Call for Submissions: Emerging Creators Unit

Dark blue text on a light blue background reads "Emerging Creators Unit", around the text are geometric shapes in blues and greens that come together to create faces.

Due Tuesday, January 2, 2024 at 11:59pm.

For the 2023/24 season, the Emerging Creators Unit (ECU) continues forth in the spirit of experimentation, supporting multidisciplinary arts practices. Artists developing practices in theatre, performance art, puppetry, music, dance, multimedia, cabaret, comedy, drag, burlesque, or something else are invited to submit an application to the program.

The Emerging Creators Unit is an artist-driven, mentor-supported creative model; we look for strongly motivated emerging queer and/or trans artists.

The Emerging Creators Unit offers an intensive opportunity to develop your artistic practice and producing skills. As part of this program, artists are invited to apply with a project—or a seed of a project—that will serve as a vehicle to advance their artistic practice.

This year, the unit is facilitated by theatre-maker, performer, and multidisciplinary artist Stephen Jackman-Torkoff. Workshop and masterclasses will be curated around identified areas of growth from participants.

The Unit will conclude with a micro-residency at Buddies and a sharing of an artistic offering as a part of Buddies’ Queer Pride Festival in June 2024.

If you have any accommodation requests, require support, or have any questions about the program or the application process, please email Stephen, and/or Erum (Buddies’ Artistic Associate) at ecu@buddiesinbadtimes.com. If you would like to direct your question or request to a specific person, please include their name in the subject line (For example: Attn Erum: Request).


  • An honorarium for participation in the program
  • A paid artist-led in-studio residency, with provided space, production/technical support and a project mentor
  • Active participation in Buddies’ Queer Pride Festival programing in June of 2024 in Toronto
  • Opportunities for promotional marketing support (i.e. artist profile on the Buddies website, promotion on social media platforms, blog posts, and photoshoot)
  • This year, the facilitator and participants will co-curate learning objectives and timelines that support their artistic development and individual learning goals. Including collectively choosing mentors, guest artists, areas of research and creation, and developing timelines that support their creative journey. The unit may also include:
  • Bi-weekly check-ins with Stephen
  • Mentor pairing for residency intensive
  • Monthly ECU-group meetings
  • Tickets to Buddies season programming and other industry events


  • Creators interested in examining, exploring and developing a professional independent artistic practice
  • Choreographers, musicians, performers, playwrights, directors, performance artists, cabaret artists and creators whose practice intersects within multiple artistic disciplines
  • Artists wanting to engage in conversation about their artistic practice and process
  • Creators interested in the artistic and development practices of Buddies in the creation and programming of new works
  • Creators with at least 2 years of experience creating and/or producing performance-based work
  • Based in the Greater Toronto Area

How to apply

You’ll be asked to answer the following questions either through written text, or via audio or video submission.

  • A one-page cover letter or a 3-5 minute video (YouTube or Vimeo links) that provides responses to these prompts:
    • How do you describe your current artistic practice?
    • What are the identified gaps in your artistic practice? / What are current learning objectives in your creative and/or producing practice? How do you imagine this program and Buddies supporting you in filling these gaps?
    • A short description of a project/concept you are interested in working on through the program.
  • Your CV or biography (one-page)

Please include your phone number and email on your documents. Please complete the application form on Buddies’ website by no later than Tuesday, January 2, 2024 at 11:59pm. Early submissions are encouraged. Please use the subject line: “Emerging Creators’ Unit Submission-[Name]”.

Please label files “[firstname].[lastname] – ECU24”

Application form


If you have any accommodation requests, require support, or have any questions about the program or the application process, please email Stephen at ecu@buddiesinbadtimes.com and copy Erum Khan (Buddies’ Artistic Associate) at erum@buddiesinbadtimes.com.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is committed to equity. We encourage applications from queer, trans, Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, d/Deaf and disabled applicants. We are committed to creating inclusive, barrier-reduced outreach practices and work environments; and, adjudicating and selecting with regard to ethnicity, age, race, disability, physical and mental ability, or any other characteristics that contribute to the diversity within our communities.

About Stephen

Stephen stand in a window sill with their arms at their sides. They wear a blue and black colour-blocked sweater, and jeans rolled at the cuffs. Behind and around them are streamers and balloon in different colours that say "Happy Birthday"

Stephen Jackman-Torkoff is a wandering poet , travelling painter and a lover. They create poetic dreamscape odysseys and perform them in places big and small; From large theatres to living rooms. Stephen has acted in several productions including Fifteen Dogs at Crow’s Theatre, Trout Stanley at Factory theatre and as Richard in Richard II at the Stratford Festival. They are one of the creator/performers of Black Boys which premiered at Buddies in 2016 and then commenced a national tour. Stephen believes in you.