Urjo Kareda Residency Grant for an Emerging Artist

The Award

The Urjo Kareda Award is a residency grant that supports the training and artistic development of an emerging theatre artist in collaboration with Tarragon Theatre for a period of up to 20 weeks.

This $15000 grant is made possible by the support of the Youssef-Warren Foundation.

The Residency

The successful applicant will spend up to 20 weeks at Tarragon Theatre working in collaboration with one or more artists in their chosen field of interest. This placement will take place from January 2022 – July 2022.

The 20 weeks can be spaced and do not need to be consecutive.


This grant is geared towards an emerging professional theatre artist who is a Canadian citizen/a permanent resident.

Tarragon defines ‘emerging’ as an artist of any age who has spent less than 7 years in their chosen discipline.

*It is recommended that the applicant is a resident of the Greater Toronto Area for the duration of the proposed residency, as additional long distance travel costs cannot be covered or reimbursed*

The ideal candidate could be one, some or all of the following:

  • Theatre creators/Storytellers
    (ie. Playwrights, Directors, Cross-disciplinary artists, Live art creators, Choreographers etc.)
  •  Mid-career artists who are transitioning
    (ie Actor to a Director, Designer to a Technical Director)
  •  Artists interested in arts leadership pathways
    (ie. Artistic Direction, Production, Management.)

* It is asked that applicants have created or participated in at least two professional artistic works in their chosen field to be considered for this award.


If the nature of this application process is a barrier to applying, please contact aad@tarragontheatre.com to discuss the possibility of alternative forms of application.


Artists are invited to submit the following documents attached to a single e-mail with the subject Urjo Kareda Award Application to aad@tarragontheatre.com. (If you require different accommodation please contact the Associate Artistic Director at aad@tarragontheatre.com or (416) 536-5018 ext. 248 to discuss alternative forms of applying):

1. A one page cover letter or 2 minute video (max) articulating your interest in the residency.
Some questions to consider within the letter/video are:

  • How can the residency benefit your current artistic practice?
  • How can a partnership serve both yourself and the Tarragon Theatre community?
  • What inspires you to work with Tarragon Theatre?
  • What is your ultimate hope for a residency such as this?
  • If transitioning, why now?

2. A CV/Resume detailing your training and artistic work
*even if transitioning from one career to another, past work is helpful for context

3. A 1-2 page residency proposal:

  • A timeline (ie. A point form list of proposed activities to take place over the 20 week period)
  • A proposal regarding your interests/development goals and how you plan to achieve them with Tarragon’s support

4. Samples of previous work (if applicable, please add one or more of the following examples):

  • A writing sample (15 pages max)
  • Design sample can be 1 video (2mins max) and/or design concepts (8 images max)
  • Performance/Creation sample can be archival footage and/or demo reel (3mins max), productions images (8 images max)

*If transitioning or looking at arts leadership you are still welcome to send samples and share more about how your previous works speaks to your new career pathway

5. Two letters of reference from Canadian Arts/Theatre Professionals. (Max one Page)

  • How long have you known the applicant?
  • What is your relationship to the applicant?
  • Why is this applicant suited for this particular opportunity?


Applications Now Closed

2020/21 Residency:

The Urjo Kareda Resident for 2020/21 was Makambe K. Simamba.

Past Kareda Residents

2020 – 2021: MAKAMBE K. SIMAMBA

“The Urjo Kareda Residency is a brilliant opportunity to experience, learn and question, as I cultivate my ability to step into various roles of conscious artistic leadership. I am excited to steep myself into the fabric of the Tarragon Theatre as a means to investigate and inspire all that is possible in the landscape of contemporary Canadian theatre”

2019 – 2020: EVA BARRIE

“Tarragon Theatre was one of the first companies that instilled confidence, rigour, and tenacity in me as a young artist, and I’m incredibly grateful to return to the company as the Urjo Kareda recipient. During my residency, I will train as an artistic
director and new works advocate. I’m most curious about how arts leaders can inspire hope and generosity in challenging times, and work to create equitable and innovative creative environments. I look forward to pursuing these thoughts with
the exciting and bold minds at the Tarragon Theatre.”

2018 – 2019: AUDREY DWYER

“It was a privilege to have been the Urjo Kareda Emerging Artist in 2018-2019. The year I spent deepening my skills at the Tarragon is something that I will always draw from and cherish. I built on my experience as an Artistic Director, Director and Playwright. I furthered my skills in season planning, programming, board membership and fundraising. A highlight was learning about subscribers and building management. I learned about metaphor, image and stage pictures. I was Richard’s Assistant Director on a play that was in three different theatre stages across Canada. This was an opportunity that taught me about transferring a show. I learned new and varied ways to analyse text. As a playwright, I discovered new ways to take creative risks with form, language and ideas. I assure you that these are only a few things I learned! I treasure the frank conversations about theatre, politics and leadership I had with Richard. I am the new Associate Artistic Director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Every day I draw from the skills I learned from Richard and his team. I am thankful for my time at the Tarragon. To grow in such an established theatre home has transformed me forever.”


“The Urjo Kareda Residency was a perfect way to be introduced to the Toronto scene – to have a residency embedded in an established company like Tarragon while being exposed to the many artists and aesthetics that come and go through the season is an unparalleled opportunity, and one I am very grateful for.”

2016 – 2017: PHILIP MCKEE

“The Urjo Kareda Emerging Artist Residency provided me an amazing opportunity to focus on three original creation projects, with a particular focus on the intersection of theatre arts and mental illness. I was able to create a long term development workshop in collaboration with Workman Arts at CAMH. With a a group of participants with lived experience of mental illness, we explored and work-shopped representations of madness in classic dramatic texts, including Hamlet. I was also able to establish a Self Stories creation workshop with Workman members. Workshop participants created an original one-person show which expressed a significant personal experience, and were performed for an audience at Tarragon. This event was one of the most moving things I have been a part of as an artist. The Self Stories workshop has become a regular fixture of programming at Workman Arts. Finally, I was able to continue creative development on the original musical The Pryce Academy, which I had begun writing in the Tarragon Playwrights’ Unit.”

2015 – 2016: JOEL BERNBAUM

“My time at Tarragon was a true gift. It was a privilege to assist Richard Rose and then Ashlie Corcoran on three very different productions. I was also appreciative of the creative latitude to spend time exploring my own creative projects: from sitting in court at the trial of James Forcillo to interviewing Uber and Taxi drivers. Richard’s genuine willingness to dialogue about absolutely anything in the theatre left me with many ripe ideas — and this spirit was echoed by the entire Tarragon team — everyone was incredibly warm and open. Finally, it was personally meaningful for me to spend time getting to know a little bit about Urjo Kareda through interviewing family, friends, and colleagues. There are so few paid opportunities in life to truly reflect, explore and learn — and this residency was one of them. I am grateful.”


“As an Urjo Kareda resident, I was afforded time and space to think critically about my craft as a playwright, and the role of the playwright in a theatre devoted to new work. It was a vital period of artistic reflection and personal growth.”

2013 – 2014: PETER PASYK

“Looking back, I can say that the Urjo Kareda Emerging Artist Residency was the most formative apprenticeship experience of my career. It was also a thrilling time of passionate theatre making. My residency focused on the director’s role in new play development, and the director/designer relationship. It was always hands-on collaboration with some of this country’s finest theatre artists. My learning experience exceeded all expectations because the folks at Tarragon generously embraced my curiosity and opened all their doors to me. My creative contributions to the season were highly valued and as a result I left feeling empowered and a more skilled director. My deepest debt is to Richard Rose. His rigour, his attention, and his belief in mentorship is simply exceptional. I expect the impact of this experience to stay with me my livelong life.”

2012 – 2013: ADAM PAOLOZZA

“The Urjo Residency has come at a fortuitous time in my artistic journey. An artist is like a sponge, absorbing influences, ideas and energy from their surroundings. I can’t wait to soak up all I can at Tarragon. I’m honoured to be able to develop my work in such a rich, stimulating, supportive environment with Richard and the team at this point in my career.”



2010 – 2011: ASHLIE CORCORAN

“I feel incredibly honoured to have been the Urjo Kareda Emerging Artist for the 2010/11 season. I was granted an immeasurable amount of learning experiences through this wonderful residency. As an Artistic Director Apprentice, I examined everything from play development and programming, to building maintenance. But my learning experiences didn’t stop there – every day I learned artistic leadership in marketing, education, staffing, casting, fundraising and board governance. However, I must mention that the conversations I had with Richard – about directing, running a theatre, and career paths – were definitely the highlight of my time at Tarragon. Richard was always generous and direct with me in these sessions and I know that I learned an immeasurable amount about being an artist, and a leader, through these conversations. Now that I am the artistic director of my own venued theatre – the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, I draw on the lessons learned at Tarragon every day.”

2009 – 2010: RAVI JAIN

“The Urjo Kareda residency was a fantastic experience for me. It was there where I was able to develop A Brimful of Asha which premiered in 2012 and continues to tour to this day! (We’re off to Melbourne in October and Mississauga in Jan! To give some idea as to how far and wide it continues to go). It recently played in Antigonish with a different set of actors… look ma! We’re playwrights. For real.

As someone who creates work, it was at tarragon where I decided to use playwright to define some of what I do. While I do it differently from most playwrights, I learned to accept that I was, and that I could be part of a history of great Canadian playmakers who resided in small corners at tarragon.

The highlight was time spent with Richard and speaking with him about directing, theatre, and politics. Richard embodies the mentor and supporter role that I’ve heard was Urjo’s legacy. I’m sure he would have made urjo proud… and urjo would have also had notes!

I’m grateful to have spent that year (and a few after) at Tarragon. It was and always will be a home.”

2008 – 2009: ALEX EDDINGTON

“My residency was extremely valuable to me in several ways. First, it is a nationally-recognized residency that will doubtless open more doors for me as my theatre career progresses. Second, the personal and professional connections that I made are many, diverse, and deep. And third, the artistic experiences that Tarragon was able to provide me with brought my own artistry forward. I applied to the residency with a dual-discipline proposal that complements my own interest, and this was how the residency played out: I spent the first half of it shadowing and assisting three professional sound designers (one of whom was Christian Barry, a former UKRG recipient) on three productions in Tarragon’s season; and I spent the entire 20-residency writing my first full-length play -Emily C.”

2007 – 2008: TESSA KING

“My overall objectve for my residency was: To investigate the role of the playwright and playwright-centred development models in the future of Canadian theatre. This goal was achieved through various observational and practical artistic opportunities and experiences. I have gained a new understanding and perspective on the process and importance of playwrights and playwright centred development models. I have also been exposed to new development models which have greatly influenced my own practice as a writer. The residency gave me a chance to talk to others and open my mind to new ways of working.”

2006 – 2007: CHRISTIAN BARRY

“In my time at the Tarragon, I have had the joy of working on shows that I truly loved, the pleasure of forging bonds with the most inspiring of artistic peers, and the privilege of working under the mentorship of not only one, but now two of Toronto’s foremost artistic directors in Richard Rose, and Andy McKim. My mandate for the residency can best be summed up as: To broaden my understanding of the role of the director-dramaturge in bringing new works to the stage. This goal was indeed achieved through many diverse and engaging experiences.”

2005 – 2006: ALAN DILWORTH

For his residency year, Alan assistant Richard Rose in the directing of the production and workshop of Rosa Laborde’s Leo and the production of Charlotte Jone’s Humble Boy. He also assistant directed with Ross Manson on Michael Redhill’s Goodness and with Eda Holmes on Diane Flacks and Richard Greenblatt’s Care. He also worked with Andy Kim co-ordinating the Play Reading Week and Spring Arts Fair.

“I learned so much in such a condensed amount of time, I know I will be unpacking my theatrical suitcase for many years to come. This is an outstanding program. Given its hands-on, “thrown into the scrum” nature, it can play a pivotal role in the development of an emerging artist.”

2004 – 2005: BEATRIZ PIZANO

Beatriz Pizano spent the 2004-2005 season as an emerging writer/director in residence.

In September she began work as a Script Coordinator for the developmental workshop ofCare. In late November she was the assistant director in Bea’s Niece. Next, she worked onGoodness. In late January she helped organize the readings for the Playwrights Unit. Last but not least, she completed her residency working as an assistant director/script coordinator for Alice’s Affair directed by Eda Holmes.

In addition to her work at the theatre, during these eight months she also completed three drafts of her new play entitled Madre and began work on yet another script, The Communion. It later went on to be produced as a fifteen minute radio play for the CBC. In addition, she directed a successful production at the Summerworks Festival called Capturing Freedom.

2003 – 2004: LEE WILSON

“My season at the Tarragon gave me the opportunity to assist on two Canadian premiere main stage shows, a workshop of an important new Canadian adaptation, a play reading week of new Canadian plays, being able to watch some of the finest actors in the country, apprenticing one of the top Canadian directors/developers of new works, witness the incredible theatre model of the Tarragon and staff, and the ability to ask questions about the running of a professional theatre.”


Kilby Smith-McGregor says her Tarragon experience provided her with an extraordinary atelier in artistic leadership, from the practicalities of scheduling and resource management to the finer points of directing, dramaturgy, along with an understanding of the skills needed for inspiring a team of collaborators. Working closely with several playwrights through their own development processes, and being present within the Tarragon’s dramaturgical process was invaluable. It helped her assess and refine her own craft as a playwright. She gained an understanding of the new play development process in context. While receiving mentorship herself, she was also able to mentor others through participation in the Tarragon youth programs. She has left the Tarragon with expanded breadth and vision, as well as artistic and mentorship relationships that she will carry into the future.