Taking the risk for art: National Arts Centre unveils details of new $25M National Creation Fund

The initiative — described as “venture capital for the performing arts world” when first introduced in late September — is designed to support artists and arts organizations creating ambitious new works of theatre, dance and music.

‘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.’
– Heather Moore, NAC

It will support “research and development, workshopping and residencies of significant new works” as well as “new work that has had a first run but needs to go ‘back into the lab’ before it can be remounted and showcased successfully,” according to the Ottawa-based NAC.

Heather Moore, NAC

Heather Moore, executive director of the NAC’s biennial Scene festivals for more than a decade, will serve as artistic producer of the Ottawa-based performing arts agency’s new National Creation Fund. (NAC)

“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, who has headed up the NAC’s biennial, multidisciplinary Scene festivals and will serve as artistic producer of the National Creation Fund. 

To be considered (via a curatorial process) to receive funds, projects must:

  • Have a strong artistic team and producing partner 
  • Have the potential for national and international impact
  • Have additional investment from other companies, donors and/or producers (the fund is designed to complement other investments and, ideally, encourage more)

The National Creation Fund is the result of the NAC Foundation’s recent fundraising campaign, which was led by Canadian philanthropist and businesswoman Gail Asper’s $5-million donation: the largest single donation to the performing arts institution in its 47-year history.​

The campaign has so-far raised $23 million, with a goal of raising $25 million overall. 


The new fund got a major boost thanks to National Arts Centre Foundation chair Gail Asper, seen at left with NAC president Peter Herrndorf and arts champion Dasha Shenkman in 2014. Asper’s $5-million gift to the creation campaign is the largest single donation in the NAC’s history. (Fred Cattroll/National Arts Centre)