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;
  • have a strong artistic team and be artistically ambitious and compelling; 
  • have committed Canadian and/or international producing and presenting partners; 
  • have long-term national or international impact, including through touring; and  
  • have a significant amount of confirmed funding and a clear plan for how our investment would enhance your development process and elevate the project 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 $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 a year in 10 to 20 projects.  To date, our investments have ranged from $80,000 to $240,000. 

We invest in work that reflects the vitality and diversities of Canada  

We support bold and ambitious work representing a diversity of disciplines, abilities,  genders, ethnicities, languages, cultures, and regions.  

We invest in new and existing work.

We invest in new work; we also invest 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 accepting proposals from artists and arts organizations.

Our curatorial team consists of the Fund’s Artistic Producer, members of the NAC Artistic Leadership team, and invited external artists and arts professionals. 

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

We aren’t the sole investor in a project: we provide support above and beyond funding from arts councils, producing partners, donors, and others.  We are interested in projects that have this traditional funding in place and are looking to use our additional investment to take their development to a new level.  

Our investments enhance and expand the development process.

Our investments do not support presentation and touring costs. We support development opportunities that are rarely available to artists in this country and 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. Visit Our Investments to learn how projects have made use of the Fund’s investments. 

Our investment does not come with an NAC presentation.

An investment does not guarantee the project will be presented by 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 many 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.

  • Access Support

    Artists and producers may choose various ways to communicate with us:

    • Written English and French
    • Spoken English and French
    • American Sign Language (ASL) – notification must be made in advance of meetings
    • Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) – notification must be made in advance of meetings

    We offer financial assistance to pay someone to help with the submission process to those who self-identify as: 

    • Deaf, hard of hearing, having a disability or living with a mental illness;
    • a First Nations, Inuit, or Métis artist experiencing geographic, language and / or cultural barriers.

    Please contact us (e-mail Jean-Paul Courtemanche  or call 866-850-2787 ext. 546) to pursue this option.

  • 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 a development period of several years.

    Before submitting your proposal, we strongly 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. 

    We welcome written proposals using our Phase 1 Project Proposal Form. There are four formats available: standard, plain text, large print, and large print with high contrast (yellow text on black). Additional formats are available upoun request. 

    The proposal form is available in English and French. However, you are welcome to fill out this proposal form in any language. We also accept video and audio proposals; the maximum lengths are included on the proposal form. 

    Submissions are evaluated by our curatorial team consisting of the Fund’s Artistic Producer, members of the NAC’s Artistic Leadership team, and invited external artists and arts professionals. 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. 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

    Throughout our process, we consider diversity of discipline, gender, ability, ethnicity, language, culture, and geography.

    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 has a strong artistic team and is artistically ambitious and compelling; 
    • The project has committed Canadian and/or international producing and presenting partners; 
    • The project has long term national or international impact, including through touring; and  
    • The project has a significant amount of confirmed funding and a clear plan for how our investment would enhance your development process and elevate the project to a new level. 

    Phase Two Criteria

    • The artistic strength, vision and originality of the project;
    • The clarity and ambition of the project, and its national and international impact, including through touring; 
    • The feasibility of the project: the team’s track record, capacity, and resources (financial and organizational) to successfully deliver the project; 
    • The potential of the Fund’s investment to enhance the project’s development process; and 
    • The financial viability of the project. 
  • Submit a Proposal

    Before sending us a proposal, you should read about the projects that have received Fund investments, and review our investment approach.  We strongly encourage you 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 ten questions on our Phase 1 Project Proposal Form. There are four formats available: standard, plain text, large print, and large print with high contrast (yellow text on black). Additional formats are available upon request. 
    4. Email your completed form to creation@nac-cna.ca
    5. We will send you a confirmation email when your proposal has been received. 

    The proposal form is available in English and French, both in standard and alternate formats. You are welcome to fill out the form in any language. We also accept video and audio proposals; the maximum lengths are included on the proposal form.

    We offer paid proposal assistance. Please see Access Support for more information. 

    We also do not require support materials (audio, video, letters of support, etc.) in Phase 1. 

    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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