Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

We look back on 90 years of countless moments of connection, inspiration and creativity

1933 – The University of Alberta establishes the Banff School of Drama. 190 students enroll in the two-week course held in Banff.

1936 – A course in musical composition, interpretation and performance for piano
is introduced.

1948 – Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally set up the first dance programme, with
a focus on ballet training. Dance programmes soon expand to include public presentations.

1949 – Ernesto Vinci sets up a first opera course and Richard Eaton teaches a choral technique course. They will teach together for nine years and establish the Foundation for Opera programmes.

1967 – The Eric Harvie Theatre is unveiled, to support artist performances, production and training. Some of the country’s most acclaimed performing arts productions have been created in the theatre.

1973 – Oscar Peterson and Phil Nimmons set up the Jazz Workshop, marking the beginning of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, which has become one of the most important training grounds for jazz musicians and composers.

1976 – The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is created and goes on to become a premier event for celebrating mountain culture, showcasing the world’s best films, books and photographs on mountain life.

1978 – The Clifford E. Lee Award for Choreographers is created to support
emerging Canadian choreographers. Alumni of the award now include Christopher House, Bengt Jörgen, Crystal Pite, Wen Wei Wang, David Earle and Gabrielle Lamb.

1983 – Banff Centre launches the first triennial Banff International String Quartet Competition. The triennial competition is now recognised worldwide, and past winners include the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Rolston String Quartet and Dover Quartet.

1988 – The Jeanne and Peter Lougheed building opens and houses state-of-the-art media and production facilities for audio, film and new media programming.

2018 – The Indigenous Arts department develops year-round programming and moves into multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary development. Through outstanding performances, concerts, residencies and presentations, the programming contributes to strong and vibrant Indigenous arts communities in Canada and around the globe.

2022 – The Jenny Belzberg Theatre opens featuring state-of-the-art space that better supports creation and presentation of work.

2023 – Chris Lorway joins Banff Centre as President and CEO.

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity featured in our October issue. To read the full feature, click here.