The National Arts Centre wraps up six months of cultural programming at Expo 2020 Dubai 

News release

Artists ArtCirq, Marie-Mai and Neon Dreams take the stage in Dubai for Canada’s National Day and International Francophonie Day at Expo this weekend

March 16, 2022 – OTTAWA (Canada) – Since October 2021, the National Arts Centre (NAC) has presented a broad spectrum of Canada’s performing arts at Expo 2020 Dubai in the United Arab Emirates – the first world Expo hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.

Expertly curated by NAC Executive Producer Heather Gibson, the NAC’s cultural programme was an integral part of Canada’s overall participation in Expo 2020 Dubai. It successfully showcased the breadth, diversity and excellence of Canada’s performing arts, music, dance, theatre and more.

Canada’s National Day (March 19) and International Francophonie Day (March 20) are being celebrated this weekend at Expo 2020 Dubai, with artists Artcirq, Neon Dreams and Marie-Mai being presented by the NAC in collaboration with the Canada Pavilion.

Visitors from around the world discovered Canada’s artistic and cultural heritage. Cultural programming at Expo kicked off in October with Jill Barber, Les Grands Hurleurs and Beòlach. Indigenous artists were featured through November: Celeigh Cardinal, Digging RootsZoey Roy, Dancers of Damelahamid, Sarain Fox, Kevin Loring, Christine Frederick, and Shawnee Kish. In December, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Pierre Kwenders and RITT took the stage. In early 2022, Ria Mae and The Once wowed audiences on Expo’s biggest stage: The Jubilee Stage.

Canada’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai is part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to promote Canada as: global leader, innovator, and collaborator with solutions to offer the world in many spheres, a leader in climate action and sustainable economies as well as an ideal place for business, investment, education, tourism and immigration.

About Canada’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai

“Canada’s Expo 2020 theme, The Future in Mind, serves as a platform to promote opportunities for trade, investment, education, tourism and immigration, from across Canada’s provinces, territories and cities, and throughout all sectors of society. Canada’s participation highlights Canadian leadership in key sectors, including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, education, digitization, telemedicine, clean technology, agriculture, health sciences, aerospace and more. Canada’s approach to Expo 2020 Dubai is inspired by our core values of diversity, inclusion, human rights and gender equality as the foundation to building a prosperous and inclusive nation.”

About the National Arts Centre

The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre in collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety — and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe.


“Looking back at the outstanding group of Canadian artists that performed in Dubai over the last six months, I am proud to have presented a program that is a true representation of our diversity, cultural background, and the future of performing arts in Canada. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to present great artistic talent to new international audiences.” 

- Heather Gibson, Executive Producer, Popular Music and Variety, National Arts Centre

“We are extremely proud of our collaboration with Global Affairs Canada and the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in bringing artists from Canada to such an important international space. We hope to continue to play a proactive role in sharing this country’s voices with the world in the future.”

- Christopher Deacon, President and CEO, National Arts Centre

“Collaborating with Canada’s National Art Centre, that executed an impressive cultural programme for Canada at Expo 2020 Dubai, has been one of the highlights of our Expo journey. Thanks to the NAC’s dedication and expertise, visitors from around the world were able to experience Canadian creativity through dynamic, diverse and rich performances by Canada’s world-class artists, representative of our cultural diversity, official languages and distinct regions.”

- Marie-Geneviève Mounier, Commissioner General, Expo 2020 Dubai

Quick facts

  • Universal exhibitions are held every five years. Their themes are designed to raise awareness and find answers to the universal challenges of our time.

  • Dubai Expo 2020 is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and the largest event ever held in the Arab world.

  • The overall theme of the exhibition is Connecting Minds, Creating Futures and aims to introduce new ideas and find solutions to global challenges.

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Mireille Allaire 
Senior Manager
Strategy and Communications
National Arts Centre

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada

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