THE SHOVEL | NAC English Theater appoints Nina Lee Aquino as Artistic Director

Canada’s National Arts Center (NAC) has appointed Nina Lee Aquino as Artistic Director of the NAC English Theater, effective August 29, 2022.

Aquino will replace outgoing artistic director Jillian Keiley who has served for the past decade. As Keiley finished his tenure as artistic director last summer, the search for a replacement took just four months.

What they say :

“We are delighted to welcome Nina Lee Aquino, a leading figure in Canadian theater who has pushed to her limits throughout her career. Nina is a leader in the development of new plays, a champion of writers and a beacon for emerging theater talent. As one of the best female directors in the country, 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 and inspiring artist at the peak of her abilities. – Christophe Deacon, President and CEO of the NAC.

“The NAC I dream of is a creative catalyst for change and transformation. It is the place where artists and the public constantly question and explore what is Canada’s place in the world and what is the place of the rest of the world in Canada. I look forward to nurturing and serving a multitude of Canadian stories; adopt new theatrical forms turned towards the future; harness the creative potential that new technologies have to offer and stay fearless in reimagining our classics and deconstructing our traditional ways of telling stories. – Nina Lee Aquino, new artistic director of the NAC English Theater.

Nina Lee Aquino career dashboard

  • Nina Lee Aquino is an award-winning Filipino-Canadian director and playwright who has advocated for the representation and development of IBPoC voices in Canadian theater.
  • Factory Theater thanks Aquino for helping launch the careers of over 100 of Canada’s top performers, transforming the Canadian theater landscape.
  • She was the founding artistic director of the fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theater Company and former artistic director of the Cahoots Theater.
  • In addition to being the founding artistic director of the Asian-Canadian theater company fu-GEN, Nina Lee Aquino is credited with a series of premieres in Asian-Canadian theater: she organized the first Asian-Canadian theater conference; she edited the first Asian-Canadian theater anthology (two volumes) and co-edited the first (award-winning) book on Asian-Canadian theater.
  • After the March 2020 pandemic shutdown, Nina embraced the new digital theater medium, commissioning and directing new digital and audio theatrical works at Factory and with post-secondary institutions and festivals.
  • She was also the 2019 recipient of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Margo Bindhart Prize.

Why is this important

Operating under the aegis of the National Arts Center in Ottawa, the NAC English Theater Company has a tumultuous history spanning nearly 50 years. It attracts over 20 comedians from across the country to work on several productions each season at the NAC.

Aquino will mark a new leadership after radical innovations that included a more culturally diverse repertoire as well as greater equity between theatrical forms.

The NAC English Theater reopens in 2022 with The last epistle of the time of the tightrope February 1, 2022.


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Michel vincent
Latest articles by Michael Vincent (see everything)
Michel vincent
Latest articles by Michael Vincent (see everything)

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