Now We’re Talking! NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley Opens the Conversation on the 2017/18 Theatre Season

Reviewed by Capital Critics Circle

March 6, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) – From adaptations of classic novels, to powerful stories told in various musical styles, to real-life events brought to the national stage with stunning visuals, the 2017/18 NAC English Theatre season offers a wide array of experiences fostering meaningful exchange between audiences and artists.

There is nothing better than good conversation. Over a cup of tea, over a drink, over the supper table, I love the tennis match of argument and learning that comes from hearing and responding to someone else’s point of view,” said Jillian Keiley, NAC English Theatre Artistic Director. “This season delivers great sparks to ignite conversation, with provocative productions selected to fuel impassioned dialogue and the exchange of ideas.”

The Theatre Series kicks off the season with a raucous and stirring musical spin on Pushkin and Tchaikovsky’s Onegin, courtesy of Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille. Next is Gateway Theatre’s hilarious play within a play, King of the Yees by Lauren Yee. The New Year sees the return of stage wizard Robert Lepage to the NAC, appearing in English in his autobiographical masterpiece 887, followed by David Yee’s powerful Governor General’s Award-winning drama inspired by the 2004 tsunami, carried away on the crest of a wave, under the direction of Siminovitch Prize laureate Kim Collier in her NAC mainstage debut. The series closes with Janet Irwin’s adaptation of Brian Doyle’s beloved Ottawa story of a young boy’s journey to manhood, Up to Low.

The Studio Series delivers a wide arrange of storytelling beginning with the world premiere of Drew Hayden Taylor’s provocative comedy Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion, which tells the story of two best friends from the reserve who go on a mission to steal the bones of Sir John A. Macdonald, as leverage against a museum that is holding a family’s sacred First Nations objects. Next up is Mr. Shi and His Lover, an exquisite theatre-opera performance about a diplomat and an opera star, a huge hit from the 2016 SummerWorks Festival in Toronto, sung in Mandarin with English surtitles. The Studio Series wraps up with Omari Newton’s critically-acclaimed Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy of, a fast-paced hip-hop theatre hybrid that follows the police shooting death of a DJ named Sammy.

In addition, for 2017/18 NAC English Theatre offers a wide variety of special presentations. Back by popular demand, A Christmas Carol arrives for the holidays with the one and only Andy Jones reprising his role of Ebenezer Scrooge. In February, Adam Lazarus’ highly provocative Daughter performs at the NAC for three nights, with audiences invited to stay in their seats following each performance to join in a lively debate on the play’s theme with a recognized expert in the field. For young audiences, SNAFU and the Snack Music Collective’s wonderfully creative Table Top Tales arrives in time for Family Day 2018. Finally, in the spring, English Theatre presents Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theatre’s extraordinary dance-theatre work Betroffenheit for a limited two-night run. Dates and locations for Daughter and Table Top Taleswill be announced later in the spring.

In addition to performances on the NAC stage, English Theatre takes to the road to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial with its hit 2013 production of Tartuffe, adapted by comedian Andy Jones and directed by Ms. Keiley, touring Newfoundland and Labrador in the fall of 2017.

We know you’ll be drawn in by our political, funny and courageous stories, and trust you’ll have lots to talk about long after the curtain goes down,” said Ms. Keiley.

THE COLLABORATIONS – YOUR NATIONAL THEATRE ACROSS THE COUNTRY

The NAC is propelled by the idea that all of Canada is our stage. The Collaborations responds by partnering with theatre companies across Canada, placing English Theatre resources in the hands of creators developing and premiering work in their home communities, and refining the work in venues across Canada and abroad.

NAC English Theatre’s The Collaborations, a vehicle through which Ms. Keiley and Associate Artistic Director Sarah Garton Stanley have worked tirelessly over the past five seasons to offer artistic, financial and dramaturgical support for the development of new Canadian work, continues to foster dialogue with artists and companies across the country and beyond. As in 2016/17, The Collaborations program continues to make its way onto the NAC stage, this time with Up to Low and Daughter, both of which received support from The Collaborations and are now presented as part of the 2017/18 season.

Sarah Garton Stanley: “When considering projects for The Collaborations I have to ask myself questions such as: What is unique, or entirely special about this piece? Is this idea a good match for our programming goals? And perhaps most importantly: Can our investment give this piece a better life?

NAC English Theatre is proud to be contributing to the development and growth of new Canadian works and ideas for the stage. For more information, visit https://nac-cna.ca/en/englishtheatre/collaboration.

NAC ENGLISH THEATRE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JILLIAN KEILEY

Ms. Keiley continues to be one of the busiest artists in Canadian theatre, recently directing a touring production of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams with Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland. After its highly successful January/February run at the NAC, the production moved to Halifax’s Neptune Theatre, followed by the Grand Theatre in London in March. This spring, Ms. Keiley heads back to Stratford where she will direct a production of Euripides’ Bakkhai, in a new adaptation by Anne Carson opening June 16 at Stratford’s Tom Patterson Theatre.

For 2017/18 Ms. Keiley has once again created a season that delivers the best stories from across Canada to the national stage.

2017/18 NAC ENGLISH THEATRE SUBSCRIPTIONS

  • World-class theatre packages starting at $20 per play.
  • Subscribers save 15% or more off regular ticket prices.
  • Find out more information at nac-cna.ca/englishtheatre

NAC English Theatre and The National Arts Centre Foundation extends a warm thank you to Dr. Kanta Marwah for establishing the Dr. Kanta Marwah Endowment for English Theatre, and to Jenepher Hooper Endowment for Theatre and the Jenepher Hooper Fund for Theatre. Special thanks to the members of the NAC Foundation Donors’ Circle and Corporate Circle who generously support English Theatre at the National Arts Centre and the National Youth and Education Trust. The Official Hotel Partner of NAC English Theatre, the Extended Stay Canada, Sun Life Financial, presenting partner of the NAC’s Share the Spirit program and Via Rail, Official Rail Partner. A thank you also to the Government of Canada for its support.

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