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Guidelines for Applicants Dance & Theatre

The Arts Council’s criteria for support as well as information about the procedures for submitting an application and the deadlines are contained in the Guidelines for applicants.

1. General conditions

Status: January 2020

Pro Helvetia promotes Swiss dance and theatre, in order to foster both the diversity and the national and international reach of these fields. It supports the creation of productions, their dissemination abroad, cultural exchange within Switzerland and activities dedicated to conveying dance and theatre to a wider audience. As a national foundation, Pro Helvetia complements the promotional activities of Switzerland’s cantons and municipalities. The Arts Council only supports projects of transregional or international significance. Funding focuses on projects that contribute to intensifying the touring activities of Swiss theatre and dance companies in Switzerland and abroad.

To qualify for support from Pro Helvetia, the project must

  • be clearly connected to Switzerland;
  • be of nationwide importance;
  • be publicly accessible;
  • be adequately co-financed by other public or private sponsors (incl. event organisers).

2. Scope of promotion

2.1 Work grants

Pro Helvetia supports the creation of new theatre, music theatre and dance productions by funding:

  • productions by independent theatre, music theatre and dance companies from Switzerland;
  • Co-productions by Swiss and foreign theatre companies.

To be eligible for support, productions must:

  • provide evidence of at least one co-producer and several performances in Switzerland.

Priority is given to projects according to:

  • artistic relevance
  • the number and quality of co-producers and performance dates
  • touring potential

Revivals of productions are eligible for support if several performances have been confirmed and if at least four years have passed since the last performance.

Pro Helvetia supports playwrights through work grants provided by the Literature Department (see Guidelines Literature) or in connection with author promotion programmes. The latter are advertised on the Pro Helvetia website and in professional publications.

2.2 Project contributions

2.2.1 Guest performances in Switzerland

Pro Helvetia supports guest performances by independent dance and theatre companies and by institutional ensembles at nationally recognised venues and festivals in a Swiss language region other than their own.

2.2.2 Guest performances abroad

Pro Helvetia supports guest performances by independent dance and theatre companies and by institutional ensembles at internationally recognised venues and festivals offering appropriate financial terms and conditions. Priority is given to tours involving several performances and cities. As a rule, support is calculated based on the actual travel and transportation expenses. In order to strengthen the international competitiveness of independent companies, Pro Helvetia may grant additional funding for tour-promoting activities.

Pro Helvetia may also grant translation/surtitling funding to productions of dance and theatre companies with a transregional impact at renowned venues, festivals or platforms abroad or in a  Swiss language region other than their own.

Further information on translation funding

2.2.3 Viewing trips

Pro Helvetia covers the hotel expenses of programme and event organisers travelling from other language regions in Switzerland or from abroad to view productions by independent Swiss dance and theatre companies.

2.2.4 Travel grants

Pro Helvetia provides travel grants to the touring managers of independent dance and theatre companies to promote their international networking at important festivals and other relevant events outside of Switzerland. To be eligible for such grants, the represented dance and theatre companies must be receiving regular support from Pro Helvetia. Not eligible for support are touring managers of companies supported by cooperative funding agreements. Support is calculated based on the actual travel and accommodation expenses.

Pro Helvetia fosters international knowledge exchange. Eligible for support are specialists contributing to the content of public events outside of Switzerland on topics linked to Swiss dance and theatre. As a rule, support is calculated based on the actual travel expenses. Applications must be submitted by event organisers.

2.2.5 Folk theatre

Pro Helvetia supports folk theatre projects in Switzerland distinguished by their high thematic and artistic relevance and addressing a transregional audience.

Factsheet Support for Folk Theatre Projects

2.2.6 Arts and audience projects

Pro Helvetia supports arts and audience projects in Switzerland that engage audiences first-hand with professional artistic creation and thereby enhance public awareness of artistic works and presentations. Projects are considered for promotion if they adopt an innovative approach to developing educational outreach, and thus are exemplary and of national importance, or if they involve different language regions in Switzerland.

Factsheet Promotion of Arts and Audience Outreach

2.2.7 Residencies

Pro Helvetia supports residencies and research trips of Swiss dance and theatre practitioners in China, India (or other south Asian countries), Russia, Egypt (or other Arab countries) and southern Africa.

Guidelines Residencies

2.2.8 Publications and translations

Pro Helvetia supports the publication of works by professionally qualified Swiss authors approaching Swiss dance and theatre productions from a contemporary perspective.

Pro Helvetia also supports the translation of non-fiction publications addressing Swiss dance and theatre productions from a contemporary perspective. Authors are not required to be Swiss nationals.

Pro Helvetia may also grant translation/surtitling funding to productions of dance and theatre companies with a transregional impact at renowned venues, festivals or platforms abroad or in a Swiss language region other than their own.

Factsheet Promotion of thematic publications

2.3 Promotion of aspiring artists

Pro Helvetia supports aspiring artists primarily in collaboration with recognised institutions in Switzerland and abroad (production sites, festivals, arts universities, etc.). Promotion is aimed at dance and theatre artists with outstanding potential and prospects of a national or an international career. Aspiring dance and theatre artists are supported during the first five years of their professional artistic career either after earning an arts degree or after the first public presentation of their work. The upper age limit for support is 35. Only projects serving to establishing the artist in a professional environment at national and international level are eligible for support.

3. Exclusions

Pro Helvetia provides no support if

  • the same part of the project is already supported by other Federal institutions (e.g. Swiss Federal Office of Culture, Presence Switzerland, Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation);
  • the project is part of a school, college or university curriculum or a training course (incl. research projects, theses, dissertations, diploma projects, scholarship projects, etc.);
  • the support is intended for infrastructure or equipment costs, or for the operational costs of cultural institutions, archives or collections;
  • the project is not dependent on financial support.

Pro Helvetia’s Dance & Theatre Division is unable to consider funding applications for:

  • engagements of individual artists for productions abroad;
  • scenic readings;
  • teatre sports projects.

4. Dossier contents

An application to Pro Helvetia must contain the following items:

  • project description;
  • performance venues and dates and confirmation from the venues;
  • details of the company or institution and of all principal project participants;
  • press review and video documentation;
  • budget and financial plan including the amount of funding requested from Pro Helvetia.

In addition, the following documents must be submitted in case of productions and co-productions:

  • staging concept;
  • theatre script  (if available).

Funding applications for translations must include:

  • translation cost estimate;
  • translator details.

Pro Helvetia accepts applications exclusively via myprohelvetia.ch.

5. Application deadlines and time until decision is taken

Decisions on applications will be taken within the following deadlines:

Application typeApplication deadline / Processing timeBeginning of event
Applications dealt with by a jury, irrespective of the amount of the contribution (work grants)1 September / 4 monthsJanuary – June
1 March / 4 monthsJuly – December
All other applications:
Applications of up to CHF 25‘000 ongoing, at the latest eight weeks before the beginning of the event / 8 weeks
Applications between CHF 25‘001 and CHF 50'000ongoing, at the latest four months before the beginning of the event / 4 monthsFrom 1 January
Applications over CHF 50'0001 September / 4 monthsFrom 1 January
1 December / 4 monthsFrom 1 April
1 March / 4 monthsFrom 1 July
1 June / 4 monthsFrom 1 October

6. Processing of applications

6.1 Pre-assessment

Pro Helvetia decides to process an application only if

  • the project in question fulfils the general criteria for support (cf. section 1);
  • there is no reason for exclusion (cf. section 3);
  • the application is complete and has been submitted on time (cf. sections 4 and 5).

6.2 Qualitative evaluation

Pro Helvetia assesses whether

  • the project fulfils the requirements of high artistic and technical quality;
  • the project is executed in accordance with professional standards;
  • the costs are proportionate to the impact expected;
  • the project is likely to have a long-term impact.

6.3 Decision-making bodies

  • Applications which are reviewed with by a jury: The decision on applications is taken by the director of Pro Helvetia on recommendation of a jury.
  • Applications which are not reviewed by a jury (in the case of multi-year support agreements, the amount of funding per year is decisive):
    • The decision on applications of up to CHF 25’000 is taken by the responsible division at Pro Helvetia.
    • The decision on applications between CHF 25‘001 and 50‘000 is taken by the responsible sector head at Pro Helvetia.
    • The decision on applications for more than CHF 50‘000 is taken by the director of Pro Helvetia at the request of the Committee of Experts.

6.4 Notification of a decision

A decision is communicated without detailed reasons being given. On receipt of the decision, applicants can demand an official decision statement from Pro Helvetia against which an appeal can be lodged.

6.5 Obligations of recipients of support from Pro Helvetia

A pledge of support by Pro Helvetia places certain obligations on the applicants. If the applicants do not fulfil these obligations, Pro Helvetia is entitled to reduce the amount of support accordingly or demand a refund of support payments already made.

Factsheet for Grant Recipients

6.6 Disbursement

Pro Helvetia makes the support payments only after a final report, including the accounts, has been examined. Advance payments are possible on request. Unless the applicants notify Pro Helvetia of any delays, funding expires at the latest one year after the project’s closing date specified in the application dossier. If no closing date has been specified, Pro Helvetia sets deadlines itself.

6.7 Appeals

Decision statements from Pro Helvetia can be appealed within 30 days of the date of receipt. The appeals must be lodged with the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht). An appeal must include the original application as well as the reasons for the appeal, including appropriate evidence, and must be signed by the appellant. The decision statement being appealed against needs to be enclosed as evidence. Appellants bear the costs of this procedure.

Appeals are to be submitted to:
CH-9023 St. Gallen

7. Purpose of the guidelines and legal basis

The guidelines explain what is needed to submit a complete application for support from Pro Helvetia for an artistic or a cultural project, what the criteria for the evaluation of an application are, what deadlines and procedures apply, and what legal steps can be taken. The guidelines supplement the Grant Ordinance (Verordnung über Beiträge der Stiftung Pro Helvetia) adopted by Pro Helvetia’s Board of Trustees on 27 November 2019 as well as the Arts and Culture Promotion Act (Kulturförderungsgesetz) of 11 December 2009 and the Arts and Culture Promotion Ordinance (Kulturförderungsverordnung) of 23 November 2011. These legal documents can be accessed (in German, French and Italian) on Pro Helvetia’s website at



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