Street closures around NAC - Canada Day weekend

The National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund (the Fund) will invest 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, and music;
  • They are artistically ambitious and compelling;
  • They have a strong artistic team and a strong producing or presenting partner; and
  • They are likely to have a national or international impact.

We will 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. Our investments could fund longer creation timelines, additional workshopping 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’ll 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 small number of these projects may be produced or co-produced by one of our NAC artistic teams, but the vast majority will be projects from “outside” the NAC – from artists and arts organizations across the country.  

The Fund will complement traditional funding sources, rather than replace them. We won’t be the sole investor in a work – we expect the projects we invest in will have a number of funders, be they arts councils, producing partners, private donors or others. Our investments will range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the nature and scale of the projects.

The selection process

We will 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 will be selected through a curatorial process led by the Artistic Producer and a small group at the NAC.

We will evaluate projects in three phases.  First, they must meet the Fund’s investment criteria. The most attractive of these projects will go through a second phase of consideration that will involve conversations with the artists as well as more detailed artistic and financial information. Finally, we will make investment decisions from among the very best of these projects.

How to submit a proposal

The National Creation Fund will open for business on November 1, 2017, and will begin receiving proposals at that time.

Our aim is to keep the submission process as simple as possible: we’re looking for two or three pages outlining your project, how it fits our criteria, and how the National Creation Fund will make your project even better.

In this initial phase we are not asking for detailed budgets, extensive documentation, 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.

Your proposal should include the following information: 

  • Your artistic team: Who are the key creators, and what work have they done?
  • Your producing and presenting partners: Who are the companies or organizations committed to putting your work on the stage?
  • A description of your project, both on an artistic and a practical level: excite us about your artistic vision, but also tell us about the technical and production plans. Is it a multimedia work for a large traditional performance space with a cast of 20 or an orchestra, or an intimate, immersive site-specific piece? We are open to all types of work – we just want to have a clear understanding of the project.
  • Your development plans and a timeline: Tell us how the work will be created, and over what period – research, residencies, workshops, public showings, presentations. We expect that most successful projects will be in development for several years.  What are your long-term ambitions for the work?
  • Your budget: Just the broad strokes at this stage, identifying the anticipated development costs, estimated presentation costs, and your confirmed and anticipated sources of revenue.
  • A statement of what you are looking for from the NCF: How will our investment make your project better?


In October 2017 we’ll post a downloadable PDF for your proposal. We’re not trying to fit your project into a box, we just want to focus your proposal on the key information we need at this initial stage and give everyone a level playing field. You can submit your proposal any time after November 1, 2017.

There are currently no fixed deadlines for submissions. Send us your proposal when you and your project are ready.

We will review proposals as we receive them. You’ll hear from us in four to six weeks whether your project will move forward to the next phase of consideration. If your project doesn’t meet our criteria, or is not as strong as other submissions, we’ll let you know then.

If your project makes it past this initial phase, we’ll need more information and will be in touch to start a conversation. 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.

From there, timing will vary. If your plans are fairly advanced and your teams, 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. Should we decide not to invest in your project, we’ll let you know right away. We may also choose to pass on a project in its initial stages, but to reconsider investment later as the project moves forward.

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