The National Creation Fund season runs on the school year calendar. Last Fall, when I was the new kid on the block, I had no idea what lay in store. In alphabetical order, I present the long list of shows - FOR JUST THIS YEAR - that the National Creation Fund has invested in that have been presented on stages this season between September 2022 and May 2023.
3. Backstage at Carnegie Hall
4. Creation Destruction
7. Fall On Your Knees
9. Human Measure
10. I Forgive You
11. In My Body
12. Jusqu'à ce qu'on meure
18. Si jamais vous nous écoutez
19. Si vous voulez de la lumière
20. Sky Dancers
22. Tell Tale Harbour
23. The Breathing Hole
24. The Darkest Dark
25. The First Stone
26. The Storyville Mosquito
27. Un. Deux. Trois.
Before this year is out, I will have borne witness to so many beautiful projects. And this has led me to think about legacy. Not a day goes by that I don't suggest something, only to learn that my predecessor, Heather Moore, in combination with my colleagues, Chris Dearlove and Sarah Conn, had already been thinking along similar lines. Of course they were! In my role as Artistic Producer, I walk along the corridors of a great idea. The Creation Fund was initiated by the late Peter Herrndorf. Ideas, like people, take time to fully reveal themselves. That Peter Herrndorf got to see the Fund come into view, before he passed, stands as testament to the stick-to-itiveness of my predecessor.
The National Arts Centre is a unique place. It runs differently than most arts organisations. Annually, the NAC receives operational funds from Parliament. Since the Act of Parliament that brought the NAC into being, there has been a relationship between Parliament and the organisation. Unlike most arts organisations, the NAC is a Crown Corporation and is not funded by grants. But the NAC does have a responsibility enshrined in that same Parliamentary act to be "a national showcase for the performing arts”, by presenting and developing the sector, and to work with the Canada Council for the Arts.
This brings me back to the Creation Fund, and how we hold a unique and exciting place within the NAC. The Fund was created with a unique identity, one where the support from donors can go directly to the Creation Fund. It's part of the "secret sauce" of what we do. Our job, then, is to keep the vision aloft, and the celebration raucous, to offer a sense of joy to all that's possible through the meeting place of creation and support.
Which brings me back to legacy. When Peter Herrndorf came to the NAC, one of the first things he did was to launch the National Arts Centre Foundation. It’s a separate legal entity, with its own board, that has the ability to raise funds on behalf of the whole NAC. Indeed, any donation made to the NAC is made through the Foundation, and is then granted to key priorities and programs. Without the Foundation, the NAC would not have survived. This mixture of fundraising and responsibility has made it possible for many inspiring things to happen at the NAC. Most notably, the Indigenous Theatre department, led by Kevin Loring and Lori Marchand.
Through Peter Herrndorf's deep devotion to this land, and the belief esteemed donors had in his passion, the idea for a National Creation Fund was born. And through the tireless dedication of the NAC Foundation CEO, Jayne Watson, the funds were then gathered to bring this idea to life. Once there, Heather Moore and Chris Dearlove came onboard to build it. Were any of those puzzle pieces missing, I would not be writing this today.
My school year has been amazing. The list of shows is truly the tip of what's possible. Supporting the Creation Fund and allowing it the space to run separately from the main budget of the NAC has been a gift to both the NAC and - I believe - to the many spaces and places across this land and beyond.
School is not quite out for summer and we have a lot of very exciting shows coming up. Please check the calendar on our "season page". AND we hope you will join us at FTA in Montreal or Luminato in Toronto. There are a whole bunch of incredible Creation Fund shows, and the launch of Materials for Creation, a new book celebrating the first five years of the Fund! Please join us!
Thanks for reading and being part of the Creation Fund journey. And thank you Heather Moore, Jayne Watson and Peter Herrndorf for setting it all in motion.