Prairie Scene

The largest gathering of Manitoba and Saskatchewan artists ever presented outside the Prairies!

April 26 to May 8, 2011

Media Centre

NAC unveils full artist Prairie Scene lineup

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tickets now on sale for 80 events featuring 500 artists

OTTAWA— Canada’s National Arts Centre (NAC) has announced the full programming details of Prairie Scene, an eclectic, multi-disciplinary arts festival featuring 500 of the best established and emerging artists from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Prairie Scene will present 80 different music, theatre, dance, visual and media arts, literature, film and culinary arts events in more than 30 venues in Ottawa-Gatineau from April 26 to May 8, 2011. To download the complete festival brochure, visit

Prairie Scene is the largest gathering of Prairie artists ever assembled outside of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, andis the fifth in a series of national festivals produced by the NAC that showcases the wealth of arts and culture in different regions of the country. Previous festivals include Atlantic Scene (2003), Alberta Scene (2005), Quebec Scene (2007) and BC Scene (2009).

Prairie Scene will feature established artists such as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Wanda Koop, Colin James, Chic Gamine, Guy Maddin, James Ehnes, Brent Butt, The Wailin’ Jennys, Wide Mouth Mason and Bachman & Turner. Prairie Scene also gives audiences the chance to discover up-and-coming artists who are making an impact on the Saskatchewan and Manitoba arts scene, including singer-songwriter JP Hoe, ethereal electro-pop siren Nadia Gaudet, choreographers Johanna Bundon and Freya Björg Olafson, and sound artist Jeff Morton.  Prairie Scene will inspire and entertain audiences with the huge wealth of artistic talent that is alive and well in Canada’s Prairie provinces.

Part of the goal of the Scene festivals is to propel the careers of artists by introducing them to well known presenters from all over the world.  Since 2003 the NAC has invited 314 presenters from 27 countries to the Scene festivals to discover and book new talent, which has resulted in over 275 performance bookings and more than $1 million in fees for artists.  The Prairie Scene Presenters’ Program, which is made possible by Western Economic Diversification Canada, will host more than 60 national and international agents, presenters and talent scouts whose sole mission is to book new artists for their audiences.

Support for Prairie artists

° “MTS Allstream is proud to represent Manitoba as the Co-Presenting Partner of Prairie Scene,” said Kelvin Shepherd, President, MTS. “Prairie Scene is an incredible celebration of the remarkable artistic talent created in our home province and region.  People from across Canada will come together to discover the vibrant and diverse talent of our artists.” 

° “The National Arts Centre is very proud to be producing Prairie Scene and to act as a catalyst for the performing arts in Canada,” said NAC President and CEO Peter Herrndorf. “We offer a warm, open-arms welcome to the artists of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.”

° “It’s been such a privilege to produce Prairie Scene and dive into the incredibly strong and lively arts scenes in Manitoba and Saskatchewan,” said Heather Moore, Producer and Executive Director of Prairie Scene. “I’m delighted to be showcasing these artists on the national stage.”

° “We know we have wonderful artists here,” said the Hon. Greg Selinger, Premier of Manitoba. “This festival is a tremendous opportunity for artists to receive both national and international attention through the presenters program, and we wish them well as they walk on stage and receive the applause from the whole country.”

° “Prairie Scenewill showcase our remarkable artists, our province and our enviable quality of life,” said the Hon. Bill Hutchinson, Saskatchewan Minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport”Our investment in the festival is just another example of how the Government of Saskatchewan is implementing Pride of Saskatchewan, our new cultural policy.”

° “At PotashCorp, our travels provide us the opportunity to be ambassadors for our province; we proudly speak about Saskatchewan's talented people, our natural resources and the opportunities available,” said Bill Doyle, President and CEO of PotashCorp. ”We’re delighted to join the NAC in an initiative that will showcase our artists, and the rich artistic legacy of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, for Canada and all the world to enjoy.”;

° “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the National Arts Centre in this, our fifth Scene festival together,” said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. “CBC/Radio-Canada takes a lot of pride in the role it plays showcasing the huge talent that this country has to offer. And what better time to be doing this than as we prepare to mark the 75th anniversary of Canada's national public broadcaster.”


Prairie Scene’s multidisciplinary programming means a wide range of audiences will enjoy a tapestry of Prairie talent. There will be something for everyone, from the classics to the avant-garde, from family fare to the late-night club scene...


SWARM is the official kick-off event for Prairie Scene. Part gallery-crawl and part party, it’s a one-of-a-kind showcase for the festival’s performing and visual artists.

It begins at the NAC, where buses will shuttle SWARM-goers to 10 art galleries across the city featuring Prairie Scene exhibitions. At tour’s end, the buses return to the NAC for an opening-night party where the action in the Foyer will include:

° performances by Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers committing Random Acts of Dance by celebrated choreographer Robin Poitras;

° a performance by Winnipeg performance art group The Abzurbs

° a screening of the next, great, single-city anthology film I Heart Regina;

° performance artist Adrian Stimson’s exciting new work in which he dons his alternate identity as the outrageous Buffalo Boy;

° and at 11 p.m. the party continues at the SAW Gallery!

° At BC Scene in 2009, SWARM saw over 1,000 arts lovers come together for this fantastic event. Prairie Scene SWARM picks up where BC left off, and promises to be another unforgettable night.


° Acclaimed filmmaker Guy Maddin revisits his 1988 cult classic Tales from the Gimli Hospital and reframes it in a not-to-be missed world premiere on April 30. This unique multimedia experience includes a new score by Winnipeg composer Matthew Patton, performed live by members of Iceland’s amiina and múm; a live sound and special effects Foley team, and a special guest narrator to be announced. Tales from the Gimli Hospital: Reframed is a Prairie Scene commission with Performa, with the support of Manitoba Film and Music and The Winnipeg Foundation.


Prairie Scene includes a strong lineup of contemporary and traditional First Nations and Métis artists:

° Music programming includes the iconic Buffy Sainte-Marie, country singer Desiree Dorion, and hip hop artists Eekwol and Wab Kinew.  The Prairie Fiddle Showcase will feature Métis master fiddler John Arcand with Donny Parenteau, Ryan D’Aoust and Matthew Contois

° Canadian screen starGordon Tootoosis makes his long-awaited return to the stage in the provocative play Gordon Winter by Cree playwright Kenneth T. Williams;

° Visual artists Adrian Stimson, Edward Poitras, and Wally Dion bring their contemporary perspectives to the festival, and Gallery 101’s exhibition Pimâskweyâw examines the experience of Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan and Manitoba;

° Aboriginal writers Sandra Birdsell, Louise Bernice Halfe and Duncan Mercredi join Warren Cariou in a discussion of cultural collisions and affinities;

° And From Pow Wow to Hip Hop: A Community Celebration of Aboriginal Cultureis a free event that will combine the traditional work of First Nations dance company Great Plains with A Tribe Called Red’s eclectic blend of hip hop and Pow Wow music.


Prairie Scene features some iconic Canadian performers:

° Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and her band will bring down the house with an electrifying stage show;

° Rock n’ roll legends Randy Bachman and Fred Turner will reunite after 20 years as Bachman & Turner and take care of business with their unmistakeable hard rock Canadian sound

° Guitar sensation Colin James will take a break from the Little Big Band and get up close and personal in an intimate acoustic duo evening with guest guitarist Chris Caddell

° And Brent Butt, the creator, star and executive producer of CTV's hit comedy Hiccups as well as Corner Gas, the most successful Canadian sitcom in history, takes to the stage and will keep you laughing.


Music at the Scene is classical, folk, rock, blues, roots, pop and jazz:

° It’s superstar violinist James Ehnes and the critically acclaimed Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra performing at the National Arts Centre for the first time since 1971 in a program featuring new work by acclaimed Winnipeg composer Randolph Peters

° It’s the Women’s Blues Night, featuring multiple-award winning roots-based singer Suzie Vinnick on a bill with country/blues sensation Little Miss Higgins andhard-rocking singer-songwriters Romi Mayes and Megan Lane

° It’s Saskatchewan sisters Jen and Megan Lane and their good friend John Antoniuk, a.k.a. Smokekiller

° It’s the vocal textures and tight harmonies of all-girl (and one guy) ensemble and 2009 Juno Award winners Chic Gamine, drawing on myriad cultural influences to create a unique roots/folk sound

° It’s violinist Erika Raum, celebrated both at home in Regina and abroad for her engaging sensitivity and gorgeously full tone, performing in a much anticipated solo recital that includes a piece by her mother, composer Elizabeth Raum

° It’s WCMA Outstanding Francophone Recording winner Daniel ROA, whose catchy pop rhythms belie the incisive wit of his brilliant lyrics, and ethereal electro-pop siren Nadia Gaudet

° It’s the infectious hip hop of Grand Analog and Def 3

° It’s Saskatchewan-raised siblings and violinists Malcolm and Darren Lowe, concertmasters of the Boston and Quebec Symphonies respectively, playing Music for a Sunday Afternoon at the National Gallery of Canada

° It’s the spacious sound of seven-piece pop collective Library Voices on a bill with the three acoustic guitars of Volcanoless in Canada and Regina’s Northcote

° It’s the traditional bluegrass, folk-rock, Afro-Cuban jazz and soul fusion of The Duhks

° It’s the old-school rock-and-roll revival of The Sheepdogs, indie darlings Royal Canoe and The Liptonians, and the seductive Latin jazz-inflected groove of Fransaskois singer-songwriter Alexis Normand

° It’s the smooth saxophone of Kelly Jefferson and the vocal harmonies of The Wailin’ Jennys

° It’s Jack Semple’s virtuoso guitar, the virtuosity of 13-voice early music interpreters Camerata Nova and the tight jazz innovations of the Michelle Grégoire quintet

° It’s Winnipeg’s GroundSwell, whichhas curated a free concert of contemporary classical music featuring works by nine Prairie composers

Other music artists performing during Prairie Scene include the Winnipeg Chamber Music Society, Anique Granger, Wide Mouth Mason, The Deep Dark Woods, Oh My Darling, Luke Doucet, Greg MacPherson, Maybe Smith, The Waking Eyes, Shuyler Jansen, Del Barber, Matt Epp, Carrie Catherine, JP Hoe, Jill Zmud, Karrnnel Sawitsky, Daniel Koulak, Wab Kinew, Eekwol, Jeffery Straker, Codie Prevost, Desiree Dorion, Greg Lowe, Joël Fafard, Bob Evans, John Arcand, Donny Parenteau, Matthew Contois, Ryan D’Aoust, and Ray Bell


Theatre at the Scene is provocative and imaginative:

° It’s Jim Guedo’s tribute to Joni Mitchell in Songs of a Prairie Girl – a musical collage celebrating and endorsed by the woman who believes that “Saskatchewan is in [her] veins;”

° It’s Talk, the Governor General’s Literary Award-nominated play written by Michael Nathanson and produced by Winnipeg’s Jewish Theatre thatchronicles the impact of diverse political opinion on a long-time friendship;

° It’s Gordon Winter, Persephone Theatre’s production of Cree playwright Kenneth T. Williams’ sometimes shocking play about bigotry, inspired by the life of David Ahenakew and featuring Canadian stage and screen star Gordon Tootoosis in the lead role

° It’s Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s wonderfully imaginative play for young audiences Russell’s World  exploring the sometimes frightening world of the latchkey kid;

° It’s Saskatchewan playwright and performer Gilles Poulin-Denis’ Governor General’s Award nominated road trip saga Rearview in the critically acclaimed production by Saskatoon’s La Troupe du Jour;

° And it’s an evening paying homage to Roland Mahé, long-time Artistic Director of Le Cercle Molière, whose influence and artistic leadership has shaped generations of Francophone theatre artists in the Prairies.


Dance at the Scene takes us on a trip from Alice’s Wonderland to the National Gallery of  Canada Plaza, and points in between:

° Saskatchewan choreographer Shawn Hounsell imagines a grown up Alice in a brand new feature-length ballet Wonderland  produced by Royal Winnipeg Ballet;

° Prolific dancer-choreographer Robin Poitrasand her Saskatchewan-based company Rouge-gorge inspire multiple associations with the tantalisingly titled in fur till spring;

° Brent Lott andWinnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers explode onto the Scene with an artistic vitality fuelled by a uniquely Prairie sensibility, in a mixed program representing the creative history of the country’s oldest contemporary dance company;

° Jolene Bailie’s Gearshifting Performance Workspresents Hybrid Human, inspired by the visual art of Wanda Koop;

° Up-and-coming choreographer Johanna Bundon presents dance informed by an exploration of narrative rhythm;

° And contemporary dance artist Freya Bjorg Olafson performs Avatar, a chilling theatrical duet with technology.


Visual Arts at Prairie Scene is breathtakingly diverse, with 14 exhibitions showcasing 127 artists:

° Featuring the work of 30 artists from 14 communities across Saskatchewan, Dunlop Art Gallery’s Mind the Gap ! is a meticulously-curated, visual, cerebral and geographic map of the emerging arts landscape in Saskatchewan that includes the work of Wally Dion, Marc Courtemanche and Amalie Atkins;

° The National Gallery of Canada and the Winnipeg Art Gallery present On the Edge of Experience, a significant selection of large-scale signature paintings by acclaimed artist Wanda Koop;;

° Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art’sWinter Kept Us Warm is a group exhibition that explores Winnipeg as a mytho-poetic territory of the body and desire. Curated by Noam Gonick, the exhibition includes work by Marcel Dzama, Diana Thorneycroft, and Karel Funk.  Following the festival, the exhibition will become a component of a larger exhibition entitled Winnipeg at La Maison Rouge in Paris in June 2011, and will tour to the Musée international des arts modestes de Sète (France);

° The Saskatchewan Craft Council brings together the work of 33 established and emerging fine crafts artists from across the province in a dynamic survey of the artform entitled Playing with Dimensions. Paul Lapointe, Michael Hosaluk and Zane Wilcox are among the artists showcased in the collection;

° Gallery 101’s exhibition Pimâskweyâw examines the experience of Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan and Manitoba;

° Performance artist Adrian Stimson figuratively repopulates the bison herds of the great plains in Re-Herd; and the NAC Main Lobby showcases Edward Poitras’ 1885, along with other work by Prairie artists selected from the Canada Council Art Bank;

° Quelle dérive: Le possible et le réel de Winnipeg  at Gatineau’s AXENÉ07 brings together the work of diverse artists working in varied media to pinpoint the psychogeography of Winnipeg’s past, present and future;

° SAW Gallerypresents take me to your leader >><, curated by free associates affiliated with MAWA in Winnipeg;

Other exhibitions include All the Horses and All the Egg  atSAW Video, Shift at Centre de production DAÏMÕN, A Prairie Snapshot:  Work by Prairie Artists from the Canada Council Art Bank presented at the NAC, Of Earth and Sky:  Prairie Artists in the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, Liberating Containment, an exhibition at the Karsh-Masson Gallery of work by craft artists Richard Finney and Michael Hosaluk, and selected paintings by Sanford Fisher at the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Art Gallery.


Prairie Scene film artists offer perspectives on the Prairie provinces:

° Guy Maddin’s1988 cult classic Tales from the Gimli Hospital is reframed in a not-to-be- missed world premiere on April 30. This unique multimedia experience includes a new score by Winnipeg composer Matthew Patton, performed live by members of Iceland’s amiina and mum; a live sound and special effects Foley team, and a special guest narrator to be announced;

° Winnipeg to Saskatoon is a voyage through video across Canada’s great plains, presenting the work of 26 Manitoba and Saskatchewan filmmakers;

° And One Take Super 8 Showcase is an evening of 20 short films exhibiting a wide range of prairie perspectives seen through a small gauge camera.  The results offer an increasingly rare opportunity to see the magic of cinema in a celluloid form.


Literary Scenebrings together prairie writers David Carpenter andDianne Warren in thoughtful conversation with Laurie Brown, host of CBC Radio’s The Signal, to discuss the question of place in prairie writing; and in a separate event, Warren Cariou talks with fellow prairie authors Sandra Birdsell,Louise Bernice Halfe, Duncan Mercredi, and Margaret Sweatman about the intersection of prairie cultures and affinities.


Culinary Scenebrings the tastes of the prairies to the capital. Events include a prairie-inspired table d’hôte menu at the NAC’s le café, and a live cooking demonstration with prairie chefs Alexander Svenne and Dan Walker.

Today’s announcement represents all of the programming of the Prairie Scene. The National Arts Centre consulted extensively with artists and arts organizations, and worked with a group of artistic advisors from the provinces to make sure that Prairie Scene faithfully reflects the diverse talent and creativity that is Saskatchewan and Manitoba today.

For more details about the Prairie Scene lineup, visit


Prairie Scene would like to thank the Government of Canada, the Government of Manitoba, the Government of Saskatchewan 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 Co-presenting Partners MTS Allstream (Manitoba) and PotashCorp (Saskatchewan), Major Partner Enbridge Inc, Supporting Partners Greystone Managed Investments, James Richardson & SonsLimited, TransCanada Pipelines Limited, and Holiday Inn, and Programming Partners The Mosaic CompanyManitoba Film and Music,  Iceland Naturally and theWinnipeg Foundation. Prairie Scene Media Partners include Major Partner CBC/Radio-Canada, and Partners National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Le Droit, Winnipeg Free Press, Regina Leader-Post, Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Dollco Printing.

For their commitment to supporting Prairie arts and artists, we give special thanks to Gail AsperandMichael Paterson, Marjorie andMorley Blankstein, the John andBonnie Buhler Foundation, Adrian Burns andGregory Kane, Q.C., Ian andKiki Delaney, David andMargaret Fountain, Susan Glass and Arni Thorsteinson, Deborah Gray,  Stephen andJocelyn Greenberg,  Peter Herrndorf andEva Czigler, Doris andCharles Knight, Craig andPamela Lothian, Gail andDavid O’Brien, Stefan andMagdalena Opalski, Harriett andIsadore Wolfe as well asJim andLisa Yuel.

The NAC Foundation also extends a warm thank you to the Prairie Scene Council, a committed group of individuals whose leadership, support and guidance are key to the success of Prairie Scene. The Prairie Scene Council is led by Manitoba Honorary Chairs John andBonnie Buhler, Saskatchewan Honorary Chair Tami Wall, Manitoba Chair Gail Asper and Saskatchewan Chair E. Craig Lothian. Members include Adrian Burns, CatherineA. (Kiki) Delaney, Leslie Gales, Susan Glass andArni Thorsteinson, Wayne Goranson andHeather Quale, Lynda Haverstock andHarley Olsen, Charles andDoris Knight, D’Arcy Levesque, Brian andGail Saunders, Pamela Wallin, and Harriett Wolfe.


For more information please contact:

Rosemary Thompson

Director of Public Affairs

National Arts Centre

(613) 947-7000, ext. 260

Cell : (613) 762-4118