As part of its mission to be a truly “national” arts centre, the National Arts Centre produces a series of biennial festivals designed to showcase the artistic talents and culture of the many different regions of Canada.
The instant and resounding success of the first of these festivals, the Atlantic Scene in 2003, demonstrated the importance of this innovative multidisciplinary cultural festival format. Performers such as Natalie MacMaster, comedian Rick Mercer, Buck 65 and Marie-Jo Thério, opera singer Measha Breuggergosman and visual artist Christopher Pratt were just some of the more than 500 artists presented in the Atlantic Scene’s 85 events.
Two years later it was Alberta’s turn. The Alberta Scene featured more than 600 artists in 95 events from April 28 to May 10, 2007, the largest celebration of Alberta culture ever held inside or outside the province. The Alberta Scene opened with Filumena – the dazzling opera by John Estacio, with lyrics by John Murrell – and then switched gears to present breathtaking performances by alt-country singer Corb Lund, punk-rockers SNFU, blues musician Amos Garrett, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and Alberta Ballet, works by visuals artists David Hoffos and Janet Cardiff as well as chef Ned Bell.
These Alberta artists showcased their work not only for the public, but for a group of key international arts presenters and buyers. During Alberta Scene, more than 85 presenters from 13 different countries – among them the USA, France, Britain, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and Korea – were introduced to the impressive artistic line-up, discovering new talent to be featured across Canada and around the world.
To make festivals such as the Atlantic and Alberta Scenes a reality, the National Arts Centre collaborates with more than 70 public, corporate, artistic and individual partners. Extensive media coverage, both print and electronic, ensures that news of the Scenes and their artists crosses the country. Daily and weekly newspapers and magazines published close to 300 articles on Alberta Scene, reaching over five million readers; radio coverage totalled 36 hours and television four, for another seven million listeners and viewers. In all, a truly national impact.
Building on the momentum of these two successful events, the National Arts Centre is turning to Quebec. From April 20 to May 5, 2007, 700 artists from Quebec will take over the arts and culture scene in the Ottawa/Gatineau region in a 16-day festival featuring over 100 different events. The National Arts Centre is inviting Quebec’s most dynamic artists to create a portrait of the province’s cultural diversity at the beginning of the 21st century. Musicians, actors, dancers, visual and media artists, writers, acrobats, storytellers and master chefs will come together for a festival that showcases and above all celebrates a region.
Quebec artists will take over more than 25 performance and gallery spaces in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, including the four stages at the National Arts Centre, the Maison de la Culture in Gatineau, museums and galleries, theatres and concert halls, clubs, bars and restaurants. The Quebec Scene will offer an incredible snapshot of Quebec culture – diverse, unique, vibrant and passionate.