Street closures around the NAC during the Santa Claus Parade

The National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund invests up to $3 million a year in 15 to 20 projects that meet the following criteria:

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

We invest in the development of a work, not in its presentation or touring. We’re looking for bold projects of scope and scale, and want to fund the additional time and resources these kinds of ambitious projects need to be successful.

The Fund complements traditional funding sources, rather than replacing them. We aren’t the sole investor in a work –the projects we invest in have a number of funders, whether they are arts councils, producing partners, private donors or others. Our intent is not to invest small amounts of money in many projects, but rather make significant investments in 15 to 20 projects. Our investments will range from many tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the nature and scale of the projects. Please see our FAQs for more info.

Our investments are intended to enhance the development process -- they could fund longer creation timelines, additional workshops or work-in-progress showings, new technologies, the best creative teams, or more – the opportunities that risk and innovation demand and that are too rarely available to artists in this country. We want the Fund to be a catalyst for more Canadian artists to make more great work.

We invest both in new work, and in promising productions that need additional development after their first runs to produce stronger, more polished work that will be remounted and toured. A number of these projects may be produced or co-produced by one of our NAC artistic teams, but the majority are projects from “outside” the NAC – from artists and arts organizations across the country.  

Our investment is not connected to receiving presentation opportunities at the NAC.

As an investment fund, we build on-going relationships with the projects we support. Our goal is to provide these projects with the resources they need to bring their work to the next level. These resources include our financial investment, as well as access to expertise, networks, and national and international visibility.

We look for long-term projects where the Fund’s investment can make a significant difference, and with potential for significant growth and impact. While the majority of these projects will not have commercial aspirations, some will. For those that do go on to be commercially successful, we will be looking for a reasonable return on our investment, which will be used to support future Canadian creations.

To learn more about the projects we’ve invested in, please visit our Current Investments.

The selection process

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. Projects are selected through a curatorial process led by the Artistic Producer and a small group at the NAC.

  1. Phase One: Complete a short submission form, which summarizes the key details of the project and what the Fund’s investment would be used for. Submissions are evaluated by a curatorial team led by the Fund’s Artistic Producer and a small group at the NAC. The curatorial team will determine if the project meets the Fund’s investment criteria, and the most attractive of these projects will move to Phase Two. Projects will receive a response within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of submission.
  2. Phase Two: This phase involves conversations with the artists and producing partners to learn more about the project. We will be looking for more detailed artistic, logistical and financial information. Submissions are evaluated by a curatorial team led by the Fund’s Artistic Producer and a small group at the NAC, and we make investment decisions from among the very best of these projects. The duration of this phase will vary based on the amount of time companies require to compile the necessary information. If your plans are fairly advanced and your team, 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.
  3. Phase Three: For projects that are selected to receive an investment, the Fund’s team will work with you to finalize the investment details, including the timeline for the investment payments.

You are encouraged to review our current investments before submitting a proposal.