Photography: Dahlia Katz .

The Aubrey & Marla Dan Fund For New Musicals

The Aubrey & Marla Dan Fund for New Musicals is the first ever fund exclusively for the commissioning of new Canadian musical works. This opportunity is managed by The Musical Stage Company, with funding from The Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation. The fund offers financial and dramaturgical support to creators in creating and developing a first draft of a new musical. Ideas that exemplify the most potential will be awarded an $8,000 commission to cover a 5-week writing period, and a private reading of the first draft.

The Musical Stage Company is committed to the development and production of new Canadian musical works. As such, commissioned projects may subsequently be offered additional development or production opportunities upon completion of the commission. The commission contract will outline the terms of these continued opportunities.

Eligibility & Terms


Individual musical theatre creators, teams of musical theatre creators, and theatre creation collectives are all welcome to apply. Projects should be in an early phase of conception or development. If a completed first draft already exists, the project may be too far along for this program unless writers are looking to do substantial reconceiving, essentially generating a new first draft. Applicants must be Canadian citizens, but do not need to be based in Canada.  Creative teams applying should consist of 50% or more Canadian artists.

Commission Terms

Commission terms will include billing in future productions, and a small share in future proceeds from subsidiary rights and commercial productions pending continued development and production from The Musical Stage Company.

Commission Schedule

  • Upon signing the Commission Agreement, creators will receive $4,000 (of the total $8,000 commission amount).
  • Creators will select a 5-week writing period falling within eight months of notification of
    selection to dedicate their time to the writing of a first draft.
  • At the end of the writing period, creators shall deliver the first draft to The Musical Stage Company, defined as a minimum 50-minutes of material along with synopses of missing scenes and a minimum of eight (8) songs.
  • On the final days of the writing period, The Musical Stage Company shall fund an informal two-day reading of the first draft with a cast of professional actors.
  • Upon The Musical Stage Company’s receipt of the first draft, creators shall receive the remaining $4,000 (of the total $8,000 commission amount).
  • Following the receipt of the first draft, The Musical Stage Company may exercise the right to pay an additional development fee of $2,000 to the creators in order to acquire further development rights.


Submission Streams

The fund is granted via two streams:


  • The Musical Stage Company may identify prospective projects and directly invite creators to submit a proposal and subsequently present more information about the project to The Musical Stage Company team at any time of the year.


  • Open Call for submissions shall be announced and broadly circulated in March of each calendar year with selected projects receiving an invitation to meet a The Musical Stage Company jury in person for a presentation.

All submissions are reviewed and assessed by The Musical Stage Company jury. Each year, 2 projects will be selected for commission. While The Musical Stage Company endeavours to select at least 1 project for commissioning through each stream, there is no guaranteed minimum.


Important Dates for the Open Call

Submission info for the next open call will be made available in March 2020.

Application Info

How to Apply to the Open Call

Submissions shall be comprised of:


  • This should include: what the project is about, what you need developmentally/creatively, why it is a fit for The Musical Stage Company, and a list of any existing developmental partners


  • Two audio samples from the proposed project (preferred), or from a previous work by the applicant(s)

NOTE FOR RE-SUBMISSIONS: If you are re-applying with a piece that was submitted and not selected in a previous year, we ask that you address any new developments with the piece since its previous submission.

Projects invited to submit via Invitations will prepare the same submission package as noted above.

If you have any questions, please email Aaron Willis (Associate Artistic 
Director), at

Presentations for the Open Call

Creators who have submitted projects through the Open Call that have been selected for in-person presentations will be notified of their selection via e-mail.

Presentations shall be made to a jury of The Musical Stage Company staff, possibly including but not limited to: Artistic & Managing Director, Associate Artistic Director, and Director of New Musical Development. Some presentations may be audited by select invited guests.

Presentations will be allocated a 45-minute time slot (30 minutes for presentation & 15 minutes for questions). While the presentation may be in whatever manner the applicants deem most helpful, it is recommended that each presentation includes the following:

  • A synopsis;
  • Excerpts of scenes; and
  • At least 2 songs (one of which must be from the project being presented).

A piano will be provided in the room. Creators are responsible for assembling any additional resources they require for their presentation. The presentation is intended to be casual and conversational – while the creators may curate their presentation as they wish – it is not the intention to make creators feel obligated to integrate additional artists or incur any costs.

Projects invited to submit via Invitations will prepare the same presentation content as noted above.



For any questions about the Aubrey & Marla Dan Fund for New Musicals, please email Aaron Willis (Associate Artistic Director) at

Leading Lights

The Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation