women of colour national arts centre innovators and icons


National Arts Centre and SHIFTER are spotlighting Canadian women of colour in live performance with its first ever Innovators and Icons lists.

One of the criticisms of the Canadian entertainment industry is that we haven’t always done a great job of celebrating and launching our homegrown talent; especially people of colour. Well, the National Arts Centre, Canada’s national performing arts institution, is stepping up to do its part.

As Canada’s stage, the NAC is partnering with SHIFTER to spotlight Canadian women of colour in live performance with its first ever Innovators & Icons lists. As a part of this groundbreaking article series, every month the NAC and SHIFTER will be honouring Canadian women of colour who align with the NAC’s various disciplines―Popular Music & Variety, Dance, Indigenous Theatre, English Theatre, French Theatre, and Orchestra.

These women are not only stellar live performers, representing the geographical and ethnic diversity of Canada, but they are pushing the envelope and breaking barriers in their craft, on the way to becoming Canada’s future stars.

The series begins in September as we honour women of colour in Popular Music & Variety, including music and comedy.

For the NAC, the partnership marked an opportunity to not only celebrate a creative demographic that are often overlooked, but to expand the scope of who the NAC typically honours.

“We’re thrilled about this partnership and, more importantly, this showcase. As one of many initiatives we’re working on, It embodies our ongoing, accelerated and organization-wide efforts to support artists across our country.” Kondwani Mwase, Executive Director of Audience Engagement.

Rose-Ingrid Benjamin, Community Connection Lead, continues, “It’s truly an honour to be able to put Women of Colour who are creating and performing on Turtle Island in the spotlight. There is such a breadth of talent, coast to coast, and we want to play a role in leveraging our platform to shine a light on these artists. This partnership will be one of many endeavours highlighting, supporting and investing in diverse performers and creators here at the NAC. “

For SHIFTER, this is an opportunity to build on our previous work of elevating BIPOC creators on a national level by partnering with a national platform like the National Arts Centre.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to get BIPOC performers plugged into the NAC and to help them to gain more national recognition here in Canada, especially our women”, says SHIFTER editor-in-chief, Kevin Bourne. “It’s important that we not only celebrate our innovative and groundbreaking talent, but to put them on the radar of Canadians from coast to coast.”

To follow the latest Innovators & Icons content visit shiftermagazine.com/innovators-and-icons-2022.