Call for Submissions: Emerging Creators Unit 2023

Black text on a grey background reads Emerging Creators Unit. To the left and right are pink peonies.

Emerging Creators Unit 2022/23
Call for Submissions
Due Sunday, October 30, 2022 at 11:59pm.

For the 2022/23 season the Emerging Creators Unit opens up, in the spirit of experimentation, to new 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.

What is the Emerging Creators Unit?

The Emerging Creators Unit is an artist-driven, mentor-supported creative model; we look for strongly motivated emerging queer and/or trans artists AND/OR early-in-craft queer and/or trans artists who have an ability to work independently. This means folks who are just starting their artistic career or just starting exploring a new medium are welcome to apply.

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 multidisciplinary artist Erum Khan (ECU artist in 2018). 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 2023. 

If you have any accommodation requests, require support, or have any questions about the program or the application process, please email Erum, and/or Daniel (Buddies’ Interim Director of Operations + Programming) 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).


You’ll find more information about the program and how to apply, but if you have more questions, or just want to chat about the program, we’re offering two drop-in office hours over Zoom, hosted by Erum and/or Daniel.

Stay tuned for details. 


This year’s program will focus on the development of professional artistic practices for independent queer and/or trans performing artists, combining creation with producing and arts administration. This year’s program will allow participants to investigate the dynamic challenges and possibilities that emerge when developing an independent artistic practice, especially in our current cultural, political, economic, and artistic landscape.


  • 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 2023 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 Erum Khan
  • Mentor pairing for residency intensive
  • Monthly ECU-group meetings
  • Tickets to Buddies season programming and other industry events
  • Monthly workshops with the Emerging Artist & Producer Series led by invited artistic leaders and practitioners


  • 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 intellectual discourse and investigation about their artistic creation and producing/production processes 
  • 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 


  • 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.  
  • If you’d like to join our Emerging Artist Producer Series (EAPS), please add a sentence in your cover letter/video expressing your interest. Everyone who applies and expresses interest will be included in the EAPS programing!

Please email your submission in a single PDF document (if submitting a video send the link, and any information required to view the video in your pdf document) to ecu@buddiesinbadtimes.com, no later than Sunday, October 30, 2022 at 11:59pm. Early submissions are encouraged.  Please use the subject line: “Emerging Creators’ Unit Submission-[Name]”. 

**Please label files “[firstname].[lastname] – ECU22”**

If you have any accommodation requests, require support, or have any questions about the program or the application process, please email Erum at ecu@buddiesinbadtimes.com and copy Daniel (Buddies’ Interim Director of Operations and Programming) at daniel@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).

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. 


Photo of Emerging Creators Unit Director Erum Khan - they have short dyed blond hair, and wear a white button down shirt. Their right hand rests on their left shoulder.

Photo of Erum by Sam Gaetz

Erum Khan is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Toronto. Currently, Erum is the recipient of the Urjo Kareda Research grant from Tarragon Theatre and was a selected artist for the inaugural edition of the Loughborough Lake Writer’s Retreat with Crow’s Theatre and Mongrel Media.

Erum’s short films have premiered at The Toronto Queer Film Festival, Breakthroughs Film Festival, The Toronto Independent Film Festival, and The Rendezvous With Madness Festival. Erum has been a playwright with Nightwood Theatre’s Write From The Hip program, a co-facilitator of the TD Emerging Creators Unit at the Paprika Festival, a member of the 2018 Emerging Creators Unit at Buddies, and was the recipient of the 2019 Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Queer Emerging Artist Award. 

Erum’s past and current playwright/collaborator/creator credits include: Noor (Generous Friend/The Aga Khan Museum), elephant (bluemouth inc.), patthar ki zabaan (Rhubarb Festival), Talk To Me (Generous Friend), and Becoming (Ottawa Fringe Festival, Rhubarb Festival). She was a performer and original collaborator in the world premier production of Concord Floral (Brubacher/Spooner/Tanahill) presented at The Theatre Centre and then went on to be the Assistant Director for the piece at Canadian Stage and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

Much of their community-engaged work is underscored by a commitment to create space for youth to access and engage with the arts.