BC Scene

The arts and culture of British Columbia come to Ottawa/Gatineau

April 21 to May 3, 2009

Media Centre

BC Scene is Here! Dazzling two-week celebration of B.C. artists begins tomorrow in Ottawa-Gatineau

Monday, April 20, 2009

OTTAWA (Canada) - BC Scene, the largest gathering of British Columbia artists ever presented outside the province, officially kicks-off its two-week run tomorrow with SWARM, a unique multimedia tour de force that is part visual art installations, part interactive theatre, part performance art and part wine-tasting, featuring 11 exhibits profiling the work of 60 B.C. artists. And it's FREE!

BC Scene, the National Arts Centre's dazzling multi-disciplinary arts festival, takes place in Ottawa-Gatineau from April 21 to May 3, 2009. It features 600 artists from disciplines as varied as music, theatre, dance, visual and media arts, literature and culinary arts in more than 30 venues around the National Capital Region.

For full programming and ticket details, visit the festival calendar

BC Scene unofficially kicks off tonight with an event hosted by Their Excellencies, The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada and Mr. Jean-Daniel Lafond. Called Art Matters, this free public forum explores the following theme: How do the Arts sustain our communities? (April 20, NAC's Le Salon, 19:00 - 21:00)

On Tuesday, April 21, visitors to SWARM will be able to board a shuttle from 18:00 to 21:00 and stop at local art galleries and experience the works of some of B.C.'s finest visual and media artists. A massive party kicks off at the National Arts Centre at 21:00 with mind-opening interactive theatre, a DJ spinning the latest in Vancouver's electronic music scene, outdoor and indoor public art installations as well as Ha spectacular live performance art piece by Rebecca Belmore.

The festival continues on April 22 with a traditional ceremony to welcome First Nations artists from British Columbia into the National Capital Region for BC Scene festivities. Taking part in the event will be various First Nations artists and dignitaries such as Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Chief Jim Hart, who created a totem pole (provided by the Canada Council Art Bank) that will reside in the NAC lobby throughout BC Scene. The ceremony will be followed with a concert by Sandy Scofield and Fara Palmer, two of B.C.'s top contemporary First Nations musicians (April 22, NAC Fourth Stage, 19:30).

Visitors to downtown Ottawa will notice another massive art installation that will transform the West façade of the Government Conference Centre into a Northwest Coast ceremonial house. Using high-powered lighting, Marianne Nicolson will project the vision of a house front and totem poles on the Government Conference Centre façade from dusk to 23:00 every night.

And that's just the beginning. Here are more highlights for the first week of BC Scene:


Don't miss the world premiere work by award-winning Vancouver-based dancer-choreographer Crystal Pite and her dance company Kidd Pivot (April 24-25, NAC Theatre, 19:30).


Headlines Theatre presents 2° of fear and desire (April 22, Club SAW, 20:00) a theatrical inquiry into climate change with no play, no actors and no script. This is theatre without a net.

Theatre Replacement's BIOBOXES is a collection of six bilingual, one-on-one performances that take place in a most intimate theatre - a box worn on the actor's shoulders (April 22, 23, 24 (12:00 - 14:15 and 17:30 - 19:45) April 25 (13:30 - 15:45 and 18:00 - 20:15, Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre (GCTC)).

Théâtre la Seizième presents a brand new adaptation of B.C. playwright James Long's apocalyptic drama, La Vue d'en Haut (The View from Above) directed by Ottawa's own Craig Holzschuh (April 22 - 25, La Nouvelle Scène, 20:00).

A hilarious self-improvement seminar that takes you literally into another world, Radix Theatre's Assembly confronts the desire for unity in an increasingly divided world, sharing the secret to becoming whole as things gradually fall apart (April 24 - 25 at 20:00 and April 25 at 14:00).


Time to get down and dirty with some Vancouver punk - NoMeansNo - and some metal - BISON b.c. (April 21, babylon, 20:30).

BC Scene joins forces with CBC Radio to present an intimate concert featuring Dan Mangan and Danny Michel, two artists who are skyrocketing on the Canadian music scene (April 22, First Baptist Church Ottawa, 20:00).

The Borealis String Quartet, a young, energetic classical ensemble made up of Patricia Shih, violin; Yuel Yawney, violin; Nikita Pogrebnoy, viola; Shi-Lin Chen, cello (April 24, National Gallery of Canada, Rideau Chapel, Noon).

Les Vendredis de la chanson francophone features a multi-talented song circle comprised of B.C.'s most vibrant singers and songwriters from the Francophone arts community, including Josée Allard, Danielle Hébert and Saint-Pierre.(April 24, MIFO, 20:00).

Master of ritmos brasilieros, virtuoso guitarist, and an incredible percussionist, Celso Machado performs with his subtle mixture of musical inspiration, irresistible rhythm and inspired lunacy (April 25, Glebe Community Centre, 13:00 (free) and April 26, Blacksheep, 16:00).

Don't miss psychedelic tunes from Black Mountain, the haunting sounds of indie quartet Ladyhawk, and the blues-rock dynamic duo The Pack A.D. (April 24, Capital Music Hall, 20:00).

Alternative country meets rockabilly when Carolyn Mark and Cousin Harley hit the stage (April 24, Blacksheep, 21:00).

If you've got a thing for beer and hockey, you'll feel right at home with Vancouver punk rockers The Hanson Brothers (April 24, Maverick's, 22:00).

Hey Ocean! ,one of Canada's best up-and-coming acts, blends various musical styles into a brand of infectious pop that is all their own (with Said the Whale, April 25, Zaphod Beeblebrox, 20:30).

Ottawa's own John Geggie and Vancouver-raised tenor saxophonist and composer Seamus Blake, will perform as part of the eighth consecutive season of Geggie's ongoing concert series (April 25, NAC Fourth Stage, 20:00).

Sweatshop Union with DJ Timothy Wisdom promises an evening of powerful hip hop in its old-school form, with intelligent lyrics delivered by multiple MCs over simple-yet inventive beats. (April 25, babylon, 20:00).

Join two of Canada's finest roots-based musicians Veda Hille and Penny Lang for a wonderful evening of music (April 26, Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, 20:00).

The acclaimed musicians of the Orchid Ensemble join forces with choreographer/dancers Chengxin Wei and Jessica Jone of Moving Dragon to perform an exquisite blend of dance, music and multimedia (April 28, NAC Studio, 20:00).


Kinnie Starr/Tons of Fun University a.k.a T.O.F.U. blur the lines between poetry and music, Shane Koyczan, C.R. Avery, Mike McGee and Kinnie Starr will reveal a whole new take on poetry (April 23, NAC Fourth Stage, 20:00).

Hosted by Sal Ferreras and his band Poetic License, the Literary Cabaret is an intimate evening set to music with some of B.C.'s greatest writers, including novelist and playwright Anosh Irani, novelist and short story writer Shaena Lambert, Steven Galloway author of The Cellist of Sarajevo, and Shane Koyczan, writer, poet and one of the world's premier spoken word performers (April 24, NAC Fourth Stage, 20:00).


Renowned B.C. chef Robert Clark, executive Chef of Vancouver's award-winning C Restaurant, joins the NAC's new executive chef Michael Blackie for an evening great food, great fish and eating responsibly (April 23, NAC Le Salon, 19:00).


In partnership with the National Film Board of Canada, BC Scene presents NFB GREEN SCREENS, two thought-provoking B.C. films shot in Vancouver (April 23, Club SAW, 20:00).

There are incredible visual and media arts exhibits going on throughout BC Scene at the following galleries locally and on the West Coast: AXENÉO7, Canada Council Art Bank, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Carleton University Art Gallery, City Hall Art Gallery, Club SAW, DAÏMÕN, Firestone Gallery, Gallery 101, National Film Board of Canada, National Gallery of Canada, The Ottawa Art Gallery, PAARC - Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres, SAW Gallery, SAW Video, Vancouver Art Gallery and Vancouver International Film Festival. For more information, visit bcscene.ca.

Canadians from coast-to-coast and beyond can take part in the excitement of BC Scene by tuning in to their public broadcaster during the festival, as it will feature live recordings and interviews on CBC Radio One, CBC Radio 2, online at cbcradio3.com and CBC Television, as well as on Radio-Canada's Espace musique. CBC Radio will record and broadcast artists such as Dan Mangan, Danny Michel, Carolyn Mark, Cousin Harley, Black Mountain, Ladyhawk,, music intima, François Houle, Simone Osborne, Jon Kimura Parker and James Parker. CBC Radio One's daily arts show Q, with host Jian Ghomeshi will also broadcast a special BC Scene program from Ottawa on April 24.

BC Scene Presenters' Program

Among those in attendance for this unique showcase of B.C. artists will be more than 60 Canadian and international presenters - producers, buyers, or talent scouts - to discover B.C. talent and bring it back to their own audiences. The BC Scene Presenters' Program, made possible by Western Economic Diversification Canada, helps emerging and established artists further their careers by inviting domestic and international arts presenters to attend BC Scene and seek out new talent and touring productions for audiences beyond the festival. So far, representatives from Canada, China, Singapore, Taiwan, the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom have confirmed their attendance.


BC Scene would like to thank the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts for their generous support of this event.

The National Arts Centre and National Arts Centre Foundation gratefully acknowledge the support of Presenting Partner Plasco Energy Group, Special Partners The Radcliffe Foundation, The Audain Foundation, Martha Lou Henley, Milton and Fei Wong and Dr. Donald B. Rix. Acknowledgment is also extended to Major Partners Enbridge Inc. and Hy's Steakhouse and Cockail Bar, as well as Supporting Partners Anndraya T. Luui, Canwest, HSBC Bank Canada, Holiday Inn and Screen Siren Pictures. BC Scene Media Partners include CBC/Radio-Canada, National Post, Vancouver Magazine and Western Living, Ottawa Citizen, LeDroit, and the Vancouver Sun.

The NAC Foundation also extends a warm thank you to the B.C. Strategy Council and Friends, a committed group of individuals whose leadership, support and guidance are key to the success of BC Scene. The B.C. Strategy Council and Friends is led by Honorary Chairs Milton and Fei Wong, Chair Donald B. Rix and includes David Aisenstat, Michael Audain Foundation, Shirley Barnett, Peter Bentley, Eric Charman, Robert Fairweather, Moh and Yulanda Faris, Martha Lou Henley, Joanne Louie Mah, Anndraya T. Luui, Radcliffe Foundation, Scott Shepherd, Donald Shumka, Kathleen Speakman.

Tickets and Music Pass

To buy tickets in person, visit the NAC Box Office at 53 Elgin, or go online.

New to BC Scene - the Music Pass. For only $50, festival-goers can enjoy six performances from any of the many designated "pass" events, identified with a six for $50 icon. Superb value, the pass makes it easy to see a wide range of music performances over the course of the festival. With 30 events to choose from, it may be difficult to buy only one pass. Passes are available at the NAC Box office and can be redeemed for tickets beforehand or at the performance venue on the night. Tickets are subject to availability.

To receive programming updates about BC Scene, please subscribe to the BC Scene email list.


Media Contacts

Laura Denker
LOF Communications
(613) 299-8844
(613) 747-5949

Carl Martin
Communications, NAC
(613) 947-7000, ext. 560
Cell : (613) 291-8880

About the Scene

Imagine 600 artists from B.C. representing all disciplines, performing in the national spotlight on the stages of Ottawa/Gatineau: that's BC Scene, presented by the National Arts Centre, spring 2009.

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