NAC unveils Canada Scene festival, featuring over 1,000 artists this summer


(Via NAC)

April 4, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) – Heather Moore, Producer and Executive Director of the National Arts Centre’s Scene festivals, today announced the complete programming lineup for Canada Scene. The eighth in a successful biennial series of multidisciplinary festivals showcasing the work of established and emerging artists from different regions of the country, Canada Scene will take place across Ottawa-Gatineau from June 15 to July 23, 2017. More than 1,000 artists will bring their music, theatre, dance, visual and media arts, and film creations to the nation’s capital in an eclectic and spectacular celebration of our country. The Presenting Partner of Canada Scene is TD.

Visit the festival website at to find out more about the 100 events that will take place in the newly rejuvenated NAC this summer and in various venues across Ottawa-Gatineau.



“A major part of the Scene festivals has always been to help Canadian artists present their works for new audiences beyond the festival and Canada’s borders” said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “Featuring more than 1,000 artists in 100 events during Canada Scene is an extremely ambitious undertaking that could not have happened without its superb Producer and Executive Director Heather Moore. Heather and her team have spent the past few years with their collective ear to the ground, experiencing the astonishing work of Canadian artists from coast to coast to coast and assembling a spectacular lineup for the festival.”


“Since 2003, The Scenes have given us a privileged, sometimes surprising, always fascinating insight into the rich artistic and creative life of this country,” said Heather Moore, Producer and Executive Director of the NAC’s Scene festivals. “As part of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Canada Scene festival will celebrate, inspire, and provoke. It will celebrate Canadian heroes,inspire with performances by emerging artists, and provoke with a week of particularly contemporary works that will challenge conventions and raise questions about who we are and where we are going as a nation. I invite everyone to jump in and be immerses in an incredible cultural adventure.”





Taken (June 17) by Winnipeg’s Camerata Nova choir commissioned three Indigenous artists to create works on the theme of “taken.” Jeremy Dutcher – a New Brunswick Maliseet– sings the role of a young, kidnapped Inuk while Saskatoon’s brilliant and passionate hip-hop artist Lindsay “Eekwol” Knight explores how addiction or suicide can take us. And Artistic Director Andrew Balfour’s piece delves into the abduction of Inuit as “curiosities.”


The grand dame of Acadian music Édith Butler hosts a Soirée Acadienne (July 4) joined by New Brunswick’s legendary 1755 and Samantha Robichaud as well as PEI’s all-female band Gadelle.


One of Cape Breton’s best-loved Celtic fiddlers, Natalie MacMaster (July 8), returns to the National Arts Centre and Canada Scene for an epic evening of music celebrating Canada’s diverse fiddle traditions. This pan-Canadian evening of foot-stomping fun features Karrnnel Sawitsky and his band The Fretless, Ottawa Valley fiddle sensation April Verch, Saskatchewan’s master of the Métis fiddle John Arcand, Northwest Territory’s fiddle sensation Wesley Hardisty, and PEI’s Cynthia Macleod.


The 12-piece chamber pop ensemble of queer and allied musicians, Queer Songbook Orchestra (July 9), mark Canada’s 150th birthday with a collaboration of prominent LGBTQ Canadian artists who explore queer truths and experience on a national stage. Hosted by Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury and theatre actor/writer Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, with guest artists Carole Pope (Rough Trade); Lorraine Segato (The Parachute Club); Wayson Choy (The Jade Peony, All That Matters); and acclaimed singer-songwriter and regular guest on the Mr. Dressup show for many years Beverly Glenn Copeland.


Tomboy Survival Guide (July 13) is a rousing and unforgettable night of stories and anthems by Yukon’s powerful and award-winning storyteller and musician Ivan Coyote and their all-tomboy band. Tomboy pries the lid off the gender boxes we find ourselves in and illuminates some of the deepest wishes of tomboys and gender transgressors.


Québec multi-award-winning singer–songwriter Ariane Moffatt (July 14) goes symphonic for a night with the NAC Orchestra! She immerses herself wholeheartedly in this musical adventure, transforming her electropop pieces into dazzling orchestral gems finely crafted by arranger and conductor Simon Leclerc. She’s joined onstage by her friends Marie-Pierre Arthur and Alexandre Désilets.


A key figure on the Quebec traditional music scene for over 40 years, Yves Lambert takes a contemporary approach to tradition with Socalled and Le Vent Du Nord (July 15) and revisits the music of many an old-fashioned Quebec kitchen party, reinventing it for a modern audience.


Gabriel Dharmoo‘s Imaginary Anthropologies (July 15) is unpredictable, challenging, and fun, floating in the fine space between satire and seriousness, between tradition and novelty, between cleverness and folly – encompassing so much more than composition, performance, and vocal improvisation.


Santur virtuoso Amir Amiri will be joined by five of Toronto’s finest players in Sounds of Persia: Canada’s New Music Masters (July 16) in an evening that celebrates this country’s hidden gems and the emergence of Persian culture in Canada.


ShoShona Kish, one half of the duo that fronts JUNO Award-winning band Digging Roots, has invited some of Canada’s most accomplished female Indigenous artists for Anishinabekwe (July 22), an unforgettable evening of music and musical storytelling, backed by powerhouse band Digging Roots. Polaris Prize-winner Tanya Tagaq, Canadian Folk Music Award-winner and JUNO nominee Amanda Rheaume, multiple award-winning Métis composer, musician, and singer from the Saulteaux and Cree Nations Sandy Scofield, and Cree/Dene singer-songwriter Iskwé will share the stage.


Hailing from all corners of the globe – from Peru to Burkina Faso to Cuba to Ukraine – and now living in the Greater Toronto Area, the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra (July 23) explores and celebrates the cultural diversity and pluralism of Canada. A Royal Conservatory of Music initiative conceived by Mervon Mehta, the orchestra joins 12 musicians playing instruments as diverse as they are, from the tar of Iran to the bouzouki of Greece to the hulusi of China, led by Artistic Director David Buchbinder.




For 22 days (July 2-23), this free concert series in the NAC’s dazzling new Atrium will celebrate some of our country’s best, brightest, and most beloved artists in roots, world, jazz, and blues from all corners of Canada. Highlights include:


A PEI trio blazing their own musical trail with their feisty instrumental jigs, 2017 JUNO winners

The East Pointers (July 5); Andalusian and Berber rhythms, reggae and Moroccan Chaabi


grooves, and strains of pop and rock by Ayrad (July 9);Havana-born pianist now based in Ottawa, Miguel de Armas brings his airy, feel-good jazz (July 10); orchestral pop, jazz, and soaring harmonies from Montreal’s Bellflower (July 16); recent JUNO recipients include Winnipeg’s William Prince, who creates thought-provoking music in a versatile mix of country laced with gospel and folk (July 13), and Yellowknife-based duo Quantum Tangle (July 19) delivering a tapestry of stories, music, and movement that explores the ever-changing face of what it means to be an Indigenous person in Canada today. With her unique voice, poetic songs and passionate performances, Whitehorse’s Sarah MacDougall returns to the NAC for a special appearance (July 21).


Previously announced shows that can’t be missed include the new production of Harry Somers’ classic opera Louis Riel a co-production with the Canadian Opera Company (June 15 and 17); the CBC Searchlight winner performing in a concert hosted by Royal Wood (July 2); the iconic Buffy Sainte-Marie with guest Leela Gilday (July 3); a unique tribute concert celebrating the late jazz great Oscar Peterson, featuring seven renowned pianists and close friends of Peterson, including Canadians Robi Botos, Oliver Jones, and Jon Kimura Parker (July 10); and Rufus Wainwright with the NAC Orchestra (July 12).







Dance performances in the Canada Scene Festival are presented in partnership with the Canada Dance Festival.


Featuring dance artist Naishi Wang, 15 X At Night (July 2-16) is choreographer Paul-André Fortier’s 30-minute site-specific solo, performed outside at night every day in various locations for 15 days. Performances take place rain or shine.


Saskatchewan’s Robin Poitras (July 11) presents a two-part program of dance works: END OF WINTER, the visceral account of the ravages of climate change, and The Dresswriter, an ode to her mother’s advancing Alzheimer’s.


Dance Machine (July 12-15) is Vancouver choreographer Lee Su-Feh’s kinetic sculptural installation produced by battery opera performance. Sixty-four pieces of bamboo are suspended from a central copper disk and are moved independently by artists and audience members to create an immersive experience.


With land|body|breath (July 13), Governor General’s Award recipient and contemporary dance artist Peggy Baker proposes a site-specific, immersive performance for vocalists and dancers inside the National Gallery of Canada’s newly installed Canadian and Indigenous Galleries where the audience is fluid and mobile around the performance.


World-renowned choreographer, performer, and NAC Dance Associate Dance Artist Marie Chouinard brings her latest creation Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden of Earthly Delights (July 14). Featuring a talented ensemble, the work delves into the mysterious imagery of Hieronymus Bosch’s most famous and ambitious surviving painting, exploring temptation and the dangers of perfect liberty and bringing to life the fantastical imagery and fertile landscapes depicted in the triptych’s three panels – from paradise to the garden of earthly delights and beyond.


Compagnie Marie Chouinard’s IN MUSEUM (July 15) is an exquisite performance exchange between dancer and visitor. Performed on the Plaza of the National Gallery of Canada, visitors are invited to enter a designated space and discreetly share a hope or a wish with the dancer.


Dollhouse (July 15) is a descent into chaos by contemporary dance master and choreographer Bill Coleman with avant-garde composer Gordon Monahan and his unique score. The work encompasses tap dancing, performance art, and action in which mechanical and electronic objects, both handmade and found, deliver disrupting and surprising rhythms for the ears and eyes.


In a journey of friendship and song, musician Diana Daly and dance artist Louise Moyes bring the Daly family’s memories to life in If a Place Could Be Made (July 13) presented by the Daly Family Collective. Directed by Anne Troake, the performance tells the story of a family affected by physical disabilities (achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism) and brings together powerful images, tales, music, dance, and laughter.





In a groundbreaking theatrical presentation featuring a diverse and talented ensemble of First Nations and non-Aboriginal musicians, dancers, and poets, Making Treaty 7 (June 20) breathes life into the history and legacy of the founding event of modern southern Alberta, with a large- scale re-enactment of the 1877 signing of Treaty 7. Founded by the late Michael Green (Elk Shadow/Pona Ko’taksi) and co-directed by Michelle Thrush and Blake Brooker.


Commissioned by the Luminato Festival and coproduced by the National Arts Centre in collaboration with the NAC’s English Theatre, Neworld Theatre’s King Arthur (June 24-26) is Niall Mcneil’s version of the archetypal story. Created with theatre-makers Marcus Youssef and directed by James Young with original songs and music by Canadian alt-songstress Veda Hille.


The result constantly subverts expectations: of course King Arthur is a goat who lives in a goat palace. Of course the Lady of the Lake’s underwater home is a well-known Vancouver spa. And of course the Knights of the Roundtable are also goats, transformed by light into humans when Arthur pulls the sword from the stone. Performed by a fully integrated professional cast of actors with and without Down syndrome.


Artful blend of mockumentary, humour, drama and stories, En direct de     . (July 7-8) is a radio series created by Radio-Canada arts reporter Julien Morissette and producer

David Thibodeau. Listeners are taken on a half-real, half-imaginary visit to small Canadian communities: Peace River (Alberta), Bay of Fundy, (between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia), Kapuskasing, Ontario, and Great Slave Lake (Northwest Territories).


Set in 1968, Mulgrave Road Theatre’s The West Woods (July 7-9) recounts the challenging time of social change for African-Nova Scotian women, when many simply decided not to work “in service” anymore. Written by Tara Reddick and directed by Emmy Alcorn.


Old Stock (July 13-15), by 2b theatre company is based on the true-life experiences of playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s great-great-grandparents and their journey as Romanian Jews immigrating to Canada in the early 20th century. The play features Canadian klezmer-folk sensation Ben Caplan (a kind of eastern-European Tom Waits) in the lead role and is directed by Christian Barry.


The mad magic of a bush party becomes an interactive theatre event with Ramshackle Theatre’s Theatre In The Bush (July 20-22) at the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park. Created by Brian Fidler, the evening offers innovative Yukon and local artists preparing playful and daring creations that let the environment around them influence the outcome. It’s a celebration, a meeting place, and a taste of Yukon theatre, music, and food all rolled into one.


The Qaggiq Performing Arts Collective brings Kiviuq Returns (July 21-22), the story of an eternal wanderer and the legendary hero of Inuit stories from across Canada’s Arctic. Performed entirely in Inuktitut with imagistic projections, the show includes music, dancing, brilliant costumes, elder storytelling, and Inuit actors of all ages.


Previously announced theatre shows include Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre’s Ca Daughter , written by Kenneth T. Williams, based on the life of Chinese Canadian Senator and neuroscientist Lillian Eva Quan Dyck; Ravi Jain’s unique production  of Salt-Water Moon (July 6-

8) starring Bahareh Yaraghi, Danny Ghantous, and Ania Soul produced by Why Not Theatre and

Factory Theatre and 7 Doigts de la main’s Cuisine & Confessions (July 7-8) a part theatre,


circus, storytelling, cooking show, and comedy that blends cooking with energetic and poignant storytelling – all wrapped in a circus at a human scale.







Endless Landscape (June 28-August 30) is a major visual arts event in Gatineau’s historic La Fonderie building presented by AXENÉO7 in collaboration with DAÏMÔN, Galerie UQO, and Canada Scene. Visual artists who have experience working in situ have been sought from all regions of Canada and have produced new monumental works that bring artists, thinkers, and audiences together to reflect upon the intricate relationship Canadians and First Peoples maintain with the land.


CLOUD (June 15-July 23, NAC Lobby) is a large-scale interactive work sculpted from 6,000 everyday domestic light bulbs by Canadian artists Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett. The piece incorporates hundreds of pull-strings to create a simple, bright, and playfully work, completed by the collaboration of its participants.


Range Light, Borden-Carleton, PEI is a life-size cast of a PEI lighthouse by artist Kim Morgan, (June 15-July 23, NAC Mezzanine).  A cultural artifact spanning 60 feet and incorporating more than 2,000 square feet of latex, Morgan’s immense sculpture is an ephemeral monument to time and our experience with change and transformation.


Strategically centering Indigenous women as vital presences across multiple platforms,

#callresponse (June 16) is a multifaceted project that includes a touring exhibition, website, social-media platform, and catalogue. Presented by SAW Gallery, organized by Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield, and Tania Willard in partnership with grunt gallery, the project features artists Christi Belcourt, Maria Hupfield, Ursula Johnson, Tania Willard, and Laakkuluk Williamson- Bathory and guest respondents Isaac Murdoch, Esther Neff and IV Castellanos, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, and Tanya Tagaq.





imagineNATIVE, Media Arts Festival and SAW Video present A Nation of Nations (June 19),

10 short works made by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit filmmakers from across the country including Caroline Monnet, Ippiksaut Friesen Shelley Niro and many others.


Atlantic Film Waves (July 4), curated by Tony Merzetti, executive director of the New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-operative in Fredericton showcases the rich tradition of storytelling in Atlantic Canada where a rising tide of inspiring, independent films is being made.


Seances (July 11-23), produced by the National Film Board of Canada, is the brainchild of award-winning Winnipeg filmmaker Guy Maddin, created with brothers Evan and Galen Johnson. Up to 25 audience members at a time will be invited to participate in this 4 to 24 minute film experience. Using an interactive movie-making-and-destroying machine Seances offers an entirely new way of experiencing film narrative, framed through the lens of loss.


From Anne Troake, a multidisciplinary artist from Twillingate, Newfoundland, comes OutSideIn (July 15-16), a striking 3D film experience that takes us into the woods to explore our primordial relationship with the natural world. This film’s exquisite choreography is performed by Carole Prieur, premier dancer with La Compagnie Marie Chouinard, and Bill Coleman, founding member of Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie.






NAC Housewarming

On July 2, Canada Scene throws open its doors for a free, all-day housewarming to celebrate Canada’s artistic diversity with an exciting mix of music, dance, and so much more. With original and traditional French songs by Carmen Campagne; Ottawa’s Deepti Gupta in an exquisite, interactive performance of Kathak dance featuring tales and poetry from Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India; the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers, an Inland Tlingit dance group; and Ottawa’s House Of PainT who offering a sneak glance at their August festival of hip-hop culture.


Canadian Remix!

Long-time NAC collaborator Jesse Stewart has outfitted the Octamasher (July 2-23), an installation made up of eight repurposed keyboards arranged in an octagon, with a sample bank consisting of hundreds of selections drawn from Canadian music and popular culture, to be played in the NAC lobby by the public.


Family Scene

Showcasing theatre, dance, and music for kids of all ages, the FREE Family Scene series runs

every morning at 11:00 from July 2 to 23, in the NAC’s new Atrium.


Programming includes Ottawa Stilt Union’s ArborAmor (July 4-8), tango-flavoured physical theatre that tells the story of a tree who learns to dance. BoucharDanse’s La gigue en souvenir (July 12-15), brings the past to life in an enchanting journey through Quebec traditional dance and features a range of funky music old and new. Bust-A-Groove (July 9,16, 23) with Julia Gutsik invites participants to get lost in movement and fun. Also in store is We’ve got the Beat, from Bangers & Smash (July 3, 10, 17), brought to you by the NAC Orchestra’s assistant principal bass and percussionist. It’s a chance for children to learn the sounds and colours percussion instruments can produce, from J.S. Bach to rock.






Northern Craft Workshops (July 19-22) will offer a unique opportunity to work alongside Northern visual artists while learning traditional skills from stone-carving to jewellery-making, beadwork, doll-making, and caribou-fur tufting. This series of half-day or full-day workshops present a rare chance to experience the skills and crafts that Northern artists have used to tell their stories, create and sustain their culture, and offer their art to the world. As well, distinctive creations from seven superb artists from the Northwest Territories will be available for sale at the Northern Artists Craft Market.



Tickets for Canada Scene performances are on sale now!

  • In person at the NAC Box Office or the Welcome Centre/Satellite Box Office;
  • At all Ticketmaster outlets;
  • By telephone from Ticketmaster, 1-888-991-2787 (ARTS); and
  • Online through the Ticketmaster link on the NAC’s website (


A service charge applies on all purchases made through Ticketmaster.


Groups of 10 or more save 15% to 20% off regular ticket prices. To reserve your seats, call 613-947-7000 x634 or e-mail




Experience the incredible variety that the festival has to offer by attending multiple events in dance, music, theatre, circus, and more – while saving up to 30 % off the regular ticket prices.

3 events Save up to 15 %
4 events Save up to 20 %
5 events Save up to 25 %
6 + events Save up to 30%


*Certain restrictions apply. Valid on Canada Scene Festival performances only. Cannot be combined with NAC subscription or other offer.



The Scene festivals began in 2003 with Atlantic Scene. That festival’s success was followed by Alberta Scene (2005), Quebec Scene (2007), BC Scene (2009), Prairie Scene (2011), Northern Scene (2013), and Ontario Scene (2015), and this summer, Canada Scene rounds out the spotlight on the arts and culture and looks towards a nationally-focused festival.

OttawaStart Staff


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