November 25, 2015 – Retired director of the Centre for the Arts at Brock University, Debbie Slade, was presented with the CAPACOA Lifetime Achievement Award during the opening evening of the 28th CAPACOA Conference.

Debbie Slade

Debbie Slade has had a truly outstanding career as a performing arts presenter. From 1987 to 2015, she was the director of the Centre for the Arts at Brock University. Throughout these years, she was recognized as a pioneer, an ambassador and a mentor by her peers – artists, agents and presenters alike.

During her time at Brock, Debbie expanded the scope of programming at the venue from 12 shows to more than 70 productions per year, turning the Centre into Niagara’s Cultural Treasure. She has helped local, national and international artists get their touring legs through booking and commissioning unknown artists and giving them their first exposure to wider audiences. Debbie’s progressive artistic vision and “presenting stamina” also had a significant impact on the curatorial philosophy of multidisciplinary presenters in Canada.

Today’s CAPACOA Lifetime Achievement Award crowns an impressive series of distinctions for Debbie, including the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Arts and Culture (2001), the Niagara Women in Business Award for Community Spirit (2010), the Ontario Presenting Network Presenter of the Year award (2010), the CAPACOA Presenter of the Year award (2012) and the Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award (2015).

The CAPACOA Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual with a long history of leadership and recognizes the significant and lasting impact these contributions have had on the performing arts sector. This individual’s work and contribution to the field and society should serve as a model that inspires excellence in others.

During the same evening the National Arts Centre Award for distinguished contribution to touring in the performing arts was also presented to another exceptional presenter, the Artistic and Executive Director of Push Festival, Norman Armour.



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"The CAPACOA Conference offers a critical national opportunity for presenters to engage with developing trends and challenging issues in the performing arts, enabling them to be leaders of change for their audiences and communities."

Karilyn Brown, Performing Lines Australia