Canada’s National Arts Centre (NAC) has named Nina Lee Aquino as Artistic Director of NAC English Theatre, effective August 29, 2022.
Aquino will replace outgoing Artistic Director Jillian Keiley who has served for the past decade. With Keiley wrapping up her tenure as Artistic Director last summer, the search was for a replacement took just four months.
What they’re saying:
“We’re delighted to welcome Nina Lee Aquino, a leading figure in Canadian theatre who has pushed its boundaries throughout her career. Nina is a leader in developing new plays, a champion of writers, and a guiding light for emerging theatre talent. As one of the country’s finest directors, Nina has directed countless memorable productions and used her platform to create space for diverse voices on Canadian stages. The NAC is fortunate to be able to welcome this extraordinary artist and inspirer at the peak of her powers.” — Christopher Deacon, President and CEO of the NAC.
“The NAC that I dream of is a creative catalyst for change and transformation. It is the place where artists and audiences constantly interrogate and explore what Canada’s place is in the world and what the rest of the world’s place is in Canada. I’m looking forward to nurturing and serving a multitude of Canadian stories; embracing new, future-facing theatrical forms; harnessing the creative potential that new technology has to offer and remaining fearless in reimagining our classics and deconstructing our traditional ways of storytelling.” — Nina Lee Aquino, incoming Artistic Director of NAC English Theatre.
Nina Lee Aquino career scorecard
- Nina Lee Aquino is an award-winning Filipino-Canadian director and dramaturg who has advocated for the representation and flourishing of IBPoC voices in Canadian theatre.
- Factory Theatre credits Aquino for helping to launch the careers of more than 100 of Canada’s finest artists, transforming the landscape of Canadian theatre.
- She was the Founding Artistic Director of fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company and former Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre.
- In addition to serving as the Founding Artistic Director of fu-GEN Asian Canadian theatre company, Nina Lee Aquino is credited with a string of firsts in Asian Canadian theatre: she organized the first Asian Canadian theatre conference; she edited the first (two-volume) Asian Canadian play anthology, and she co-edited the first (award-winning) book on Asian Canadian theatre.
- Following the March 2020 pandemic shutdown, Nina embraced the new digital theatre medium, commissioning and directing new digital and audio theatrical works at Factory and with post-secondary institutions and festivals.
- She was also the 2019 winner of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Margo Bindhart.
Why it matters
Operating under the umbrella of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the NAC English Theatre Company has a tumultuous history spanning nearly 50 years. It attracts more than 20 actors from across the country to work on multiple productions each season at the NAC.
Aquino will mark new leadership after radical innovations which included a more culturally diverse repertoire as well as more equity between theatrical forms.
The NAC English Theatre re-opens in 2022 with The Last Epistle Of Tightrope Time Feb. 1, 2022.
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