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The English Theatre Line-up for 2012-2013 Season at the NAC

At 6pm today, Canada’s National Arts Centre announced the line-up for English Theatre’s upcoming season. I was particularly curious to see what this year would hold because it’s Peter Hinton’s last season. Love’em or hate’em, one thing everyone can agree on is that Peter Hinton, as Director of the English Theatre program since 2005, really shook things up. Sure, I didn’t enjoy all of his choices, but he certainly made a mark and I love that he re-established a resident company of actors. I, for one, will miss him.

NAC English theatre artistic director Peter Hinton will step down in August 2012.

Peter Hinton, Director of NAC's English Theatre Program

Source: NAC. Photo credit: Dwayne Brown.

I took a look at the line-up for the year ahead and there are a number of performances I’ve earmarked as must-squeeze-into-crazy-family-calendar-worthy. (Note: the descriptions below are directly pulled from the NAC news release.)

So these are my picks …

Pride and Prejudice (November 21 – December 8, 2012)

The romantic world of Regency England is brought to vivid life in this sparkling new adaptation of Jane Austen’s classical masterpiece about love, family, and the politics of marriage. When the independent minded Elizabeth Bennet meets the enigmatic Mr. Darcy, her opinions on marriage are profoundly tested. Can he overcome his pride and she her prejudice to make an ideal match in a society where social standing outweighs personal feeling? You’ll delight in watching the sparks fly. An enchanting theatre experience leading up to the holidays.

Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott (February 27 – March 16, 2013)

Clinton, Ontario, 1959. Fourteen-year-old Steven Truscott was sentenced to death for the murder of his 12-year-old classmate Lynne Harper. Maintaining his innocence throughout, his conviction was overturned in 2007. Now, Beverley Cooper re-examines the case, turning it into a theatrical experience with trial transcripts and interviews woven into the fabric of her drama. Ten people from the community are under pressure to arrive at the truth, including Steven’s friend Sarah, a young farm girl who could see his innocence. Many years later, as if in an epiphany, Sarah finally escapes the prison of her doubts and reclaims the innocence lost so long ago.

Big Mama! The Willie Mae Thornton Story (April 24 – May 11, 2013)

Jackie Richardson stars in Big Mama!

Source: NAC. Photo credit: Unknown.

Before Elvis sang “Hound Dog” and Janis Joplin belted out “Ball & Chain”, Willie Mae Thornton had already been there and done that. Her powerful voice, sexy songs, and larger-than-life stage presence made her a blues legend. In this musical, written for and starring Jackie Richardson – “Canada’s first lady of jazz” – you’ll be part of the scene at a ‘70s club in L.A., where Big Mama tells her story and sings the blues – which she once described as “nothing but life, good food, good times, and good sex.” Guaranteed to rock your soul.

The Edward Curtis Project (January 30 – February 20, 2012)

In 1930, photographer Edward Curtis’ landmark series, The North American Indian, recorded for posterity what he termed a “vanishing people”. Decades later, Métis/Dené playwright Marie Clements and Canadian documentary photographer Rita Leistner went in search of those same First Nations people and communities. Their three-year journey has become a visually stunning, thought-provoking drama. Present-day Aboriginal journalist Angelina – traumatized by chronicling the freezing death of three Native children – interacts with Curtis’ photo images and the controversial man himself, questioning the ethics of her work and assessing the collateral damage of being a witness.

The exquisite photographs created during the fieldwork of The Edward Curtis Project will be on display in the Lorraine Fritzi Yale Gallery, upper lobby of the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre.

Family Programming – Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories (May 4, 2013)

The White Raven in Tulugak

Source: NAC. Photo credit: Ed Maruyama.

The Raven dances, the Raven sings, the Raven always has something to say. From the time Inuit lived a nomadic life, the Raven has inhabited the imagination and cultures of Nunavut, Nunavik, and Greenland. Exploring Inuit stories from across the Eastern Arctic through dance, music, circus, theatre and storytelling, Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories is a unique and insightful show for young and old alike. (For ages 6 +)

What do you think? Do any of these performances catch your fancy?

Disclosure: Although the NAC has purchased an ad space on this blog, I am not in any way required to write about the NAC in my content as part of our relationship. I am just a big fan of theatre and enjoy supporting our arts communities.


  1. The Steven Truscott story would be interesting to see.  I am excited that Wicked is returning to the NAC this summer. It is one of my all time favorite musicals!

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