CGAS RISER Found Festival

Apply for RISER Edmonton 2024

January 6, 2023

Applications are now closed for RISER Edmonton 2024! Results will be communicated to applicants no later than February 6, 2023.

Selected artists/companies will receive one year of mentorship, project support, and resources for a new performance work that will debut with either a progress showing or two-week production in early 2024.

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What is RISER Edmonton?

What does RISER Edmonton provide?

How do I get involved?

Re:Construct by Even Gilchrist (RISER Edmonton 2022) Photo by Brianne Jang, BB Collective

What is RISER Edmonton?

RISER Edmonton is a collaborative producing model for theatre and interdisciplinary artists to create and present new work. RISER Edmonton will support the development and production of four new projects in the 2024 season

Originally developed by Why Not Theatre in 2014, RISER was created to address challenges in producing independent theatre. RISER Edmonton connects senior leadership from the performing arts community with underserved artists to maximize existing infrastructures, share resources and risk, help build new audiences, and support a commitment to create and innovate. 

How does it work?

The artists/companies selected for RISER Edmonton 2024 will receive support through mentorship (8-10 workshops from industry professionals on various self-producing topics and individual project consultation) and production resources (venue, technical supplies, labour, marketing, and accessibility). A full breakdown is found below.

New for 2024! There are two ways to participate in RISER: Development or Production.

All four artists/companies will participate in the same mentorship program. The two Development projects will receive production resources to hold a minimum one-week experimentation workshop of their project including a fully-supported staged reading. The two Production projects will receive resources to present a two-week run of their work with extensive technical and event support.

Who is RISER Edmonton for?

Artists considering RISER should be looking to upgrade their producing practice. Terms like “emerging” and “established” are not in our vocabulary – the program is intended to meet you where you’re at in your practice. Whether you’re early in your career, trained in another practice and looking to learn the world of self-producing, or an experienced producer with a large-scale idea; RISER’s goal is to provide hands-on support for new creative risks.

RISER artists must be available for approximately 10 workshops or meetings between April-December 2023 and for a workshop or production in January-February 2024.

Individuals, collectives, or companies are encouraged to apply. Companies must work project-to-project to be eligible (no year-round/annual programming, no operational funding).

What kind of project is right for RISER Edmonton?

All artists/companies in either the Development or Production streams will be selected with a new project in mind.

Development Stream (Two projects will be selected)
The project has not yet been developed, or is taking a significant new risk that may not be entirely production-ready.

  • A new show concept that hasn’t received any practical work yet;
  • A script that hasn’t been workshopped;
  • A new project outside of your typical artistic practice; or
  • Anything else that requires a little more process time before a production.

Production Stream (Two projects will be selected)
The project has received some form of prior development (there is an existing script, previous workshopping, or past production) or is a new concept in a field in which you’ve had significant experience. The project is ready for a supported larger-scale presentation opportunity. This might include:

  • A new work that’s received previous workshop time;
  • The next phase of a project you’ve already produced;
  • A creative risk in a style/process in which you’ve spent significant experience; or
  • Anything else that will be ready for a fully-realized presentation following the year of RISER support.

I Don’t Even Miss You by Tiny Bear Jaws (RISER Edmonton/Toronto 2022) Photo by Brianne Jang, BB Collective

What does RISER Edmonton provide?

RISER Edmonton will provide all four artists/companies with:

  • Ongoing and project specific mentoring, assistance, and consultation with Common Ground Arts Society and Why Not Theatre artistic and administrative staff in all areas of producing at individual & group meetings. This includes hands-on support in grant applications, fundraising, and whatever else you need to be successful;
  • A shared Lighting Designer, selected and paid for by RISER Edmonton;
  • A shared Production Manager (PM)/Technical Director (TD), selected and paid for by RISER Edmonton. NOTE: you may still want or need your own PM and TD for managing your show’s specific technical and building needs; the RISER Edmonton PM/TD focuses on coordination and management of the RISER Edmonton model itself; 
  • A shared Publicist, selected and paid for by RISER Edmonton;
  • Box office, ticketing, and Front of House support via lead Senior Partner Edmonton Fringe Theatre. NOTE: ticket prices and policies will be set by RISER Edmonton in consultation with the each RISER company with considerations for Offer What You Will options;
  • and 100% of net Box Office revenues.

New in 2024! You may apply to either the Production or Development stream of RISER Edmonton. Two artists/companies will be selected for each stream.

Artists/companies in the Development stream will conclude their time in the RISER program with:

  • One week of technical rehearsal for an in-theatre workshop with support from the RISER production team;
  • Labour, production, and event support for minimum one public reading at the conclusion of the workshop; and
  • Assistance in developing materials for a pitch package for future productions of the work.

Artists/companies in the Production stream will conclude their time in the RISER program with:

  • A minimum of eight performances in the Backstage Theatre as part of a two-week run;
  • Hands-on project support from the RISER Producer, Production Manager, and Lighting Designer towards a premiere; and
  • Production debrief support in preparing for future productions of the work.

What don’t you get as part of RISER Edmonton?

Since this is a shared producing model, not a presentation series or festival, some responsibilities fall primarily to you, including: 

  • Audience outreach and ticket sales. NOTE: RISER Edmonton will help participating artists develop cross-promotional, pass, and/or ticket bundle options, including Offer What You Will options; 
  • Show-specific marketing, including print and digital outreach. NOTE: RISER Edmonton will support general marketing;
  • Props, costumes, and set pieces specific to your production; and
  • Contracting and compensating your artists and creative team.

Power of the Drum by Cuban Movements Dance Academy (RISER Edmonton 2022) Photo by Eric Kozakiewicz

How do I get involved?

How are RISER Edmonton applications evaluated?

Participants in RISER are selected by a jury of diverse representatives from the local community, former RISER project participants, and overseen by Common Ground Arts Society and Why Not Theatre.

We do not evaluate the artistic merit of the production. ​We focus on the artist: who you are and why you need this chance to show your work. The evaluation criteria are: 

  • Need: Is RISER Edmonton is essential for your/your show’s trajectory? Have there been barriers for you in accessing project support?
  • ​Diversity: Is any part of the culture, language, form, content, etc. in the project underrepresented on Edmonton stages?
  • Feasibility:​ Can the project reasonably be completed with the support and framework RISER provides?
  • Experience​: Does the applicant’s existing experience match the scale of the proposed project?

To apply, submit the following to admin(at) by 11:59pm MST on Monday, January 30:

  1. A two-page letter outlining your work and your project (more details below),
  2. A brief budget overview outlining artist/material expenses and funding goals,
  3. A resume/CV of the lead artist or company (optional), and
  4. A note in the email body about whether you’d like to be considered for the Development stream, Production stream, or both.

Your letter should include:

  • Who you are, what you do, and why you want to be a part of RISER Edmonton; 
  • About your artistic experience, including any producing experience (if applicable);
  • An overview of your project: what is it, why are you passionate about it, who’s involved (confirmed or hopeful); and
  • What you’re hopeful to gain from being a part of RISER.

Applications are now closed for RISER Edmonton 2024! Results will be communicated to applicants no later than February 6, 2023.

Note that the selected artists will be encouraged, if possible, to put grant applications in to the Edmonton Arts Council’s March 1 project deadline. Artists will have full hands-on support from CGAS in preparing these applications.

Tips for your application:

  • We want an overview of your budget, not a fully realized spreadsheet. We need to learn about the scale of your project, not your skill or knowledge in budgeting. Show us how many artists you need to hire, what material expenses might be involved, any other major expenses, and what funding sources you might consider pursuing or already have access to.
  • RISER is meant to support major creative risks. Highlight why the risk involved in your project means you can’t do it without a little extra boost.
  • RISER does not evaluate your skill/experience as a producer in your application – don’t worry about overselling your capacity. Rather, we’re looking to understand how this project is the logical next step for your current practice.

Want another set of eyes on your draft? To get some words of encouragement? To jam on your budget overview? Click here to contact us via email, or click here to book a meeting with CGAS. We always love to hear from artists, so get in touch anytime.

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