Wednesday, March 21, 2012

News: (Ottawa) NAC English Theatre announces women's literary 2012-13 season

Peter Hinton, who is about to depart as artistic director of the National Arts Centre English Theatre wing, announced his final season with the company and, as expected, it is highlighted by a co-production with Centaur Theatre (MTL) of Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott. Hinton, however, chose to underline that all of his season's works were by women.

There are some other interesting plays in the season including a revival of The Glace Bay Miner's Museum, Wendy Lill's adaptation of the Sheldon Currie novel (which was also adapted into the Helena Bonham-Carter movie vehicle, Margaret's Museum).  Indeed, if there was a secondary theme to the season it would be literary adaptation; Pride and Prejudice, Metamorphoses and thirsty all rise from literature.

Read the press release:
Artistic Director Peter Hinton unveils the
National Arts Centre English Theatre 2012-13 Season

Ottawa, Ontario – On Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in the Studio of Canada’s National Arts Centre, Peter Hinton announced the lineup for the 2012-13 season, his last as Artistic Director of English Theatre.

The 2012-13 season will be a history-making one for the NAC English Theatre, as it will for the first time, be one composed entirely of plays by women.

“I am very proud to have been part of the national vision at the NAC over the past seven years - and am especially inspired by the women artists who are telling stories that have a real urgency and significance, while at the same time opening up all theatrical forms and modes of expression,” said Mr. Hinton. “I wanted to say farewell as boldly as I arrived with this groundbreaking season of plays, and pay tribute to the artists, audiences and theatre companies working in Canada today.”

The Theatre, Studio and Family series in 2012-13 will feature comedies, musicals, dramas, classics and new Canadian work, all deserving a place on the national stage.

The Theatre Series begins with Wendy Lill’s The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum, based on the novel by Sheldon Currie. Next up for the holidays is Jane Austen’s classic story of love, family and the politics of marriage, Pride and Prejudice. A new production of Mary Zimmerman’s hit play, Metamorphoses Based on the Myths of Ovid, launches in 2013. In the spring, a story drawn from Canadian history is staged, as Beverley Cooper’s Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott arrives at the NAC. Wrapping up the Theatre Series is a powerful production about Blues singer Willie Mae Thornton, Big Mama! The Willie Mae Thornton Story from Audrei-Kairen and starring the one and only Jackie Richardson in the title role.

The Studio Series gets underway with the world premiere of Dionne Brand’s thirsty, based on her book of poetry and directed by Peter Hinton. In April, the NAC English Theatre teams up once again with Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company for Marie Clements’ The Edward Curtis Project, bringing this co-production to the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre.  Finally, the Studio Series closes with the one-woman comedy, Miss Caledonia, written and performed by Melody A. Johnson.

The Family Series features, along with Pride and Prejudice, two very special productions for children. Sanctuary Song, Theatre Direct’s opera for ages six years and up by Abigail Richardson-Schulte and Marjorie Chan takes the stage in February. And in May isTulugak: Inuit Raven Stories, presented in association with the NAC Northern Scene, from director Sylvia Cloutier. 

The NAC English Theatre Company will be featured in five productions in the Theatre and Studio series, four of which will be co-productions with theatre companies across Canada, including Theatre Calgary (Calgary, AB), Centaur Theatre (Montréal, QC), Neptune Theatre (Halifax, NS) and the Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa, ON). The names of those artists who will make up the 2012-13 NAC English Theatre Company are to be announced this coming spring.

Education and Outreach programs for students and adults alike will be served through Salon Saturdays, Talkbacks and, the NAC English Theatre’s online study guides.

Save up to 30% - Subscription packages from $91 for 5 plays! Save an extra 5% by subscribing online to

The webcast of the season launch in the NAC Studio will air live on March 20 at 6p.m., click on For full information of the 2012-13 season, click

And that’s not all – more exciting announcements are on the way!

NAC English Theatre would like to thank the Government of Canada for its generous support.

The National Arts Centre Foundation extends a warm thank you to the members of the Donors’ Circle and the Corporate Club who generously support English Theatre at the National Arts Centre and the National Youth and Education Trust.  A special thank you to the Embassy Hotel & Suites, the Official Hotel of NAC English Theatre, the Ottawa Citizen, Media Partner, Ridley Terminals Inc. for its support of Aboriginal programming and the Anonymous Donor for their support of the Playwrights in Residence.

There are so many reasons to subscribe – imagine the possibilities at the NAC English Theatre this season!


Glace Bay Miners’ Museum
by Wendy Lill
a play based on the novel by Sheldon Currie
featuring the NAC English Theatre Company
NAC English Theatre/Neptune Theatre (Halifax, N.S.) co-production
in celebration of Neptune Theatre’s 50th Anniversary
October 16 – November 3, 2012
NAC Theatre 

The NAC celebrates the 50th anniversary of Halifax’s Neptune Theatre with a work that embodies the theatre of Nova Scotia. In Glace Bay, romance blossoms between Neil Currie – a musician and misfit with limited job prospects – and scrappy Margaret MacNeil, a coal miner’s daughter. But behind it all, a strike and a mining disaster looms over the community. At once lyrical and tough, poignant and funny, this celebrated stage adaptation of Sheldon Currie’s novel digs deep into the issues of the forgotten and exploited, honouring and celebrating the people of Cape Breton.

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
directed by Dennis Garnhum
featuring the NAC English Theatre Company
NAC English Theatre/Theatre Calgary co-production
November 21 – December 8, 2012
NAC Theatre
The romantic world of Regency England is brought to vivid life in this sparkling new adaptation of Jane Austen’s classical masterpiece about love, family, and the politics of marriage. When the independent minded Elizabeth Bennet meets the enigmatic Mr. Darcy, her opinions on marriage are profoundly tested. Can he overcome his pride and she her prejudice to make an ideal match in a society where social standing outweighs personal feeling? You’ll delight in watching the sparks fly. An enchanting theatre experience leading up to the holidays.

Based on the Myths of Ovid
written and originally directed by Mary Zimmerman 
featuring the NAC English Theatre Company
NAC English Theatre Production
January 29 – February 16, 2013
NAC Theatre

In Metamorphoses, Mary Zimmerman reimagines ten classical myths, transforming them for our time and sensibilities. Set in and around a giant swimming pool, this splashy theatrical event lets the audience experience the unexpected consequences of humanity’s deepest desires. From Orpheus’ desperate attempt to rescue his bride from the Underworld, to Midas’ impulsive greed, to the hilarity of Phaeton, son of Apollo, working out his father-son relationship on a watery therapist’s couch, mythology was never so relevant or entertaining!

Innocence Lost
A Play About Steven Truscott
by Beverley Cooper
directed by Roy Surette
featuring the NAC English Theatre Company
NAC English Theatre/Centaur Theatre Company (Montréal, Q.C.) co-production
February 27 – March 16, 2013
NAC Theatre

Clinton, Ontario, 1959. Fourteen-year-old Steven Truscott was sentenced to death for the murder of his 12-year-old classmate Lynne Harper. Maintaining his innocence throughout, his conviction was overturned in 2007. Now, Beverley Cooper re-examines the case, turning it into a theatrical experience with trial transcripts and interviews woven into the fabric of her drama. Ten people from the community are under pressure to arrive at the truth, including Steven’s friend Sarah, a young farm girl who could see his innocence. Many years later, as if in an epiphany, Sarah finally escapes the prison of her doubts and reclaims the innocence lost so long ago.

Big Mama!
The Willie Mae Thornton Story
conceived and written by Audrei-Kairen
directed by John Cooper
starring Jackie Richardson
produced by Belfry Theatre (Victoria, B.C.)
April 24 – May 11, 2013
NAC Theatre

Before Elvis sang “Hound Dog” and Janis Joplin belted out “Ball & Chain”, Willie Mae Thornton had already been there and done that. Her powerful voice, sexy songs, and larger-than-life stage presence made her a blues legend. In this musical, written for and starring Jackie Richardson – “Canada’s first lady of jazz” – you’ll be part of the scene at a ‘70s club in L.A., where Big Mama tells her story and sings the blues – which she once described as “nothing but life, good food, good times, and good sex.” Guaranteed to rock your soul.


by Dionne Brand
adapted from her book of poetry thirsty
directed by Peter Hinton
featuring the NAC English Theatre Company
NAC English Theatre Production
November 5 – 17, 2012
NAC Studio
World Premiere

In 1978, Alan, a Jamaican man, was killed in his Toronto home by police. Today, for the women in his life – his widow, daughter, and mother – the memory of the event still reverberates, fresh and raw. Winner of the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize and NAC Playwright in Residence, Dionne Brand evokes this heartbreaking experience based on her lyrical poem, thirsty. Her gripping adaptation for the stage adds a new dimension to this story of loss, suffering, and abandonment, revealing the scars left on the family and society. Cultural confrontation turns into tragedy, captured in the victim’s dying word: “thirsty”.
The Edward Curtis Project
written and directed by Marie Clements
based on the original production commissioned and produced by 
Presentation House Theatre (Vancouver, B.C.)
NAC English Theatre/Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) co-production
January 30 – February 20, 2012
This production will be staged at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, home of the GCTC,
1233 Wellington Street West (at Holland), Ottawa.

In 1930, photographer Edward Curtis’ landmark series, The North American Indian, recorded for posterity what he termed a “vanishing people”. Decades later, Métis/Dené playwright Marie Clements and Canadian documentary photographer Rita Leistner went in search of those same First Nations people and communities. Their three-year journey has become a visually stunning, thought-provoking drama. Present-day Aboriginal journalist Angelina – traumatized by chronicling the freezing death of three Native children – interacts with Curtis’ photo images and the controversial man himself, questioning the ethics of her work and assessing the collateral damage of being a witness.

Edward Curtis Project Exhibit by Rita Leistner: The exquisite photographs created during the fieldwork of The Edward Curtis Project will be on display in the Lorraine Fritzi Yale Gallery, upper lobby of the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre.

Miss Caledonia
written and performed by Melody A. Johnson
musical arrangements by Alison Porter
directed by Rick Roberts and Aaron Willis
produced by Lunkamud in association with Tarragon Theatre (Toronto, ON)
(Toronto, ON)
May 14 - 25, 2013
NAC Studio

The year is 1955. Desperate to escape the chicory-pulling, stall-cleaning, hay-baling drudgery of life in RR#2 Caledonia, Peggy Ann Douglas has a plan. Following in the footsteps of starlets Debbie Reynolds and Lee Meriwether, Peggy Ann will simply become a movie star – and she will start her journey to the top by winning the local pageant. Can she sing, twirl and pivot her way into the judges’ hearts, or will shaky nerves and a “Puritanical Work Ethic” sabotage her efforts? Dora and Canadian Comedy Award winner Melody A. Johnson, along with the delightful accompaniment of Alison Porter on fiddle, will have you in the palm of her hand on her quest for the tiara in Miss Caledonia.


Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
directed by Dennis Garnhum
featuring the NAC English Theatre Company
NAC English Theatre/Theatre Calgary co-production
November 21 – December 8, 2012
NAC Theatre

Sanctuary Song
by Abigail Richardson-Schulte and Marjorie Chan
directed by Lynda Hill
produced by Theatre Direct (Toronto, ON)
NAC Presentation
February 16 - 18, 2013
NAC Studio
ages 6 +

True events inspired Sanctuary Song, an opera for young people about a 22-year friendship between Sydney, an Asian elephant, and her compassionate zookeeper, James. Follow Sydney’s journey from her abduction by poachers to liberty in a wildlife sanctuary. Unusual musical instruments and effects underscore this moving story and create an uplifting experience for the whole family.

Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories
directed by Sylvia Cloutier
in collaboration with
Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Mathew Nuqingaq, Miké Philip Fencker Thomsen, Vivi Sørensen, Beatrice Deer, Charlie Keelan, Terry Uyarak, Joey Ammak, and Jacky Qrunut
May 4 
NAC Studio
NAC Northern Scene presentation in association with NAC English Theatre 
ages 6 +

The Raven dances, the Raven sings, the Raven always has something to say. From the time Inuit lived a nomadic life, the Raven has inhabited the imagination and cultures of Nunavut, Nunavik, and Greenland. Exploring Inuit stories from across the Eastern Arctic through dance, music, circus, theatre and storytelling, Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories is a unique and insightful show for young and old alike.

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