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RBC Emerging Artist Program

With the generous support of the RBC Foundation, Canadian Stage offers residencies, vital mentorship, developmental support, networking opportunities and professional resources to support the career development of our city’s emerging theatre artists.

This free multifaceted initiative includes:
  • Membership: Weekly e-newsletter, free workshops, and networking opportunities
  • Director Development Residency: An opportunity for 2 directors per season to explore strategies and approaches to contemporary performance practice, production, and administration.
  • Company in Residence: A residency designed to offer encouragement, professional development opportunities, and resources for a Toronto-based company in their early years.


The Emerging Artist Program is open to anyone who identifies as an emerging artist or administrator, and is interested in the Toronto theatre community and Canadian Stage. Membership is free.

Members are invited to free workshops and panel discussions led by guest artists and administrators on topics related to skill development and ongoing training. Members also receive our regular e-newsletter, The Relay, which includes workshop opportunities, ticket deals, show listings, job postings, and more.

Once you are a member, you will be automatically subscribed to The Relay artist newsletter, and receive regular updates with upcoming program sessions, notices from the membership, and special offers. There is no cost associated with becoming a member or participating in program sessions.

Director Development Residency

The Canadian Stage RBC Emerging Artist Program: Director Development Residency is an opportunity for professional stage directors to explore strategies and approaches to contemporary performance practice, production, and administration in a national and international context. The residency gives two directors each season the chance to explore their work and vision in an unrestrictive and supportive setting.

The directors spend a full season with Canadian Stage, seeing performances and meeting with staff members and guest artists on a regular basis. Canadian Stage supports the directors throughout the program by providing space and resources. The program includes a work-in-progress presentation by each participant at the Berkeley Street Theatre, as the opportunity to run a workshop for emerging artists on a topic chosen by the participant.

Meet the 2018 Director Development Residency Participants

Nikki Shaffeeullah

Director, Performer, Artistic Director of The AMY Project

A devised adaptation of Nalo Hopkinson's short story Message in a Bottle

"As a theatre maker who has been inspired by visionary fiction - science fiction that explores questions of social justice - in literature and writing, I'm interested in the aesthetic and social possibilities of activating the genre on stage. The particular story is a unique time travel tale that asks questions about the nature of art; what we consider to be great; what endures; who endures."

Ali Joy Richardson

Director, Playwright, Producer, Artistic Producer of the Paprika Festival

In development on her original play, A Bear Awake in Winter

"This is the story of a high school band class and their new teacher in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The play hinges on an act of violence at a school dance. It's darkly funny, difficult, and (I hope) pushes our capacity for empathy. 7 actors, 6 instruments, 1 week in which the world goes sideways."

Past Director Development Program Artists

nisha ahuja, d’bi.young anitafrika, Gideon Arthurs, Liza Balkan, Laura Bolton, David Brock, Lauren Brotman, Claire Calnan, Anna Chatterton, Lisa Codrington, Ashlie Corcoran, David S. Craig, Ryan Cunningham, Melissa D’Agostino, Mikaela Davies, Spy Dénommé-Welch, Alan Dilworth, Chris Dupuis, André du Toit, Waawaate Fobister, Gil Garratt, Karen Gilodo, Jack Grinhaus, Brendan Healy, Elif Işıközlü, Joel Ivany, Reza Jacobs, Ravi Jain, Marcia Johnson, Njo Kong Kie, Moynan King, Scott Lale, Adam Lazarus, Mitchell Marcus, Philip McKee, Alistair Newton, Lisa Pijuan-Nomura, Adam Paolozza, John Jack Paterson, Anusree Roy, Katherine Sanders, Rosanna Saracino, Adam Seelig, Jonathan Seinen, Erin Shields, Rebecca Singh, Kwame Stephens, Kelly Straughan, Jordan Tannahill, Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, Lindsay C. Walker, Gein Wong, Norman Lup-Man Yeung, and Jacob Zimmer.

Company in Residence

This initiative was created to support artists who are developing and producing theatre as new independent companies. The residency is designed to offer encouragement, professional development opportunities, and resources for a Toronto-based company in their early years.

Each season, a resident company is selected to receive access to Canadian Stage staff, space, resources, and a work-in-progress showing for a project of their choosing. The resident company also has the opportunity to assist in curating workshops for the Emerging Artist Program membership.

"We would recommend this program to any new company with specific goals they might not otherwise have the resources to make happen. We came to Canadian Stage with some very technically challenging projects that needed time and attention we couldn’t afford on our own. But thanks to the incredibly supportive staff and donated space we were able to take our work to the next level. We are so grateful for our time at Canadian Stage this year" - The Howland Company (15.16 Company-in-Residence)

2018 Company in Residence

Bad New Days

Exploring personal and historical narratives through a poetic theatre of gesture

"I'm searching for a theatre that does not reflect life but responds to it. Mixing contemporary formal experimentation with “popular” forms of theatre, we’re exploring how memory and experience are expressed through the body and how the search for meaning is transformed by the presence of death." - Adam Paolozza, Artistic Director

Past Emerging Artist Companies in Residence

Pandemic Theatre
The Templeton Philharmonic
Single Thread Theatre Company
Theatre Caravel
Nobody's Business Theatre
lemonTree theatre creations
I'd Rather Dance
Suburban Beast
Theatre Kairos
The Howland Company
The Original Norwegian