Announcing the 2023 RISER Edmonton Artists

Alongside our friends at Why Not Theatre, Common Ground Arts Society is elated to announce the second round of projects to participate in RISER Edmonton.

Through RISER Edmonton, four Edmonton-based performing artists and companies will receive support from Common Ground Arts Society and our Senior Partners in the form of rehearsal and performance space, technical and creative support, and a year of mentorship and project development. This year Shyanne Duquette, Ashleigh Hicks, Carly Neis, and Connor Yuzwenko-Martin make up the participating RISER company, whose year of support have been underway throughout Spring and Summer 2022.

Join us in the Backstage Theatre at the Fringe Theatre Arts Barns for:

January 31 – February 12, 2023
Omisimawiw by Shyanne Duquette
After Faust by Connor Yuzwenko-Martin

February 21 – March 5, 2023
In My Own Little Corner, In My Own Little Chair by Carly Neis
MINE by Ashleigh Hicks (Staged Reading March 3-4)

Read on to learn more about our participants and their projects!

Tickets, performance schedules, and more will be available at in December 2022. Click here to join the CGAS mailing list for ticket on-sale announcements, and more details about applications for RISER 2024, all coming soon!

About Shyanne:
Shyanne Duquette is a Cree mixed-blood multidisciplinary artist based in Amiskwacî (Edmonton). Recently graduating from the University of Alberta (2021), they have explored a variety of roles in the theatre industry including producing, marketing, directing, designing, and acting. They have been fortunate in receiving developmental support for Omisimawiw from Tarragon Theatre’s Young Playwrights Unit, Nextfest 2022, and RISER 2023. Previous credits include The Herd (Citadel Theatre, Tarragon Theatre), From Paris Without Return/Mirror of Venus (University of Alberta’s New Works festival 2020, costume design), and Skriker (University of Alberta – Abbedam 2018). When not creating art they can be found bundled in blankets in their apartment with their cat Kelso playing The Sims franchise.

About Omisimawiw:
Omisimawiw (oh-miss-si-mah-woo) is a story about reconnection, an unexpected meeting on the LRT, and the awkward questions around identity that come after.

Omisimawiw will premiere as part of RISER January 31-February 12, 2022 alongside the premiere of After Faust by Connor Yuzwenko-Martin.

Also collaborating on Omisimawiw are Emily Berard (Actor), Skye Grinde (Set/Costume Designer), Anthony Hunchak (Production Technical Director), Demaris Moon Walker (Actor), SeaSea Nemecek (Dramaturge), and Kim Turner (Stage Manager).

From Shyanne:
“Receiving professional theatrical developmental help through RISER has been a fabulous opportunity wherein I’ve met many fantastic individuals and learned the ins and outs of theatrical production. I’m excited to pass this knowledge on and continue developing the Edmonton arts scene through my work and by aiding other artists as much as I can.”
-Shyanne Duquette

About Ashleigh:
Ashleigh Hicks (they/she) is a queer playwright, performer, dramaturg, and clown. Born in Unama’ki (Cape Breton) and currently Alberta-based, they spent their pre-pandemic time working in amiskwaciwâskahikan and Mohkínstsis (Edmonton and Calgary). Ash holds a BA Honours in Drama (First Class Standing) from the University of Alberta, and they trained in clown and neobouffon at the Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation & Performance, where they were a 2018 artist-in-residence. Their work has been seen on stages from Vancouver to Montreal, and in recent years, she has focused her writing practise on ensemble pieces exploring North American labour history.

About MINE:
Hundreds of feet below the ocean floor, in the dark, in the damp, the men of the deeps mine for coal. Down below, they’re forced to crawl – but on the surface, they’ll resist, and rise again. Based on an unbelievable true story, MINE shares the struggle of the revolutionary Cape Breton coal mining communities at the turn of the twentieth century.

MINE will debut as a staged reading as part of RISER 2023 March 3-4, 2023 alongside the run of In My Own Little Corner, In My Own Little Chair by Carly Neis.

Also collaborating on MINE is Evan Medd (Dramaturg).

From Ashleigh:
MINE is definitely my most ambitious project to date, and I’m so grateful to RISER for the opportunity to develop it further. To be able to reconnect with my hometown and this part of its history, to share this story with people thousands of kilometres and a century away from where and when it happened – it’s an honour and a gift.”
-Ashleigh Hicks

About Carly:
Carly (she/her) is a disabled Edmonton-based actor, playwright, and arts advocate with Cerebral Palsy. A graduate of MacEwan University’s Arts and Cultural Management program.  Recently Carly has expanded her practice to make the entertainment industry accessible for all as a Disability Arts Consultant. Carly debuted Tune to A as a playwright and performer in 2022, co-created with Cynthia Jimenez-Hicks and Cameron Kneteman. It is a play for young audiences about seeing past others’ limitations to illuminate their potential. Carly has also been asked to be on a number of panel discussions centred around her advocacy work; Most recently: “Breaking Character: Disabled Actors in the Industry” presented by ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto.  Carly’s currently working as a Production Access Coordinator on a new documentary series for CBC. Keep up to date with her work at

About In My Own Little Corner, In My Own Little Chair:
In My Own Little Corner is a cabaret filled with songs and stories centered around the idea that even circles have a beginning, middle, and end – and how we honour and accept a change of circumstance as a new beginning, challenge, and opportunity.  This solo show will touch on disability, friends, grief, and giving yourself permission to be whoever you want to be!In My Own Little Corner will premiere February 21-March 5 alongside the staged reading of MINE by Ashleigh Hicks.

Other collaborators on In My Own Little Corner include Kristi Hansen (Dramaturg), Sarah J Culkin (Director), and Even Gilchrist (Set/Costume Designer).

From Carly:
“I want to create a one-woman show that explores the empowerment that comes with embracing one’s disability and/or illness, all while finding your community and lifelong friends. I see this piece pushing societal boundaries by moving audiences to be inspired by my work rather than by my capability to thrive in an able-bodied world with a disabled body. What better way to demonstrate that than in a cabaret that embraces the unconventional musical numbers that celebrate using a wheelchair or the journey of illness and the hilarious stories that accompany them.”
-Carly Neis

About Connor:
Connor Yuzwenko-Martin is a queer Deaf creator born on Treaty 6 land with ancestry from Ireland and Ukraine. He is a public relations specialist, actor, and playwright slowly and softly launching a Deaf arts collective, The Invisible Practice. To date, he has worked with organizations including Edmonton Fringe, Intrepid Theatre/Victoria Fringe, SOUND OFF Deaf Theatre Festival, Nextfest, RISER Edmonton, Tiny Bear Jaws, Good Women Dance, Outside the March, Quickdraw Animation Society, and Sync Canada. Connor relentlessly explores the intersections between Deaf/Disability experience, art, advocacy, leadership, and our collective future.

About After Faust:
Many know the classic tragedy of Doctor Faustus, who made a deal with a demon and ultimately gave up his soul. But few have asked the question, “What happened to Mephistopheles after?” Performed in ASL by a Deaf cast, the legendary demon is reintroduced to a modern audience in the same moment that they are unexpectedly bound to another human. Between scenes of grief, yearning, queer allegory, and—yes—even a hellish spin class, After Faust surfaces the oft-painful questions and choices that lay along the path of forgiveness and self-transformation.

After Faust will premiere January 31-February 12 alongside the run of Omisimawiw by Shyanne Duquette.

Other collaborators on After Faust include Ebony R. Gooden (Director) and Madeline Blondal (Set/Costume Designer).

From Connor:
“Shards and shreds of this story have wandered in my mind since I was fifteen years old and acted as Faust in a high school one-act play. In the years since, I have stepped through the woods of my Deaf and queer identities, and slowly inhabited an intersection that is uniquely me. To be able to present this story with RISER and Common Ground Arts Society’s support is beyond validating. I can’t wait for you to meet and love these characters, and find solace in their journeys.”
-Connor Yuzwenko-Martin

Mac Brock (he/him)
Managing Producer, RISER Edmonton

Click here for more background on RISER Edmonton.

We are incredibly grateful for the support of our partner, Why Not Theatre, who originated RISER in Toronto in 2014; support from the Government of Canadathe RBC Foundation for RISER’s national expansion; our Senior Partners at Edmonton Fringe TheatreCitadel TheatreCatalyst Theatreand Azimuth Theatre; and our funders, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Edmonton Arts Council.

The RISER Edmonton cohort was selected through a jury of Edmonton-based artists from a variety of artistic and personal backgrounds. Submissions were adjudicated on the criteria of Diversity in form and content, Need for the artist to gain further access to supports and audience, Experience of the producers before joining the program, and Feasibility of the project proposed.