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Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

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Welcome to the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts competitions!

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts ("the Isabel") is a home for the creative arts at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a hub of vibrant artistic study, creation, and exhibition in our community. The venue houses the Queen's Department of Film and Media and the DAN School of Drama and Music, as well as the Isabel's presentation season, which brings some of the most exciting and acclaimed musicians to its 567-seat concert hall. Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, the Isabel brings together world-class arts spaces and programs with a captivating sense of place, creating a dynamic venue for our students and community to learn, discover, think, do, and experience together.  

The Isabel nurtures the inquiring spirit with a diversity of world-class artists and programming, artistic excellence, socially engaged performances connecting the arts to social justice and issues of inclusion and diversity, and interdisciplinary creativity with newly created works. Artists and audiences of all ages are at the centre of our being. During COVID-19, we have been especially active in providing work for local and national artists and arts workers and are at the centre of innovation for high-fidelity, multi-platform delivery of live performance and creation of new works.

We boldly challenge ourselves with supporting new creations, offering diverse artistic perspectives including Indigenous arts, producing high fidelity and multi-platform delivery of our performances with emerging, local, and internationally acclaimed artists, facilitating local cultural expression here at Queen’s and in our community, undertaking major initiatives to develop astounding emerging artists and arts leaders, and ensuring all communities are valued as makers of culture. We commit to creativity that engages with culture, seeks a relationship with diverse audiences and artists, and aims to influence socially difficult issues such as racism to achieve a more inclusive society. In addition to the outstanding national and international artists we engage, we are especially aware of providing a platform for talented local artists through our series, festivals, and incubation initiatives.

The Isabel fosters creativity through its IMAGINE Arts Incubation program through an open process through applications on

The Isabel develops the next generation of remarkable talent through its Bader and Overton Canadian music competitions (violin - 2017, cello - 2020, and piano - 2023), the local YGK Emerging Musician Competition, and the co-creation of the M.A. in Arts Leadership program with the DAN School of Drama and Music to train Canada's emerging arts leaders. 

The Isabel has embraced the multi-platform world with state-of-the-art recording, filming, and streaming expertise and equipment with programming streamed on its Isabel Digital Concert Hall and through social media. 

The Isabel embraces equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization, and presents diverse artists and art forms, the Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival, and the Ka'tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts.

Opened in September 2014, the Isabel was designed by Oslo/New York-based firm Snøhetta and Ottawa’s N45, with acoustics and theatre design by ARUP and Theatre Projects Consultants. Anchored by a transformational gift to the Initiative Campaign from Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader, the Isabel was inspired by the Bader’s love – of the arts, of Queen’s, and of each other – and is named in Isabel’s honour.

For a virtual tour, click here:

IMAGINE Arts Incubator program 2022


IMAGINE Project Creation program 2021

Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition (2020 First Prize Winner: Bryan Cheng

YGK Emerging Musician Competition (2019 winners: Sadaf Amini: World music, Iranian classical music, santur (instrument), Julia Finnegan: Indie-folk, Michelle Kasaboski: Jazz, adult contemporary, traditional pop, easy listening, Alex Mundy: Folk/pop, piano, voice, guitar, Savannah and Michael: Folk, jazz, blues duo (Savannah Shea: Guitar, vocals; Michael Broadhead: Bass), Abby Stewart: Country

Isabel Overton Bader Canadian Violin Competition (2017 First Prize Winner: Yolanda Bruno)

Bader and Overton Canadian Piano Competition (2023)

For guidelines and requirement questions please email 

For technical questions, please check out our Help Desk for frequently asked questions.
Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing ArtsQueen’s University390 King Street West, Room 123Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Applications: www.theisabel/