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.

We are not currently accepting submissions for RISER Edmonton. Check back here in Spring 2024 for details about RISER 2025, or click here to become a member and find out first!

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.

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.

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
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
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.

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 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.

Artists/companies in the Development stream will conclude their time in the RISER program with a development workshop that meets the needs of their script and/or production.

Artists/companies in the Production stream will conclude their time in the RISER program with a full production run with a minimum of eight performances. This includes in-kind resources like Production Management, Lighting Design, venue & materials, promotions, and more.

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;
  • Props, costumes, and set pieces specific to your production; and
  • Contracting and compensating your artists and creative team.

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.

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?

When will applications open for 2025?
Check back here in Spring 2024!