National Arts Centre announces $25M National Creation Fund

The National Arts Centre today announced the National Creation Fund, a $25 million fund that will support ambitious new Canadian work in theatre, dance and music by artists and arts organizations across Canada. The National Creation Fund will invest in research and development, workshopping and residencies of significant new works. It will also invest in new work that has had a first run, but that needs to go “back into the lab” before it can be remounted and showcased successfully.

“Canadian artists from across the country have told us time and again that they lack the time and resources that are necessary for making truly ambitious new work,” said Heather Moore, Artistic Producer of the National Creation Fund. “Too often, new work is rushed to the stage before it is ready. The National Creation Fund is about investing in the creation process, giving new work the time and resources it needs so that it can achieve its potential, resonate with audiences, and be presented widely beyond its premiere.”

Through the National Creation Fund, the NAC hopes to help Canadian performing artists achieve the kind of national and international success that has been enjoyed by Canadian novelists, singer-songwriters, comedy writers and Quebec filmmakers. Artists in those fields have benefited from champions, such as Jack McClelland, who published some of Canada’s best-known writers, or support systems such as Canadian content regulations, which ensured that Canadian singers and television shows received solid airplay. And while there are good examples of new Canadian work in theatre, dance and music that has received national and international acclaim, ongoing success for high-impact new work in the performing arts has been more elusive. By providing a source of venture capital or ‘risk’ money, The National Creation Fund will give new work by Canadian artists and arts organizations a far better chance to succeed.

“We believe that the National Creation Fund will pave the way for a new model in creation in this country,” said NAC President and CEO Peter Herrndorf. “It will give artists and arts organizations across Canada the time and resources that great work requires, and the chance to achieve the kind national and international success they have long deserved.”


The Fund will invest around $3 million in 15 to 20 projects a year. Investments will vary from tens of thousands of dollars, to hundreds of thousands of dollars – amounts which can truly change the game for a new piece of music, theatre or dance in development. The vast majority of the funds will go to new work by artists and arts organizations across the country. About 30 per cent of the funds will go to projects initiated by the NAC’s artistic teams for the NAC stage. 

The National Creation Fund will select projects with a strong artistic team, a strong producing partner, and the potential for national and international impact. The NAC’s investment will complement other investments from companies, arts funders and producers. The hope is that the Fund’s investment will also encourage other investors.

Projects will be selected through a curatorial process by a small group at the NAC led by Artistic Producer Heather Moore, who has been working with artists across the country for more than a decade through her work as Executive Director and Producer of the NAC’s national Scene festivals. She will be joined by members of the NAC’s artistic leadership, who similarly have an intimate understanding of the performing arts across Canada.

The Fund will also benefit from an artistic advisory committee of artists and arts professionals from across the country who are experts in their field. While the committee will not make investment decisions, it will advise on creation trends, artists to watch, and on how the Fund is performing. More details will be released on the NAC website in March 2017. The National Creation Fund will be ready to receive proposals on November 1, 2017.


The National Creation Fund is fuelled by funds raised from generous donors across the country who responded to the National Arts Centre Foundation’s Creation Campaign, announced on October 28, 2016. With a lead gift from Winnipeg philanthropist Gail Asper, that campaign has raised already $23 million and is on track to meet its $25 million goal.

The National Arts Centre Foundation, which is led by CEO Jayne Watson, would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their generous contributions to the Creation Campaign, supporting the creation of new works of theatre, music and dance in collaboration with artists and arts organizations across the country: Gail Asper, O.C., O.M., LL.D., & Michael Paterson, The Azrieli Foundation, Kimberley Bozak & Philip Deck, Bonnie & John Buhler, Alice & Grant Burton, The Canavan Family Foundation, The Right Honourable/Le très honorable Joe Clark, P.C./C.P., C.C., A.O.E., & Maureen McTeer, Barbara Crook & Dan Greenberg, Danbe Foundation, Thomas d’Aquino & Susan Peterson d’Aquino, Ian & Kiki Delaney, Mohammed A. Faris, Susan Glass & Arni Thorsteinson, Shirley Greenberg, C.M., Reesa Greenberg, The Dianne & Irving Kipnes Foundation, The Honourable/L’honorable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., O.N.B., Janice & Earle O’Born, Gail & David O’Brien, Power Corporation of/du Canada, John & Jennifer Ruddy, Dasha Shenkman OBE, Hon RCM, Phil & Eli Taylor, Donald Walcot, and the countless other Canadians who contributed.


The National Arts Centre collaborates with artists and arts organizations across Canada to help create a national stage for the performing arts, and acts as a catalyst for performance, creation and learning across the country. A home for Canada’s most creative artists, the NAC strives to be artistically adventurous in each of its programming streams – the NAC Orchestra, English Theatre, French Theatre and Dance, as well as the Scene festivals and NAC Presents, which showcase established and emerging Canadian artists. The organization is at the forefront of youth and educational activities, offering artist training, programs for children and youth, and resources for teachers in communities across Canada. The NAC is also a pioneer in new media, using technology to teach students and young artists around the globe, by creating top-rated podcasts, and providing a wide range of NAC Orchestra concerts on demand. The NAC is the only bilingual, multidisciplinary performing arts centre in Canada, and one of the largest in the world.



Rosemary Thompson,
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
National Arts Centre
613 947-7000 x260

Carl Martin
Senior Communications Advisor
National Arts Centre
613 947-7000 x560


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