September 2020 Update on Live Performances and Events at the NAC.

The Fund is a catalyst for Canadian artists to take their projects to a new level.  Our investments provide the additional time and resources that bold, ambitious projects need to be successful on the national and international stage.

To be considered for an investment, your project must:

  • be led by Canadian creators in theatre, dance, music and inter-disciplinary performing arts;
  • be artistically ambitious and compelling;
  • have a strong artistic team and committed producing and presenting partners;
  • be likely to have a national or international impact; and
  • have a clear plan for how our investment would enhance its development process and elevate it to a new level.

Our Investment Approach

We make game-changing investments.

We do not invest small amounts of money in a large number of projects.  Instead, we invest up to $3 million a year in up to 20 projects.  Our investments can range from many tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We invest in new and existing work.

We invest both in new work, and in promising productions that need additional development after their first runs to produce stronger, fully-realized work that will be remounted and toured.

We make curatorial decisions.

We find compelling and ambitious projects for investment in two ways: by actively seeking great projects across the country; and by inviting proposals from artists and arts organizations.

Our curatorial team consists of the Fund’s Artistic Producer and Managing Director, and members of the NAC artistic leadership teams from Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, the NAC Orchestra and NAC Presents.

We augment traditional funding sources, we don’t replace them.

We aren’t the only investor in a project – we provide support above and beyond funding from arts councils, producing partners, private donors and others.

Our investments enhance and expand the development process.

Our investments do not support touring and presentation costs.  We support the development opportunities that are rarely available to artists in this country, opportunities that risk and innovation demand – longer creation timelines, additional workshops or work-in-progress showings, residencies, integrating new technology, and working with the best creative teams, including collaborations with international artists.

Our investment does not come with an NAC presentation.

An investment does not guarantee the project will be presented at the NAC.  Some projects may be produced or co-produced by the NAC, but the majority are initiated and produced by artists and arts organizations across the country.  

We build on-going relationships with projects we support.

We provide artists with the resources they need to bring their work to a new level. In addition to our investment, we offer access to other NAC resources, such as production expertise and connections to national and international networks.

We look for a return on investment from commercial projects.

We invest in projects with the potential for significant growth and impact beyond the premiere. While the majority of projects will not have commercial aspirations, some will. For those that do go on to commercial success, we will be looking for a reasonable return on our investment, which will be used to support future Canadian creations.

There are no deadlines.

We receive proposals throughout the year, and our curatorial team reviews them on an on-going basis.


Our Submission Process

Please review the details of our submission process carefully before preparing your proposal.

  • Eligibility

    The Fund is open to professional artists, producing companies and organizations.  To be eligible, an artist must be a resident or citizen of Canada, although you may be pursuing your work outside the country.  While the lead producing company must be based in Canada, the project can include international partners and co-producers.  For more details, please read our Terms and Conditions.

  • Deadlines

    There are no deadlines for submissions.  We receive proposals throughout the year, and our curatorial team reviews them on an on-going basis.

    You should be far enough along in your planning that we can see a clear trajectory for the work, with both confirmed and potential artists, producing and presenting partners, and funders.  We also want to receive your submission in time for our investment to have a meaningful impact on the project’s development.  Most successful projects will have an extended development period of one to two years.

    Before submitting your proposal, we encourage you to contact Sarah Conn, the Fund’s Artistic Associate, to discuss your project.

  • Our Selection Process

    We make investment decisions through a three-phase curatorial process.

    Phase One: Initial Proposal (Decision timeline: 4 to 6 weeks)

    Complete a short proposal form, which summarizes the key details of the project and what the Fund’s investment would be used for. In this initial phase, we are not asking for detailed budgets, letters of support, or samples of work – we simply need enough information to determine whether your project meets our criteria and stands out as the kind of compelling, ambitious project the Fund might be interested in. 

    Submissions are evaluated by our curatorial team consisting of the Fund’s Artistic Producer and Managing Director, and members of the NAC’s artistic leadership teams. We review proposals as we receive them, and we’ll let you know in four to six weeks whether your project will be advanced to the second phase of consideration. 

    This is a highly competitive process, and only a small number of projects are chosen to advance to Phase Two.  Unfortunately, we won’t be able to provide feedback on proposals that do not make it past Phase One.

    Phase Two: Detailed Proposal (Decision Timeline: variable, based on project)

    If your project is selected to move to Phase Two, you will be asked to provide more detailed artistic, logistical and financial information. We’re looking to build a relationship with a project and its creators, so we’ll want to get to know you and the work better. Phase Two materials include:

    • Support material (which may include video, images, design concepts, audio recordings);
    • A detailed production timeline and plan that clearly outlines the project’s enhanced creation and development process;
    • A detailed revenue and expense budget;
    • Confirmation of partners, artists and funders;
    • Most recent annual report, if applicable; and
    • Financial statements (audited if an annual budget of more than $1 million), if applicable

    Phase Two will also include a video conference with the project’s artistic leadership and the Fund’s curatorial team to discuss the project and the potential impact of the Fund’s investment.   

    Phase Two materials are again evaluated by our curatorial team consisting of the Fund’s Artistic Producer and Managing Director, and members of the NAC’s artistic leadership teams. At the completion of Phase Two, the strongest projects are chosen to advance to the final phase of the selection process.

    The duration of Phase Two varies based on the amount of time you require to compile the necessary information. If your plans are fairly advanced and your team, producing and presenting partners, and funders are in place, we should be able to make a decision relatively quickly; if your plans are still evolving, so too will our conversations.

    Phase Three: Negotiation of Investment Details (Timeline: variable, based on project)

    For projects that are selected to receive an investment, we will work with you to finalize the details, including the timing of investment payments, and the completion of an investment agreement.

  • Our Selection Criteria

    The Fund’s curatorial team makes investment decisions based on the following criteria:

    Phase One Criteria

    • The project is led by Canadian creators in theatre, dance, music and/or inter-disciplinary performing arts;
    • The project is artistically ambitious and compelling;
    • The project has a strong artistic team, and committed producing and presenting partners; and
    • The project is likely to have a national or international impact; and
    • The proposal clearly articulates how the Fund’s investment would enhance the project’s development process and elevate the project to a new level.

    Phase Two Criteria

    • The artistic strength, vision and originality of the project outlined in the proposal;
    • The clarity and ambition of the project outlined in the proposal, and its potential for national and international impact;
    • The feasibility of the project outlined in the proposal –the track record, capacity and resources (financial and organizational) to successfully deliver the project;
    • The potential impact of the Fund’s investment on the project outlined in the proposal; and
    • The financial viability of the project outlined in the proposal
  • Submit a Proposal

    Before sending us a proposal, you should read about projects that have already received Fund investments, and carefully review our investment approach.  You are also encouraged to contact Sarah Conn, the Fund’s Artistic Associate, to discuss your project before making a submission.

    Once you are ready to submit your proposal, follow these steps:

    1. Make sure your project meets our criteria.
    2. Review the Fund’s official Terms and Conditions.
    3. Complete the seven questions on our Phase 1 Project Proposal Form.
    4. Once you have completed the proposal form, create a profile and submit your proposal

    We will send you a confirmation email when your proposal has been received.
    Please do not send us proposals by e-mail or regular mail. 
    We also do not require support materials (audio, video, letters of support, etc.) at this time.

    Still have questions?

    The National Arts Centre is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. Information which you submit to the National Arts Centre in support of your proposal will be handled in accordance with the provisions of these Acts and in accordance with the applicable policies of the National Arts Centre. For more information: Access to Information  |  Privacy

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