November 3, 2016 – OTTAWA (Canada) – The National Arts Centre (NAC) has opened a national competition to recruit its first Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre. The creation of a new Department of Indigenous Theatre was announced on March 24, 2016 when the NAC unveiled details of its Strategic Plan entitled Canada is Our Stage: 2015-2020.
The NAC is Canada’s largest multi-disciplinary performing arts organization and is located in Ottawa. The NAC recognizes the Algonquin Nation, on whose territory it is located. The NAC gratefully acknowledges the past, present and future caretakers of this land.
“When the National Arts Centre first opened in 1969 it reflected the way Canada understood itself at the time, as a bi-cultural and bilingual country,” said Peter A. Herrndorf, the President and CEO of the NAC. “We opened with a French Theatre, English Theatre, Music and Dance Departments. Thankfully that understanding of Canada is changing through the extraordinary work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and through the work of many artists across the country. We are very pleased to be opening the first Indigenous Theatre in the NAC’s history and we look forward to meeting extraordinary candidates from across Canada who will build the new Indigenous Theatre Department.”
The NAC hopes to have the successful candidate in place by the summer of 2017, and in the fall of 2019—the NAC’s 50th anniversary—the NAC’s new Indigenous Theatre Department will launch its first full season of programming, reflecting a fuller story of Canada to Canadians.
The successful candidate will be a well-respected First Nation, Inuit or Métis theatrical leader, who is artistically ambitious and is strongly committed to producing or presenting Indigenous work on a national stage, as well as community engagement. The successful candidate will be a gifted theatre artist who is interested in a national conversation about Indigenous performance, inspiring a diversity of range and style from coast to coast to coast.
The candidate will bring an in depth knowledge of the current Indigenous theatre landscape. He or she will be part of the NAC’s senior artistic leadership team and will contribute to the strategic direction and vision of the Centre as a whole, collaborating with other disciplines on artistic initiatives, program planning, and the use of facilities.
The successful candidate will have an awareness of the social, physical and spiritual concerns of diverse Indigenous communities in Canada. He or she will also have excellent communications skills in order to develop a strong relationship with the many communities across the land, the media, the theatre community at large, and Indigenous Theatre’s audience and donors.
The NAC has been building its relationships with Indigenous artists over the past decade. Former English Theatre Artistic Director Peter Hinton was an ardent champion of Indigenous theatre, ensuring its presence in six successful seasons with works such as Copper Thunderbird by Marie Clements (2007), The Ecstasy of Rita Joe by George Ryga (2009), Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin Loring by former NAC Playwright-in-Residence (2010) and Night by Human Cargo (2010) and the all-Indigenous production of King Lear directed by Peter Hinton (2012).
This tradition has been carried forward by English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley and Associate Artistic Director Sarah Garton Stanley, who have facilitated an important conversation on Indigenous theatre in Canada through The Summit, The Study and The Repast – major gatherings of Indigenous and non- Indigenous artists from across Canada.
In addition, the NAC has worked closely with Indigenous artists and communities through its Music Alive Program in western and northern Canada, and the NAC’s national Scene festivals have showcased hundreds of First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists from every region of the country.