Filipina-Canadian Nina Lee Aquino named Artistic Director of National English Theatre

Nina Lee Aquino  Artistic Director of National English Theatre
Nina Lee Aquino is an award-winning Filipino-Canadian director, playwright, dramaturg, and teacher. Photo from NAC, Dahlia Katz Photography.

Award-winning Filipina-Canadian artist Nina Lee Aquino has been named the next Artistic Director of the National Arts Centre (NAC) English Theatre in Canada.

The director, playwright, and dramaturg who has been a strong advocate for the inclusion of Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour (IBPoC) voices in Canadian theatre, will take on the new role at the NAC on August 29, 2022.

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Aquino joins the NAC after serving as Artistic Director of Toronto’s Factory Theatre, where she established a ​reputation as a leader for developing new plays and championing writers.

The Filipina-Canadian has directed world premieres and revivals at theatres across Canada and has won a multitude of awards, including the Ken McDougall Award, the Canada Council for the Arts John Hirsch Prize, and the Margo Bindhart and Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award, among others.

“I am thrilled and deeply honoured to be named the new Artistic Director of NAC English Theatre,” said Nina Lee Aquino in a news release on January 6, 2022.

“I see my appointment as a continuation of the rich legacy of Artistic Directors who came before me and presented stories about the complexity of contemporary Canada…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,” Aquino added.

Aquino succeeds former Artistic Director Jillian Keiley, who concludes her 10-year tenure at the Ottawa performing arts centre in August.

Besides Jillian Keiley, Nina Lee Aquino’s predecessors include renowned theatre artists such as Peter Hinton-Davis, Marti Maraden, Gil Osborne, Andis Celms, John Wood, and Jean Roberts.

Filipino-Canadian playwright and novelist Primrose Madayag Knazan recently won first place in the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition with her work, Precipice.

Carlos Bulosan Theatre (CBT), a theatre group in Canada, has earlier staged “Anak,” a play about a Filipino-Canadian family’s hopes, dreams, and struggles to keep the family intact.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to award-winning Filipina-Canadian director, playwright, and dramaturg Nina Lee Aquino who has been named the next Artistic Director of the English Theatre in the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Canada.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.