NAC rings in return of live performance with eclectic 2021-22 slate

The National Arts Centre is welcoming back audiences with an eclectic lineup that aims to reignite the passion for live performance.

The NAC announced its 2021-22 slate on Thursday as tickets went on sale for its in-person programming this fall.

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A spokesman says the NAC will limit seating to a combined 1,000 people across its four performance halls, with each hall capped at 50 per cent capacity — whichever is less — in keeping with Ontario's public health rules.

Sean Fitzpatrick says the arts organization is waiting on word from provincial authorities about COVID-19 vaccination requirements for audiences. He says the Crown corporation is also looking into how the federal government will implement its policy mandating that workers under its purview be vaccinated.

The NAC Orchestra will kick off the season with a concert on Sept. 10, inviting audiences to experience the sounds of its fall programming in person or through livestreams of most performances across Canada.

Feist, Chilly Gonzales, Bruce Cockburn, Bahamas and Charlotte Cardin are among the artists set to play in the Ottawa institution's popular music lineup, while NAC's theatre companies are giving underrepresented artists centre stage.

NAC English Theatre revealed its debut programming curated under a new commitment to evenly split its resources with Black arts organizations.

As the inaugural co-curating company in residence, Montreal's Black Theatre Workshop had access to half of NAC English Theatre's funds, staffing and venues to develop shows for the national stage.

The co-curation model will launch with "The Epistle of Tightrope Time," a one-man show penned and performed by Canadian actor, poet and playwright Walter Borden.

The Black Theatre Workshop will also mount the hip-hop musical "Black and Blue Matters" that centres on a rap battle between a Black teenager and the white police officer who shot him.

NAC Indigenous Theatre's slate includes Émilie Monne's "Okinum," an original work performed in French, English and Anishinaabemowin, and Jocelyn Sioui's "Mononk Jules," which draws from the life of the playwright's great-uncle, Jules Sioui, a 20th-century Indigenous hero.

NAC Dance will host performances by 12 Canadian companies and two international troupes, including the National Ballet of Canada, Ballet BC, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal.

Tickets are available for performances through Nov. 30. More programming and box office details are set to be revealed later this fall.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2021.

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