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 Theatre Administrative Facility). These projects can be viewed as dynamic test cases for shared platform and collaborative concepts that have been percolating for some time (particularly in earnest in the past few years).

Those involved in this study hope that this evaluation can benefit not only Why Not, STAF, and the partners and participants in these specific projects, but that the process might also inform and strengthen new and emerging ideas, the funders who support them, and the audiences and communities that appreciate and derive value from them.

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.

For more information about the study and its partners, please see this site’s About page.

Image: Toronto Lightning Storm, © S.L. Helwig & Associates, 2015.
Kevin Quinn, Photographer; Sherri Helwig, image editor.


Note: the name of one of the subjects of this study has not been changed retroactively from its previous name (STAF) to the new name (Generator) in blog posts on this site in order to maintain timeline consistency.



  1. The EHSRE study was a rigorous, large-scale, random-assignment evaluation and included an implementation study, an impact study and local research projects.