OTTAWA – In its third year, the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund, which supports the development of ambitious new works by Canadian artists and arts organizations, is pleased to announce investments in 13 projects across the country by some of Canada’s top creators. The NAC is proud to partner with this outstanding group of Canadian artists and companies, whose range of work is truly inspiring. 

Fuelled entirely by donors to the NAC’s Creation Campaign, the National Creation Fund is a catalyst for Canadian artists to take their projects to a new level. Its investments provide the additional time and resources that bold projects in music, theatre, dance and interdisciplinary performing arts need to be successful on the national and international stage. 

“The disruption COVID-19 has brought to artists and arts organizations has created challenges, causing many to face uncertain futures,” said Heather Moore, the Fund’s Executive Producer.  “The Fund has played a critical role in supporting Canadian artists and companies through these difficult times.”

Many of these projects are based on personal stories:  Forgiveness, Hiro Kamagama’s theatrical adaptation of Mark Sakamoto’s award-winning memoir; Young People Theatre’s The Darkest Dark, inspired by the internationally best-selling children’s book by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield;  Choreographer Crazy Smooth’s In My Body, drawn from his feelings of vulnerability as an aging street dancer; and Tanya Tagaq’s Split Tooth, based on her novel of the same name that offers a radical vision of Arctic futurism.  

Others are challenging us to see the world differently, taking on issues of racism, inclusion, and compassion:  Backstage at Carnegie Hall uses music to examine generations of racial and class-based trauma;  Sky Dancers explores the generational impact of the Quebec Bridge disaster of 1907, which killed 33 ironworkers from the Mohawk community of Kahnawake; Everything Has Disappeared imagines the impact of  a mysterious disappearance of the entire Filipinx global migrant workforce; and I Forgive You tells of Scott Jones’s uncommonly early path to forgiveness after a brutal homophobic attack.  

The National Creation Fund is made possible through the generous support of donors from across the country to the National Arts Centre Foundation’s Creation Campaign.  The NAC is proud to join other partners in creative development, including the Canada Council for the Arts, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Centre de Création O Vertigo – CCOV, and many more. 



The following are the 13 latest projects supported by the Fund, which will receive investments from private donations totaling $1.94M.


Backstage at Carnegie Hall 

Bradyworks and Black Theatre Workshop 

Composed by Tim Brady, libretto by Audrey Dwyer


Dans le nuage 

La Messe Basse

Co-concept development, writing and direction by Maxime Carbonneau and Laurence Dauphinais


The Darkest Dark 

Young People’s Theatre

Based on the book by Chris Hadfield with Kate Fillion, adapted for the stage by Jim Millan and Ian MacIntyre 


Do you mind if I sit here? 

Theatre Replacement 

Written by Marcus Youssef, directed by James Long


Everything Has Disappeared 

Mammalian Diving Reflex and UNIT Productions

Co-written and co-directed by Hazel Venzon and Darren O’Donnell 



Arts Club Theatre Company and Theatre Calgary 

Written by Hiro Kanagawa, directed by Stafford Arima, based on the book by Mark Sakamoto


Frontière Nord 

Le Carrousel, compagnie de théâtre 

Written by Suzanne Lebeau, directed by Gervais Gaudrealt, music by Roland Auzet


I Forgive You 

Artistic Fraud

Written by Robert Chafe, directed by Jillian Keiley 


In My Body 

Crazy Smooth

Choreography by Crazy Smooth 


Jusqu’à ce qu’on meure 


Directed by Brigitte Poupart 


Sky Dancers 

A’nó:wara Dance Theatre

Choreography and direction by Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo


Split Tooth 

Tanya Tagaq 

Music and story by Tanya Tagaq, directed by Kaneza Schaal 


The Trojan Girls 

Outside the March 

Written by Gillian Clark, directed by Mitchell Cushman



"It's been enormously gratifying to collaborate with a team of Canadian theatre practitioners on Hiro Kanagawa's adaptation of Mark Sakamoto's inspirational memoir, "Forgiveness: A Gift from My Grandparents." This work is a beacon of light within these turbulent times. Bringing theatrical storytelling to this true story of adversity and forgiveness will illuminate historical and human conditions issues that are as relevant today as they were over 70 years ago. This is also a very personal project for me as my father, grandmother, aunts, and uncles were interned in British Columbia during World War II. I believe 2021 is a year of new beginnings and chapters, and I am abundantly excited that Forgiveness is part of this time of developmental awakenings," Stafford Arima, Forgiveness.

“The support from the National Creation Fund is vital to our process. We’re able to incorporate varied components (integrating 360° illustration designs and illusion/mentalism while testing out the community engagement formats) at the earliest stages of development of the script, merging together each component with careful consideration and attention. Typically, the lack of funds dedicated to design and multiple disciplines limits the creation process and therefore limits the end result. Being supported by the Fund allows us the time to work in conjunction with multiple components as they are all equally integral and valuable to the creative process - we are very grateful for that,” Hazel Venzon, Everything Has Disappeared. 

“The Quebec Bridge disaster is an important moment in history for my community of Kahnawake and one that is very close to my heart. Sky Dancers is an A’nó:wara Dance Theatre production inspired by the disaster, which we have been developing over the last few years. We are grateful for the National Creation Fund’s support that will enable us to attain the production values that actually reflect our vision conceptually, musically, and choreographically. While the COVID-19 restrictions of the last year have been frustrating, they have nonetheless provided more time for the ideas, concepts, and creativity to continue to grow. We are excited that this production allows us to continue to build connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and we eagerly look forward to when we will finally be able to share this work with audiences. Nia:wen.” Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo, Sky Dancers

“Creating my most ambitious project ever during a global pandemic has been a challenging and yet deeply rewarding experience. It has required me and my artistic dream team to explore innovations in our creative process as we pursue the realization of my vision for In My Body within the public health guidelines - including isolation. A creative process within the creative process if you will! This project is supported not only by a CanDance Creation grant and a CCOV Long Term Residency, but by a significant investment from the National Creation Fund as well. With these resources I have been able to work with exceptional multidisciplinary creators, combining production and technical elements to add a level of complexity and depth to the work which I would not have been able to achieve alone. It has been a surprisingly rich experience for us all during such a dark time in the world,” Performer and choreographer Yvon Soglo, alias Crazy Smooth, In My Body.


The National Creation Fund was created by the National Arts Centre to address the “creation gap” – the lack of time and resources required for Canadian performing artists and arts organizations to create compelling, ambitious and fully realized new work. The Fund officially opened on November 1, 2017. Supported entirely by generous donors, it makes investments of two to three million dollars a year in the development of 10 to 20 compelling and ambitious new Canadian works in theatre, dance, music and inter-disciplinary performing arts.

The Fund is a catalyst for Canadian artists to take their projects to a new level. The investments provide the additional time and resources that bold projects need to be The Fund selects projects led by Canadian creators that have a strong artistic team, committed producing and presenting partners, and the potential for national and international impact. The Fund invests in research and development, workshopping and residencies of significant new works. It also invests in new works that have had a first run, but that need to go “back into the lab” before they can be remounted and showcased successfully.

In addition to the 13 new projects announced today, the Fund has also invested in 35 other projects, bringing its total investments over three years to $7.4 million in 48 projects. They can be viewed in full on the National Creation Fund’s webpage.


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, the campaign exceeded 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, Michel Collette, Barbara Crook & Dan Greenberg, Danbe Foundation, Thomas d’Aquino & Susan Peterson d’Aquino, Ian & Kiki Delaney, Amoryn Engel, Mohammed A. Faris, Susan Glass & Arni Thorsteinson, Shirley Greenberg, C.M., Reesa Greenberg, The Dianne & Irving Kipnes Foundation, Dr. Kanta Marwah, Janice & Earle O’Born, Gail O’Brien, LL.D. & David O’Brien, O.C., Onex Corporation, Power Corporation of/du Canada, The Alan & Roula Rossy Family Foundation, John & Jennifer Ruddy, Dasha Shenkman OBE, Hon RCM, Phil & Eli Taylor, Donald Walcot, Gary Zed, and the countless other Canadians who contributed.


The National Arts Centre (NAC) is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. As part of its Strategic Plan, the NAC’s vision is to lead and support the renewal of the performing arts sector. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety — and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe.



 Andrea Ruttan

Communications Strategist


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