill of our NACO musicians, and by the warmth and generosity of our audience. Whether you have been to a concert before or are hearing your NAC Orchestra for the first time, I can promise you an unparalleled experience. The coming season is filled with moments for renewal, for connection and for celebration. Very close to my heart is our opening festival, Focus: Clara, Robert, and Johannes. It is the culmination of a multi-year recording project of which the Orchestra and I are immensely proud. Our festival celebrates three great composers and friends—Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms—and includes performances by some of the most interesting names in classical music, including the wonderful pianist Emanuel Ax, our dear friend James Ehnes, and debuts by two brilliant artists, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason and cellist Nicolas Altstadt.”
—Alexander Shelley, Music Director, NACO
Check out the full NAC Orchestra season.
NAC DANCE 2023/2024 SEASON
The 2023–2024 NAC Dance season will feature both classics of the repertoire and innovative new works. A total of 16 shows will be presented in the upcoming season.
The line-up includes return engagements by such favourites as Akram Khan, with his brand new show Jungle Book reimagined. We’ll also welcome renowned companies making their NAC Dance debut: Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black, for example, will open the new season with a double bill. As part of its commitment to the development of dance nationally and internationally, NAC Dance will present a number of coproductions, including one with Kidd Pivot, the company helmed by award-winning choreographer Crystal Pite.
The season also features some spectacular ballets. From Cinderella by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens to Snow White reimagined by choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and danced by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, these exciting works will help broaden the spectrum of the ballet world by allowing fans to travel between the classical and contemporary. Finally, this new season invites emerging voices to share their new work with NAC audiences and showcases the vitality of the Dance milieu: Ralph Escamillan and his company FakeKnot will present Piña, and the duo of Jean Abreu and Naishi Wang, Deciphers.
This final season designed by Cathy Levy, NAC Dance Producer Emerita, will be proudly delivered by Caroline Ohrt, NAC Dance’s new Executive Producer. The season will be balanced and diverse, amplifying the universal language of dance and delighting both new and seasoned dance lovers.
“It is with great pride that the programming for my final season, 2023-2024, is now being announced! The works of these artists collectively unite us in a season-long adventure of daring, insightful, unique and often gravity-defying performances from across the country and around the globe—each of them brimming with originality and heart. I invite you to delve in and celebrate and be prepared to be moved by their astonishing creativity.”
—Cathy Levy, NAC Dance Producer Emerita
“The 2023–2024 NAC Dance season is packed with surprising encounters, inspiring artists, and touching performances. It’s with joy and excitement that I look forward to sharing the experience with you, and to meeting you inside and outside the performance hall!”
—Caroline Ohrt, Executive Producer, NAC Dance
Check out the full NAC Dance season.
NAC ENGLISH THEATRE 2023/2024 SEASON
Since the moment she landed at the NAC last September, English Theatre Artistic Director Nina Lee Aquino has been energetically conceiving and planning her inaugural NAC season for 2023‑2024.
Inspired by the exciting evolution that the NAC, and theatre more generally, have undergone over the past few years, Nina’s selections have emerged out of her reflections on this profound ongoing transformation.
Her first season is a collection of curiosities, perspectives, real and imagined histories, and possible futures. The colourful programming offers a celebration of stories that represent Canada and the global world, and an invitation to our audiences, both long-standing and first-time, to see themselves and the world around us through a vivid theatrical kaleidoscope.
This brilliant season proudly captures the full colour spectrum of possibility in theatrical form, from operatic musings (The Queen In Me) to dance (Prison Dancer), tour de force dramas (The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time) to popular musicals, intimate stories (Rose in the Machine) to large ensemble productions (Come From Away). The 2023‑2024 season lays out the beginning of a rich and vibrant exploration of Canada’s place in the world, and the world’s place in Canada, in full colour.
“The 2023 Pantone Colour of the Year is Viva Magenta. 2023 also marks my first season as the new Artistic Director of English Theatre. This is a cosmic-level coincidence because Viva Magenta happens to be my favourite colour in the whole universe. It is also the chosen lead colour of our 2023‑2024 season. In the last three years of the pandemic, we have been living in shades of grey. We've been in transition, living in liminal space. I'd like to believe that the stories we have to offer this season will bring a little Viva Magenta into our lives … along with all the other colours we’ve been so hungry for.”
—Nina Lee Aquino, Artistic Director, NAC English Theatre
Check out the full NAC English Theatre season.
NAC INDIGENOUS THEATRE 2023/2024 SEASON
NAC Indigenous Theatre and Artistic Director Kevin Loring welcomes you to a season of incredible Indigenous artistry. Surround yourself with living stories, transforming how we experience, understand, and walk on the land together.
His fifth season celebrates stories of kinship and love for the land, honouring traditions, and creativity through the magic of performing arts. Experience the beauty of Indigenous storytelling, dance, and music and witness the transformational power of theatre as a tool for healing, connection, and empowerment. Gather with us for another season of Indigenous Artists from across Turtle Island and around the world.
“Welcome to Indigenous Theatre's new season. Like a pair of moccasins crafted with care and laughter, this season of Indigenous Theatre celebrates the resilience of Indigenous love. Love for the Land, for each other and love for ourselves. Meet your Inner Elder for wise and nurturing care, find long-lost love, experience the true power of the Fur Trade—shifting your gaze toward the feminine—and let Summer Lovin' on the Rez leave you singing in the aisles. Through it all, remember that the answer is always Land.”
—Kevin Loring, Artistic Director, NAC Indigenous Theatre
Check out the full NAC Indigenous Theatre season.
NAC FRENCH THEATRE 2023/2024 SEASON
After a first season on the theme of reconnecting, Artistic Director Mani Soleymanlou unveils a new program inspired by the notions of dreaming and “diving inward.”
Coming up in French Theatre’s 2023–2024 season: A quartet of impassioned performers shares a political outburst like a scream; a duo of female warriors delivers a moving testimonial that invites a profound collective questioning; a woman at the microphone tells the story of a passion that is both intoxicating and liberating. Audiences will have the opportunity to meet a collective of nine young performers attempting to give form to the invisible; to enter a luminous elsewhere ruled by sound, smoke and light; and to travel back in time with Robert Lepage as he revives the memory of the illustrious painter Riopelle through 30 staged tableaux, and with Catherine Vidal as she transforms Chekhov’s landmark play La mouette (The Seagull) into a vast living laboratory.
As for family programming, the Enfance/jeunesse series designed by Mélanie Dumont musters a crowd of imaginations in full flight that take over the space and paint it with a thousand colours. A giant lantern stage, a set in the shape of a birthday cake, little travelling islands, a playground for art ... a whole world comes alive.
“The 2023–2024 season is filled with offerings that highlight our capacity to tackle life’s most difficult challenges and welcome its most wonderful gifts. A new season that seeks to remind us of our titanic power: confirming our ability to overcome the insurmountable and affirming our insatiable need and unquenchable thirst for beauty.”
—Mani Soleymanlou, Artistic Director, NAC French Theatre
Check out the full NAC French Theatre season.
NAC POPULAR MUSIC AND VARIETY 2023/2024 SEASON
NAC Popular Music & Variety and Executive Producer Heather Gibson presents what promises to be one of its most exciting seasons yet. She'll be presenting Canada’s foremost artists on our stages and bringing the best of the world here. Renowned British-American sitar player Anoushka Shankar will make her thrilling NAC debut and we’re excited to present the unique performance by the Japanese drum and dance ensemble Drum Tao!
This fall, Juno Award-winning artists Dominique Fils-Aimé and Jeremy Dutcher return to Babs Asper Theatre. The franco soul artist will present her new album Our Roots Run Deep in October, and the charismatic Jeremy Dutcher will bring his captivating show in November.
Canadian legend and beloved children’s entertainer Raffi performs in Southam Hall. The first opera in joual will bring a lyrical voice to the famous play Albertine en cinq temps by Michel Tremblay. Six singers and five musicians will bring to life this spellbinding music by composer Catherine Major, with a libretto by the Collectif de la Lune Rouge, directed by Nathalie Deschamps.
We’ll also see the return of Fridays at the Fourth and Sessions with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Stay tuned for more announcements in June and throughout the season.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome great Canadian musicians and some of the best artists in the world to the National Arts Centre stages. Expect 2023-2024 to be a captivating season of discovery and reuniting with long time favourites. I’m truly excited about the upcoming season and the many artists yet to be announced.”
—Heather Gibson, Executive Producer, Popular Music & Variety
Check out the full NAC Popular Music and Variety season.
FAMILY SHOWS AND STUDENT MATINEES WITH OUR ARTS ALIVE PROGRAMMING
In terms of school and family programming, audiences will be delighted to see that the 2023–2024 season presents a full school and family offering for the first time since the pandemic.
The new season will feature the return of student matinees in all NAC disciplines, and includes the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s production of Nutcracker and the NAC Orchestra's virtual workshop, Finding the Ojibwe Horse, copresented with NAC Indigenous Theatre.
“We’re delighted to present such amazing, rich and varied programming for families and schools. Regardless of language or age, we have a variety of offerings in each of our disciplines at the NAC.”
—Natasha Harwood, Acting Director, Learning and Engagement, Arts Alive
BUY TICKETS FOR 2023-2024
Renewing season subscribers can book Fixed Series and Create Your Own subscriptions as of May 12.
New subscriptions and individual show tickets for most of our programming will go on sale June 22.
Visit the NAC Box Office online, contact us by email at email@example.com, or call us at 1‑844‑985‑2787 (ARTS).
The 2023–2024 season will introduce a new online and in person ticketing system that will enhance the purchasing experience for patrons. Learn more on our website.
EXPERIENCE MIND-BLOWING SHOWS FOR $15
As in past seasons, Indigenous Theatre will continue to offer community-engaged activity, learning opportunities and corollary programming in and around the work presented on stage. We are honoured to be able to continue to offer $15 All My Relations tickets to the Indigenous community in the upcoming season. It extends to most of the programming from all disciplines at the NAC.
Under30 tickets are for anybody under the age of 30. And yeah, that includes teens and kids! We know high ticket prices can keep away some young arts lovers, so we created Under30 to make it easier for you, your friends, and the kids in your life to enjoy amazing theatre, dance and music at the NAC.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE
The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams—the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre in collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety—and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation.
THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS
Programming at the National Arts Centre is supported by many generous organizations from across the country. The NAC Foundation would like to thank the Azrieli Foundation, BMO Financial Group, The Canadian Medical Association, MD Financial Management and Scotiabank, the Crabtree Foundation, the Janice & Earle O'Born Fund for Artistic Excellence, the Lord Elgin Hotel, Mark Motors Group, Meta, The Metcalfe Hotel, Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites, Power Corporation of Canada, The RBC Foundation, Rogers Communications, The Slaight Family Foundation, and TD Bank Group.
A huge thank you to our devoted Donor’s Circle individual donors for making programming at the NAC possible.
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