The National Arts Centre's biennial multidisciplinary festivals regionally celebrating Canada's arts scene will come to a close in 2017 with an ambitious, six-week festival spotlighting arts and culture from across the whole country.

Canada Scene will showcase more than 1,000 artists and take place June 15 to July 30, 2017, the NAC said Wednesday as part of an initial announcement of programming for 2017 and to mark Canada's 150th birthday.

The NAC kicked off its biennial festival series with Atlantic Scene back in 2003. Ottawa hosted a massive, weeks-long event that showcased the music, theatre, visual arts, dance, film, comedy, literature and culinary arts of the Maritime provinces. The event exposed both established and emerging artists to new audiences both at home and abroad.

Subsequent editions showcased the arts and culture of different regions: Alberta, Quebec, B.C., the Prairies, the North and Ontario.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie is one of the performers slated to play the NAC in 2017. (Trevor Brady)

Highlights of the upcoming Canada Scene include: 

  • a new production of Harry Somers' opera Louis Riel, co-produced with the Canadian Opera Company.
  • an Oscar Peterson tribute concert, featuring friends and admirers such as Oliver Jones, Robi Botos and John Kimura Parker.
  • concerts by Buffy Sainte-Marie and Rufus Wainwright.
  • Cuisine & Confessions, a cooking and storytelling show by Montreal circus collective Les 7 doigts de la main.

Further programming details will be revealed in the spring.

To celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial, the NAC also plans:

  • to take the NAC Orchestra on the road for a tour.
  • to debut the new play Gabriel Dumont's Wild West Show, featuring French, English, First Nations and Métis artist.
  • to debut the new dance production Encounte3rs, a landmark commission that pairs three Canadian choreographers (Emily Molnar, Jean Grand-Maître and Guillaume Côté) with three composers (Nicole Lizée, Andrew Staniland and Kevin Lau) to create three brand new, one-act ballets featuring original scores.
  • a special 25th-anniversary edition of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards gala.
  • the grand re-opening of the NAC building on Canada Day, following a $110.5 million architectural renovation.

"In 2017, the NAC will perform for Canadians in their communities and then bring back their stories and artists to our national stage here in the Nation's Capital," NAC president Peter Herrndorf said in a statement.


The National Arts Centre will host the grand re-opening of its revamped building on Canada Day, following a $110.5 million architectural rejuvenation. (NAC)