Incite Foundation for the Arts Pledges $500,000 in Support of Theatre Aquarius’ National Centre for New Musicals

Incite Foundation for the Arts Pledges $500,000 in Support of Theatre Aquarius’ National Centre for New Musicals

Sep 18, 2023

Theatre Aquarius
National Centre for New Musicals


Sep 18, 2023

Theatre Aquarius
National Centre for New Musicals

HAMILTON, ON. September 18, 2023. Today, Theatre Aquarius unveiled the anchor funders for the National Centre for New Musicals (NCNM) with an afternoon event attended by industry leaders, artists, agents, producers and directors as well as local community members and supporters.

Theatre Aquarius’ Artistic Director Mary Francis Moore and Executive Director Kelly Straughan were joined by NCNM Advisory Committee Co-Chairs Michael Rubinoff and Lily Ling and Advisory Member Sean Mayes.

“We are thrilled to announce Hamilton-based INCITE FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS as the presenting sponsor for the National Centre for New Musicals pledging $500,000 over 5 years,” noted Kelly Straughan, Executive Director of Theatre Aquarius.

“We see Incite as the perfect partner for NCNM and are so grateful for their incredible support.” commented Artistic Director of Theatre Aquarius, Mary Francis Moore.

Mary Francis Moore & Kelly Straughan Announce Incite Foundation as Anchor Funder as well as Founding Members. Photo by Melissa Bennett.

Michael Rubinoff, Co-Chair of the National Centre for New Musicals discusses the need for a program like this in Canada. Photo by Melissa Bennett.

The Incite Foundation For the Arts co-founders, Carl and Kate Turkstra, shared a passion for Hamilton’s cultural community and a fervent belief in the power of the arts to enrich communities socially and economically.  

“Incite is thrilled to be able to provide this support in the critical start-up phase of the National Centre for New Musicals. We are excited to see the impact of this program not only within our city and region but nationally and internationally,” said Liz Stirling, Executive Director of the Foundation. “Carl and Kate were very clear that they wanted the foundation’s giving to incite other Hamiltonians to join in support of our cultural sector. I know they would be delighted to hear how this gift has done just that.”

Also announced was the support of the inaugural FOUNDING MEMBERS of NCNM, a group of passionate private donors each committing sustained funds over a 5-year period. Philip Lowry and Mel Athulmathuldali, Rob Braley and a donor who wished to remain anonymous form part of this prestigious group.

“Mel and I are so excited to see this program find its home at Theatre Aquarius. We’ve been incredibly impressed at the nimbleness and visionary leadership we’ve seen at the theatre under Mary Francis and Kelly and can’t wait to see these new musical projects develop and come to life in Hamilton,” said Philip Lowry, co-funder and former Board Chair at Aquarius.

At the event guests were treated to inspiring performances from 33 1/3  a musical currently in development at Aquarius, by Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey; Pollyanna the Musical by Stephen Gallagher with music by Linda Barnett – which will have its World Premiere at Theatre Aquarius this Holiday Season; and the musical Beautiful Scars by Tom Wilson and Shaun Smyth based on Tom Wilson’s book Beautiful Scars: Steeltown Secrets, Mohawk Skywalkers and the Road Home whichalso to have its world premiere as the final production in Theatre Aquarius’ 50th Season.

The process for submissions and application dates were announced to attendees and are now available on our website. For more information on NCNM presented by INCITE, or how you can be involved as a funder or partner, please visit

Learn more about the National Centre for New Musicals Here View Application Criteria for NCNM here

Media Contact
Melissa Bennett
Interim Marketing Director

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