NAC English Theatre to partner with Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop

Montreal's Black Theatre Workshop will be partnering with the NAC English Theatre to produce works on NAC stages.

This is a brave and important step taken by the NAC’s English Theatre.

Here is some of the announcement:

The National Arts Centre English Theatre, in partnership with Black Theatre Workshop, today announced an unprecedented shared curation model for the national stage. NAC English Theatre has committed to the annual appointment of a Co-Curation Company in Residence, beginning in the 2021-22 season with the invitation to a Black-mandated theatre organization to envision their mandate through a national lens.

As the inaugural Co-Curating Company in Residence, Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) will have agency over half of English Theatre’s programming resources for the 2021-22 season. Black Theatre Workshop, the oldest Black theatre company in Canada, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, will have the opportunity to envision its mandate of fostering and showcasing Black Canadian art and artists on a national scale.

“It has been the greatest gift to curate works for the national stage and our beloved NAC audiences. While our team has used that gift, that agency, to bring diverse works to our audience, we recognize that this is not enough,” said NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley. “The next logical step is to apply the same pluralist principle to our leadership and curation structure. We have the platform, and we have the talent to stand on it. I’m very proud to partner with Black Theatre Workshop in this endeavor. The artists they engage, the history of the company and the great artistic works that our audiences have seen in previous seasons from BTW sets us up for a great year to come.”

“We are thrilled to be invited by NAC English Theatre to play a major role in helping shape the programming for our national stage,” Black Theatre Workshop Artistic Director Quincy Armorer said. “This is the time for Black stories to be seen and heard on all stages across the country. We need these stories now more than ever, and this shared curation model affords us the chance to expand the BTW mandate, providing more opportunities to Black artists and bringing even more stories from Black communities to Canadian audiences.”

In addition, the Montreal-based Black Theatre Workshop will participate in the process of identifying the next Co-Curating Company for the 2022-23 season.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.