Blog / The Theatre

Yukon Arts Centre’s Chief Executive Officer, Al Cushing, Retiring March 31, 2017

Yukon Arts Centre’s Chief Executive Officer, Al Cushing, Retiring March 31, 2017

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Yukon Arts Centre, Chair, Deb Bartlette, would like to thank Al Cushing for more than nine successful years as Yukon Arts Centre’s CEO and wishes him well in retirement. “Al has provided the Yukon Arts Centre Board, staff and volunteers with dedicated and visionary service and we have all grown under his leadership. He helped us to think of the Yukon Arts Centre not just as a building, but a resource in service to the whole of Yukon’s vibrant cultural community. His capacity to bring out the best in people ensured good working relationships with all stakeholders and we are grateful for his time here.”
Mr. Cushing will be retiring as of March 31st, 2017.
Under Mr. Cushing’s flexible and facilitative leadership, the Yukon Arts Centre, Board and staff, wrote and adopted visionary “Ends Statements”, which guide the ongoing work of the Yukon Arts Centre. As one of the best known performing arts facilitators in North America, Jerry Yoshitomi, stated: “the Yukon Arts Centre is one of the most innovative and effective arts centres in North America.” The Yukon Arts Centre has become known as a mecca for performing and visual arts in this country, and as one of the most significant performing spaces in Canada. 
Mr. Cushing was also instrumental in expanding the Yukon Arts Centre’s performing/exhibition spaces to include the Old Fire Hall and the Wharf in downtown Whitehorse, and the Art House in Carcross. Strong partnerships with Yukon First Nations, the Whitehorse’s business community and Yukon Government, allowed the Centre to expand operations and add more versatile options for performance and exhibition space.
Mr. Cushing came to Yukon after more than thirty-five years working in virtually all areas of Canadian theatre including: scene design, stage management, sound & lighting & stage technician (Ottawa and Vancouver), technical director (National Arts Centre), production manager (Manitoba Theatre Centre), company manager (JV Theatre Productions Calgary), and just prior to moving north, VP Operations at the Epcor Centre, Calgary, Alberta.
In addition to his extensive theatre experience, his deep knowledge of the visual arts has ensured the Yukon Arts Centre Gallery continues to be acknowledged as one of the leading galleries in Canada. National level exhibitions, artists’ support and community engagement projects continue to lead the country in innovative programming.
Cushing believed in the importance of national partnerships and he encouraged his staff to serve on many national associations. Cushing himself served on the boards of the Canadian Institute of Theatre Technology (CITT), Magnetic North Theatre Festival and the Cultural Human Resource Council. He was instrumental in supporting several national conferences and gatherings in Yukon including Break Out West, Canadian Museums Association and most recently the Magnetic North Theatre Festival and the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective
Deb Bartlette, speaking on behalf of the board stated: “The Yukon Arts Centre is a richer organization as a result of his time here. His commitment to his staff, to the Yukon’s cultural community, and his mindfulness of supporting art and artists, has always been topmost in his leadership style. Many of the ambitious goals he set for the organization were surpassed during his tenure. In particular, Al’s belief that the North has many things to teach Canadians has always been present in his work and is a legacy that will continue to shape Yukon Arts Centre into the future.”
A retirement party will be planned with details forthcoming closer to the time of Al’s departure. Details forthcoming.
The Yukon Arts Centre’s Board of Directors has formed a search committee to identify the next CEO.  They will be announcing details shortly.
For further information please contact YAC Board Chair, Deb Bartlette, 668-8715

Performance in HD 2016-17 Announced!

Performance in HD 2016-17 Announced!

Announcing the Yukon Arts Centre's 2016-17 PiHD season! There is something for everyone from true love, to lifesize puppets, drama, tragedy, and comedic farce! Here is our Performance in HD lineup:


Saturday March 11 @ 10:00 AM: The Metropolitan Opera's La Traviata 

Live from New York it's... The Metropolitan Opera! Direct to our screen via satellite, Sonya Yoncheva sings one of opera’s most beloved heroines, the tragic courtesan Violetta, a role in which she triumphed on the Met stage in 2015. Opposite her are Michael Fabiano as her lover, Alfredo, and Thomas Hampson as his father, Germont. Nicola Luisotti conducts.

Run time: 2 hrs 33 minutes

Ticket price: $22.00

Saturday March 25 @ 2:00 PM: Bolshoi Ballet's Sleeping Beauty 

Embrace the exquisite enchantment of the world's favourite fairy tale! One of the finest ballets in the classical repertoire is set to Tschaikovsky’s timeless score. Featuring technical brilliance and bravura dancing by outstanding performers, stunning sets, and lush costumes, this magical masterpiece delivers all the essential ingredients: romance, fate, good vs evil, and of course true love!

Run time: 2 hrs 45 minutes

Tickets: $22.00 / Youth $12.00 / Family pack $60.00

3rd Annual Yukon Arts Audience Awards - Winners Announced!

3rd Annual Yukon Arts Audience Awards - Winners Announced!

After over a month of receiveng nominations and voting (with a very successful Magnetic North Festival smack dab in the middle of it all) we are very pleased to announce the winners of this years YAA Awards!

Thanks to everyone for their nominations, voting, and feedback. We look forward to doing it all again next year! In the meantime, there are a ton of incredible events happening throughout the rest of the summer. Get out there, enjoy that midnight sun, and explore all that our amazing territory has to offer!

Once again, congratulations to all the nominees and winners. We want to acknowledge everyone that contributes to making the Yukon a fun and vibrant place to work, play, and live!

Without further ado... 

WHITEHORSE Favourite Music Performance

1. Lemon Bucket Orkestra: Return of Spring, April 2016 at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre
2. TIE!

Whitehorse Community Choir: The Last Horizon, May 2015 at the Yukon Arts Centre
Ryan McNally: Stepping Down South CD release, April 2016 at the Old Fire Hall
Michael Feuerstack, Devon Sproule, and Old Cabin, July 2015 at Splintered Craft

3. TIE!

Fawn Fritzen: Pairings CD release, April 2016 at the Old Fire Hall
Jazz Yukon: James Danderfer Trio, November 2015 at the Yukon Arts Centre

DAWSON CITY Favourite Music Performance

1. Dawson City Music Festival, July 2015

WHITEHORSE Favourite Theatre Production

1. L’Immediat: Yukon Arts Centre and Nakai Theatre (Pivot Festival), January 2016 at the Yukon Arts Centre
2. Tomboy Survival Guide: Ivan Coyote and the Yukon Arts Centre, September 2015 at the Yukon Arts Centre
3. TIE!

The Improv Project: The Guild, March 2016 at the Guild
Often I Find that I Am Naked: Larrikin Entertainment, January - February 2016 at the Courts
Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead: The Guild, September - October 2015 at the Guild

WHITEHORSE Favourite Dance Production

1. CypherFest: Leaping Feats, August 2015 at the Yukon Arts Centre
2. Eunoia: Fujiwara Dance Inventions and the Yukon Arts Centre, October 2015 at the Yukon Arts Centre
3. TIE!

March Break Extravaganza, Leaping Feats, March 2016 at Leaping Feats
How the Grinch Stole Winter: MAD (Music, Art, and Drama), December 2015 at Wood Street  School

TESLIN Favourite Dance Production

1. Dakhka Kwaan Dancers, Teslin Cultural Centre, July 2015

WHITEHORSE Favourite Solo Visual Arts Exhibition

1. Shaping Haidi Gwaii: Neil Graham, September - November 2015 at the Yukon Arts Centre Main Gallery
2. TIE!

Veiled Hoods and Stains: Cal Lane, December 2015 - February 2016 at the Yukon Arts Centre Main Gallery
Les Oiseaux de Nuit: Virginie Hamel, January 2016 at Focus Gallery (Arts Underground)

3. First Hole IBC: Death Prophecy Denied: Joseph Tisiga, March - May 2016 at the Yukon Arts Centre Main Gallery

DAWSON CITY Favourite Solo Visual Arts Exhibition

1. Ommatidia Muralis: Andrew John Milne & Chantal Dupas, March 2016 at The Odd Gallery

WHITEHORSE Favourite Group Visual Arts Exhibition

1. Rock Paper Scissors: Southern Lake Artist Collective, September 2015 at the Focus and Edge Galleries (Arts Underground)
2. Arctic Adaptations - Nunavut at 15: Canada’s Entry into the 2014 Venice Bienelle in Architecture, June - August 2015 at the Yukon Arts Centre Main Gallery
3. New Acquisitions 2015: Friends of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection, various dates, various locations

WHITEHORSE Favourite Film Presentation

1. Room: Available Light Film Festival, February 2016 at the Yukon Arts Centre
2. Brooklyn: Available Light Film Festival, February 2016 at the Yukon Arts Centre
3. KONELINE (our land beautiful): Available Light Film Festival, February 2016 at the Yukon Arts Centre

DAWSON CITY Favourite Film Presentation

1. International Short Film Festival, KIAC, Oddfellows Hall, April 2016

ATLIN Favourite Film Presentation

1. A Band Called Death, Atlin Arts and Music Festival, July 2015 at the Globe Theatre

WHITEHORSE Favourite Art Happening

1. Bruce’s Big Bash: Bruce Bergman and Friends, May 2015 at Robert Service Campground
2. Mural: Splintered Craft, April 2016 at the Jamieson’s Building
3. TIE!

Battle of the Books: Terry Fallis, Northern Lights Writer’s Conference and Yukon Literacy  Coalition, January 2016 at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre
Cluster Resonance: Jordy Walker, Whitehorse Nuit Blanche, June 2015 at the Roundhouse

DAWSON CITY Favourite Art Happening

1. Dawson City International Short Film Festival, April 2016 at KIAC
2. Doily Webs: Nicole Bauberger and Jessica Vellenga, Tombstone Arts Residency, August 2015 in Tombstone Territorial Park

WHITEHORSE Favourite Art for Social Change

1. Walking With Our Sisters: various artists, April 2015 at KDCC and YAC
2. TIE!

Ukjese van Kampen Photography: April 2016 at YAC Community Gallery
Our Global Village: Selkirk Elementary School Wide Art Project, March 2016 at ATCO Electric  Youth Gallery (YAC)

WHITEHORSE Favourite Family Event

1. Winterval
2. Kids Kreate


1. Available Light Film Festival
2. Northern Lights Writers Conference
3. Banff Mountain Film Festival

ATLIN Best Fest

1. Atlin Arts and Music Festival

DAWSON Best Fest

1. TIE!
Dawson City Music Festival
Dawson City International Short Film Festival

Lifetime Achievement Award:

1. Bruce Bergman
2. TIE! Jim Robb / Andrea McColeman / Gary Bailie
3. John Steins

Volunteer of the Year

1. Donald Watt
2. Kim Winnicky
3. Duncan Sinclair

Emerging Artist of the Year

1. Calla Paleczny (Calla Kinglit)
2. Soda Pony
3. Genevieve Doyon

Arts Administrator of the Year

1. Laurel Parry
2. Duncan Sinclair
3. TIE! Michele Emslie / Kim Winnicky

Local Celebrity

1. Ivan Coyote
2. Nicole Edwards
3. Ryan McNally

Honourable Mentions

The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival was a late nomination for Best Fest.

Whitehorse Community Choir's Sounds of Africa, the Guild's Cannibal the Musical, Gwaandak Theatre's Paradise, the Yukon Arts Centre's presentation of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Moulin Rouge, and Dan Bushnell's late-night art installation at Midnight Sun Coffee Roaster all received nominations in various categories. These events all occured outside the date range for this year's awards, but they definitely deserve a shout out anyway!

The Adaka Festival was nominated but did not make it on to the voting page due to human error; we regret this mistake and want to give a shout out anyway to the amazing Adaka festival!

Last but not least (this isn't an honourable mention but) we apologize for any spelling errors that occured on the voting page; we corrected all misspellings that were brought to our attention immidiately!

Voter and Nominator Comments

“Thanks for all the wonderful things that make our community full of cultural events. We are rich, and consequently our children become rich with opportunity to explore, perform, and step up.”

“So much superb talent and so many wonderful volunteers!”

“Looking forward to more arts presentations in Carcross so will have more nominations in future years”

“Anything Ivan Coyote does is gold.”

“Brooklyn – fabulous film! Bravo to the Arts Centre / Film Festival for bringing this to Whitehorse.”

“Helen O’Connor never fails to inspire everyone and delivers arts activities that all ages enjoy.”

“Kim Winnicky is pretty impressive...”

“[Favourite volunteer is] any of the front of house managers!”

“Gary Johnson of the Dakha Kwaan dancers [is] a wonderful ambassador for the Yukon.”

“Love the arts and culture in this town.”

3rd Annual Yukon Arts Audience Awards - Nominations Open!

3rd Annual Yukon Arts Audience Awards - Nominations Open!


Here’s how it works: anyone can nominate any of their favourite arts happenings of the 2015-16 season (between May 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016). 

Artists, performers, companies, presenters, volunteers, and enthusiasts are all encouraged to nominate something you made or something you loved.

The awards recognize people's favourite arts events of each community in the following categories:











The YAA Awards are an opportunity for Yukoners across the territory to think back on arts experiences from the past year, and celebrate the cultural richness of our communities. Help keep the conversations flowing about the events that have been meaningful to you!

Yukon artists, presenters, venues, volunteers and art lovers are all encouraged to submit their events, spread the word and come back to vote for their favourite events!


Events must have taken place in Yukon between May 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016. Local and visiting artists alike are eligible, so long as they presented work here in the Yukon.

You can nominate events for as many or as few categories as you like.

Steve Dawson’s Interview on CBC’s Airplay

Steve Dawson’s Interview on CBC’s Airplay

He hits the Yukon Arts Centre Mainstage, April 4 with Russell de Carle, Roxanne Potvin, & Alvin Youngblood Hart.

Check out the full interview here: