CGAS RISER Found Festival


RISER Edmonton Call for Applications

We are accepting applications for RISER Edmonton 2023 until February 4, 2022 February 7, 2022!

NOTE: We have extended the RISER deadline! If you applied by the original deadline, check your email for instructions on updating your application before the new February 7 deadline. Applicants will still be notified of results by February 12.

A note from CGAS on applications during the pandemic:

It is no doubt one of the most difficult moments in this pandemic to consider writing or submitting project applications. We did not take the decision to accept applications for 2023 at this time lightly, but ultimately decided that getting artists in place early in 2022 will set them up for the most success in accessing resources, training, and support ahead of their premieres in February-March 2023.

RISER Edmonton commits wholeheartedly to supporting artists thoroughly through any necessary pivots to ensure their work reaches audiences. We are currently in the process of rescheduling dates for our RISER 2022 projects for the safety of our teams and audiences, and look forward to sharing new run dates for Cuban Movements’ Power of the Drum, Even Gilchrist’s Re:Construct, and Tai Amy Grauman’s Wiwimaw in Spring/Summer 2022. We also look forward to presenting NASRA’s DNAPLAY as part of RISER 2023.

If you need to check in, get a sounding board, some budget and/or structure help, hear some words of encouragement on your idea, or just rant and vent about what it’s all like right now, please click here to book a time to chat with a CGAS Managing Producer Mac Brock.

Thank you all; artists, makers, supporters, friends; for continuing to make our community better, stronger, and more inspired.

We just can’t wait to hear from you.

Photo of RISER 2022 participant Leo Gonzalez. Title: About RISER.

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 2023 season

*NOTE: RISER will be selecting three new projects through this call to join one deferred 2022 project in the RISER 2023 group.

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. 

The 2023 Senior Partners for RISER Edmonton are Edmonton Fringe Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Catalyst Theatre, and Azimuth Theatre

Who is RISER Edmonton for?

RISER Edmonton is designed for project-based individual artists or collectives. Prior independent producing experience is an asset, but not a must. There is no specific age range. The terms “emerging” or “emerged” do not apply. We’re interested in collaborating with artists who don’t have administrative infrastructure or consistent access to production at established venues. In the spirit of this shared resource model, participants in RISER Edmonton must be generous, flexible, collaborative, and​ curious​, as well as willing to share​ and​ work in new ways​.

At Common Ground Arts Society (CGAS), We radically invite artists of all disciplines at all stages of their career to wildly experiment with process and craft. We believe in people and process over product: come as you are; create from where you’re at; learn, fail, try again, fail better; tend to your whole self; share art, share kindness, share in community. Mentorship and learning is at the core of everything we do: we’re still learning, we’ll never stop learning, and we want to share in those lessons with you.

No matter who you are, what you look like, how or who you love, where you’re from, how you got here, how you identify, how or if you honour whatever higher power, or how you move through this world, you belong here. We believe in creating safe(r) spaces that allow for creative risk. We commit to sustaining a safe(r) space by respecting, and even boldly loving, everyone who contributes to it. We acknowledge that in order to truly fulfill that commitment, we must work with community and for community.

Photo of 2022 RISER Edmonton participant Even Gilchrist. Title: What RISER provides.

RISER Edmonton will provide you 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.
  • 3 weeks of rehearsal space assigned on the basis of needs and availability;
  • 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;
  • ​2-3 eight-hour days of tech time in the performance space (schedule and hours TBD);
  • Technicians for load-in, load-out, and run of shows, selected by RISER Edmonton;
  • 6-10 public performances over a two-week time frame at the ATB Financial Arts Barns in February-March 2023; 
  • 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.

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.


You are an independent artist, artist collective, or company who: 

  • Has a show in development, or has an idea of a show you hope to produce in the next year; 
  • is a project-based artist/collective/company. Sorry, if you receive any level of operational funding, this opportunity is not for you; 
  • is available for tech and performances between January and March 2023 (exact schedule TBD); and
  • is available for 8-10 All-RISER meetings between April 2022 and January 2023, exact dates TBD based on participant availability.

Photo of RISER Edmonton 2022 participant Tai Amy Grauman. Title: How to apply.

Submit a letter (max 2-pages), video, and/or audio-recording (max 5 minutes) telling us:

  • Who you are, what you do, and why you want to be a part of RISER Edmonton; 
  • About your artistic experience; 
  • If relevant, past producing experience; 
  • An overview of your project: what is it, why are you passionate about it, who’s involved (confirmed and even hopeful); and
  • What you’re hopeful to gain from being a part of RISER.
  • In addition to your letter or video (not included in the 2-page limit), please include a brief budget overview outlining anticipated artist/material expenses and funding goals. This doesn’t need to be a detailed breakdown – we’re not assessing your budgeting skills – just show the scale of team and technical support you’d want to get the project done.

Materials must be submitted to admin(at) by 11:59pm MST on Monday, February 7, 2022.

Want another set of eyes on your draft? To get some words of encouragement? To jam on your project’s budget? 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.

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

  • Need: whether RISER Edmonton is essential for your/your show’s trajectory; 
  • ​Diversity: of culture, language, form, content, etc.;​
  • Feasibility:​ financial, logistical, and technical; and 
  • Experience​: in creating, producing, performing, project management, etc.

All applicants will be notified of the result of their application no later than February 12, 2022.

Note that the selected artists will be encouraged, if possible, to put grant applications in to the Edmonton Arts Council’s February 15 project deadline. Artists will have full hands-on support from CGAS and Why Not Theatre in preparing these applications.