Welcome to the Canadian Opera Company Media Centre. It contains resources for the media including media releases and downloadable photos of COC leadership and productions for publication where relevant.  The images are available to members of the media for print and online promotion of the Canadian Opera Company and its events only.

For general inquiries, including interview requests, please contact:

Avril Sequeira, Director of Public Relations
[email protected]

Kristin McKinnon, Publicist and Content Producer
[email protected] 


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    By Public Relations
    Read the PDF version here.

    Industry-wide initiative to engage the performing arts sector in shaping a digital future for Canadian arts through collaboration and innovation

    Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company has embarked on an ambitious long-term project called the Digital Stage to explore new and collaborative approaches to digital technology, in partnership with The National Ballet of Canada and Sheridan College and its Screen Industries Research and Training Centre.

    Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Digital Stage will bring together voices from across all levels of Canadian performing arts companies, important audience viewpoints, and other stakeholders  to expand digital capacity in the arts sector and begin envisioning a new model for industry success in the 21st century. Exploring new and collaborative approaches to digital technology, this project is a critical step in not only maintaining a sense of relevance to arts and entertainment consumers today, but also embracing technology’s transformative power across all aspects of the performing arts ecosystem.

    “The COC recognizes that we, as a performing arts organization, are not an island,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “As cultural tastes and habits continue to evolve with changing technology, we know that the challenges we face as an opera company echo those faced by others in our industry and that there is a great opportunity to tackle these issues as a sector, through increased knowledge and understanding. We don’t want to simply react to change as it occurs; we want to equip ourselves and our peers with the capacity to adapt and lead through change. I firmly believe that open dialogue and a willingness to explore all possibilities is the only way for the arts to continue resonating with our audiences.”

    “The National Ballet of Canada sees digital technology as a transformational tool to deepen engagement with our patrons, to share our art form with the world, and to innovate how we do business,” says Barry Hughson, Executive Director of The National Ballet of Canada. “The Digital Stage project allows us, and our peers, to explore the boundless possibilities offered by digital technology and to learn how it can be incorporated into every facet of our work — from the stage, to the studio, to our administration. Embracing technology and innovation is vital to keeping the arts relevant, accessible and connected to our community.”

    “Sheridan has a strong commitment to catalyzing and supporting change at the intersection of creative content and digital technologies within the arts,” says John Helliker, Dean of Innovation, Sheridan College. “Collaboration within an industry-wide initiative is a unique opportunity for our research and incubation centres (SIRT, Canadian Music Theatre Project) as well as faculty and students throughout the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design to help transform the cultural sector through digital innovation and expand its capacity to reach Canadian and worldwide audiences.”

    The first phase of this multi-stage project is already underway with an environmental scan of the performing arts sector and beyond, both domestically and internationally. KerrSmith Design is a multidisciplinary research and design studio, specializing in complexity, futures, and innovation; their team has been selected to research and identify digital best practices, challenges, and barriers.

    Exploring and piloting new technology will form the second phase of the Digital Stage. Over the coming months, project participants will test various digital advances in real-life settings and conditions to assess practicality and potential application across Canadian organizations.

    Finally, the Digital Stage will host a series of symposiums meant to foster candid conversations around current challenges and new data as it is collected. Results from the current environmental scan will be presented at the first symposium scheduled for October 2, 2019 at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre in Toronto. As the symposium will include plenty of opportunity for discussion between industry partners, the Canadian Opera Company and its partners welcome the participation of interested industry groups and arts organizations who wish to attend.

    To register for the October symposium, please contact [email protected] or visit for further details.

    Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience including a dedicated base of subscribers. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the company has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. Its diverse repertoire includes new commissions and productions, local and international collaborations with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracts the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC Academy is an incubator for the future of the art form, nurturing Canada’s new wave of opera creators with customized training and support. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. For more information, visit

    One of the top international ballet companies, The National Ballet of Canada was founded in 1951 by Celia Franca. A company of 70 dancers with its own orchestra, the National Ballet has been led by Artistic Director Karen Kain, one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation, since 2005. Renowned for its diverse repertoire, the company performs traditional full-length classics, embraces contemporary work and encourages the creation of new ballets as well as the development of Canadian choreographers. The company’s repertoire includes works by Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Rudolf Nureyev, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Crystal Pite, Christopher Wheeldon, Aszure Barton, Guillaume Côté and Robert Binet. The National Ballet tours in Canada, the US and internationally with appearances in Paris, London, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Hamburg, New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Visit

    Sheridan’s Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT), based at Pinewood Studios in Toronto, conducts applied research, training and other industry activities that support technological advancement and innovation in Ontario’s film, television and interactive media cluster.  The Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP) is an internationally recognized incubator for development of new musical theatre works. SIRT and CMTP are two of six research centres and entrepreneurship hubs which foster research, creativity and innovation across a range of specialized areas, including advanced manufacturing, aging, mobile computing, and music theatre.  These centres underpin Sheridan’s burgeoning culture of scholarship, research and creative activities, which enrich student learning, engagement and future pathways.

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    For media inquiries and interviews about the Digital Stage, please contact:
    Avril Sequeira, Director of Public Relations, tel: 416-306-2387, email: [email protected]
    Kristin McKinnon, Publicist and Content Producer, tel: 416-306-2383, email: [email protected]

    Posted In Press Releases


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