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Means of Production is the short-hand name (with a challenging history) for a two-year research and evaluation study for a pair of innovative theatre projects currently underway in Toronto.

Stripped down to its essence, this study is investigating two questions. Why Not Theatre’s RISER Project is asking, “What can a community do (to leverage the community’s resources)?”, while Generator (formerly STAF – the Small Theatre Administrative Facility) is asking, “What can the individual or collective do (to leverage one’s own resources)?”

Welcome to the Means of Production site: an ongoing documentation of the process of answering these questions, and an evaluation of the results.

This study is led by Sherri Helwig of S.L. Helwig & Associates, administered through the Toronto Arts Foundation, and generously supported by the Metcalf Foundation and Toronto Arts Foundation.

RISER Project, Why Not Theatre
Collaborative Lights

Collaborative Producing – an article by Ravi Jain

[The following is a pre-publication draft of an article, with minor edits, subsequently published in the Canadian Theatre Review, issue 163, Summer 2015. Reproduced here with permission of CTR / the University of Toronto Press and the author.] To answer a question about the future, I will speak about some­thing I am doing in the present to address major challenges inde­pendent artists face, which I hope will shape the future. Of course, this present is…
Learning / Knowledge Mobilization (KMb)
APT Curriculum Planning (STAF / Theatre Ontario)

Learning Organizations – an update

There has been a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work going on with STAF* and Why Not Theatre’s Riser Project over the summer months: the work that is the subject of this Means of Production study included intensive planning meetings (curriculum development for the Artist Producer Training Program (APT) and “lateral mentorship” discussions with resident companies at STAF, for example), selection processes for Why Not Theatre’s Riser Project 2016 and the first round of APT sessions at STAF, as well as the creation and…
Resources, Shared Platforms

Summer reading list suggestions

One part of the Means of Production research and evaluation project is a thorough review of existing materials. This review began in earnest in May 2015, beginning with internal documents from both of the primary subject organizations, Why Not Theatre and STAF*. In order to place that information within a larger context, a concurrent review of recent research related to the performing arts, shared platforms, and other collaborative ventures is also underway. The partners in this study have decided to share their working bibliography of…
Resources, Shared Platforms, STAF
STAF Open Source Brainstorm

An introduction to shared platforms

If the concept of “shared platform” organizational models in the arts  is new to you, this article I wrote for Spiderwebshow’s ‪#‎CdnCult‬ Times May 2015 edition could provide a worthwhile introduction. If you want to know even more, please feel free to take a look at the Means of Production working bibliography of related research, tools and materials, and return to this site for regular updates on Why Not Theatre’s RISER project and STAF’s incubator and training programs. – Michael Wheeler, Executive Director & Transformation…
RISER Project, STAF, Why Not Theatre
Toronto Lightning Storm

Announcing a research and evaluation study

…and the start of a process of dealing with lightning -“bottling” it (sustaining and supporting creativity in new and powerful ways), and understanding enough about effect and impact to direct it to strike twice (and beyond). A new two-year study (May 2015 – April 2017) has been launched to evaluate two collaborative ventures in Toronto’s theatre sector – specifically, a community residency Riser Project developed by Why Not Theatre and a constellation of new capacity-building programs for independent theatre producers by STAF * (the Small…