Two new donations totalling $3.5 million announced by NAC

The National Arts Centre Foundation has announced two donations totalling $3.5 million that will go towards the creation of new performing arts works, education programs in theatre and the new Indigenous Theatre Department.

The donations come from John and Jennifer Ruddy, of Ottawa, and the estate of the late Jenepher Hooper.

The Ruddys have pledged $1 million to the NAC’s Creation Fund which is designed to help underwrite Canadian artists working in music, theatre and dance and take their work to the international stage. The fund has surpassed, in terms of pledges, its $25 million target. The fund was announced last fall. In November 2017, the fund is expected to begin handing out investments.

“John and Jennifer Ruddy are among Ottawa’s most generous citizens”, said Jayne Watson, CEO of the NAC Foundation in a media release. “John’s company Trinity Development has also been a long time sponsor of many initiatives at the NAC.”

The NAC Foundation will name its donor lounge in the main NAC foyer, the Ruddy Lounge.

The estate of Jenepher Hooper will be giving $2.5 million to support education programs in the French and English theatre departments. As well some of the donation will go towards the new Indigenous Theatre Department which will present its first season in 2019. The first artistic director of the new department is expected to be chosen as early as this June.

Hooper, who was a props maker and a set designer, worked in the NAC Prop Shop in the 1970s. The Shop will now carry her name.

“Ms. Hooper’s backstage contribution as a valued member of the NAC’s production team is now matched by her amazing legacy gift,” said Peter Herrndorf, NAC president and CEO, in the same release. “To receive this type of planned gift is a great vote of confidence in the future of the NAC.”

The NAC Foundation says that it expects to be making more announcements of donations to the creation fund and more namings in coming months.

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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.