Stage Door News

Toronto: Why Not Theatre presents RISER Toronto 2022 April 1-May 8

Monday, February 14, 2022

Why Not Theatre is happy to announce RISER Toronto will return with three in person productions April 1-May 8, 2022 at The Theatre Centre, BMO Incubator, followed by two online presentations throughout 2022. RISER Toronto 2022, the collaborative producing model for independent theatre artists, will feature a broad range of exciting works including experimental theatre, dance, comedy, and music.

Due to pandemic restrictions, RISER 2020 was cancelled and RISER 2021 supported artists to realize digital creations. For the past 9 years, RISER has presented four new shows each year, but for 2022 it has expanded to support six shows in a variety of online and in person presentations.

RISER Toronto 2022 will present live performances at The Theatre Centre including: An IMM-Permanent Resident, a comedy infused with Bollywood elements by Nauntanki Bazaar; Don Valley Girls, a sketch comedy revue with a strong point of view by Poetic License Creations; and TAOS (The Art of Storytelling), a new multi-disciplinary work in three languages by Creative Mafia.

RISER Toronto 2022 will present digital productions including: What Brings You In, by violinist and multi-disciplinary artist Leslie Ting, from May 5-8, 2022; and Monica vs. The Internet, by Filipina storyteller and comedian Monica Ogden, with dates to be announced later this year.

Originally planned for RISER Toronto, femme and queer-run cross-Canadian theatre company Tiny Bear Jaws will now present their live show Io as part of RISER Edmonton, in partnership with Common Ground Arts Society.

“RISER is all about supporting independent artists. Being an indie artist can feel lonely at the best of times. And the virus-that-shall-not-be-named has made it even more challenging, including for our RISER 2020/21 cohorts who had their projects postponed. Some of the artists this year have been with us since 2020. Some have just joined us in 2022. But all of them have been dealing with the effects of the pandemic. To prioritize the health and safety of the creative teams, we have built a hybrid version of RISER Toronto this year, with some projects happening in person at The Theatre Centre and others pivoting to digital works. Regardless of whether we see you in person or online, we know that you'll be inspired by the work of this incredible group of artists.” - Ravi Jain & Miriam Fernandes, Co-Artistic Directors of Why Not Theatre.

RISER is a collaborative producing model for artists and companies to create and present new work. The model allows the artists to overcome challenges of producing independent theatre by working together, sharing resources, and receiving guidance and support from a community of Senior Partners.

RISER Toronto 2022 at The Theatre Centre:

An IMM-Permanent Resident

Nauntanki Bazaar

Director - Miquelon Rodriguez

Writers & Performers - Neha Poduval, Himanshu Sitlani

Dates: April 1-10 (Opening Night: April 2)

All performances at 7pm, except Sundays at 2pm

A comedy infused with Bollywood elements, An IMM-Permanent Resident is a hilarious take on the mundane and tiresome bureaucracy of the Canadian Immigration process, as experienced by playwrights and real-life couple, Himanshu and Neha, as they put their hopes and dreams on pause (indefinitely).

Don Valley Girls

Poetic License Creations

Director – Liza Paul

Producer – Rabiya Mansoor

Writers & Actors – Surer Qaly Deria, Mona Hersi, Andie Hong, Rabiya Mansoor, and Fateema Al-Hamaydeh Miller

Lighting Designer – André du Toit

Dates: April 15-24 (Opening Night: April 16)

All performances at 8:30pm, except Sundays at 2pm

The Don Valley Girls are living together in a crammed apartment in downtown Toronto and now they’ve gotta get ready for their final house party hurrah. Join them in this sketch revue as they show you their lives, their dreams, and their failures through fun sketches and musical numbers.

TAOS (The Art of Storytelling)

Creative Mafia

Lead Creator/Performer/Producer – B’atz’ Recinos

Director/Dramaturge – Anita La Selva

Producer – Maria Paula Careño

Choreographer – Lilia Leon

Maya Elder – Lajuj Iq’ (Bartolo Alvarez)

Lighting Designer – Sebastian Marziali

Scenographer – Rowell Soller

Musical Director/Band – Y Josephine

Band/Performers – Jasmyn Fyffe and Giovanna Galuppo

Dates: April 29-May 8 (Opening Night: April 30)

All performances at 7pm, except Sundays at 2pm

TAOS is a new multi-disciplinary work. A living land acknowledgement. An artistic offering rooted in the ancestral theatre tradition. Infusing Indigenous traditions and culture with music, poetry, oral storytelling, dance, ritual, and performed in three languages: English, Spanish, Maya (K’iche). TAOS brings the audience on a magickal journey through allegory and myth.

RISER Toronto 2022 Online:

Monica vs. The Internet: Tales of a Social Justice Warrior

Rage Sweater Theatre Productions

Writer/Performer - Monica Ogden

Director/Co-Creator - K.P Dennis

Design/Stage Management - Tony Adams

Premiere Date To Be Announced

Award winning Filipina storyteller and comedian Monica Ogden sheds light on activism and disability culture, mixed-race identity, and how white feminism is like Lays chips. Monica vs. The Internet is a multimedia stand-up comedy show that will leave audiences in tears, both the laughy kind and the heart ones.

What Brings You In

Leslie Ting Productions

Creator, Producer, Violinist - Leslie Ting

Producer - Kari Pederson

Percussionist - Germaine Liu

Composers - Linda Catlin Smith, Rose Bolton, and Julia Mermelstein

Audio Engineer, Sound Designer - Matt Smith

User Experience Designer - Marie Claire LeBlanc Flanagan

Web Developer - Ramsey Nassar

Web Accessibility - Inclusive Media

Blind and low vision access and dramaturgy consultant - Jessica Watkin

Outside Eye - Christopher Willes

Stage Manager - Sara Constant

Dates: May 5-8

All performances at 7:30pmET except May 8 at 2pm

A violinist confronts the noise of her psyche in an electroacoustic soundscape. A percussionist sifts through her subconscious in a sandbox. What Brings You In is an interactive digital performance by Leslie Ting, combining live performance elements with sensorial audience experience. Based on interview research, and personal experiences with talk therapy, hypnotherapy, dreamwork, sandplay, somatics, and reiki, this experimental, music-driven work-in-progress is about the many ways we engage with the therapeutic process.

ABOUT RISER: Founded in 2013, RISER was originally developed to help address the challenges of producing independent theatre in Toronto. RISER brings together senior leadership from the theatre community with emerging artists in order to maximize existing infrastructure, share resources and risk, and support a commitment to create and innovate. RISER has begun a national expansion, starting with Edmonton in 2022 with more host cities soon to be announced.

Since its inception, RISER has supported the development of 41 new Canadian works while supporting over 300 artists, with audience numbers reaching over 25,000 for the continued lives of RISER shows. These works have garnered 50+ awards and nominations, and have gone on to more than 100 post-RISER engagements, and six publications.

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