History of the Scene
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, 2005, the largest celebration of Alberta culture ever held inside or outside the province. The 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.
And in 2007 it was Quebec’s turn. The Quebec Scene featured more than 700 artists from every discipline, including n exciting mix of new works, some co-produced by the festival: A little tenderness for crying out loud! by choreographer Dave St-Pierre, Norman, produced by 4D art, Les Entrailles by Claude Gauvreau, produced by Théâtre La Catapulte, the nomadic theatre experience of Welcome to… (a city where you are a tourist) by Olivier Choinière, and the commission of Making Real, a major visual and media arts exhibition that explores the artist’s relationship to reality.
To make festivals such as the Atlantic, Alberta and Quebec 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 three successful events, the National Arts Centre is turning to B.C. From April 21 to May 3, 2009, 600 artists from B.C. will take over the arts and culture scene in the National Capital region in a 13-day festival featuring over 90 different events. The National Arts Centre is inviting B.C.’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, storytellers and master chefs will come together for a festival that showcases and above all celebrates a region.