TYA Incubator Seeking Creators

Join us and explore contemporary Theatre for Young Audience practices while making new work for the Ottawa Children’s Festival 

What is a TYA Incubator? 

The TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) Incubator is a group of creators who come together to form a Community of Practice. We will think, re-think and generate processes around making theatre for young people. We will then put those ideas into practice by making and performing short performance pieces at the Ottawa Children’s Festival de la jeunesse in May 2024.  

This program will support Ottawa-Gatineau area creators in risk-taking and experimentation to foster a culture of creative local innovative work for young people. Applications are due January 15th 2024 at midnight.

Who can apply? 

We are looking for creators from any discipline with an existing live-art practice. This could include theatre, dance, community arts, storytelling, arts activism and more.  Are you: 

  • Curious about how your current work or practice could be shifted or re-thought to embrace young audiences?
  • Eager to learn about and share research about Contemporary TYA practices and apply your findings to your own practice?
  • Keen to develop your artistic knowledge and learn about considering, incorporating and/or embracing inclusive/diverse perspectives in your creation practice?
  • Experienced and/or interested in working with young people.
  • Located in the Ottawa-Gatineau region with access to the internet*. 
  • Available for the following dates:
        • February 17th and 18th 10am-6pm
        • March 16th and 17th 10am-6pm
        • April 27th and 28th 10-6pm
        • May 6th and 7th 5pm-7pm (Test Audiences)
        • May 9th – 14th (Set up and Festival Performances – daytime and weekend) 

We welcome you to apply if you are in post-secondary school but will prioritize those who are looking to expand the skills they have developed through finishing school or from life experience.

We actively encourage applications from members of groups with historical and/or current barriers to equity. Applicants who have built an artistic practice through channels other than post-secondary education, or alongside other full-time/part-time (paid or unpaid) work are also encouraged to apply. 

What happens in the Incubator?

From February 2024 – May 2023, participants will gather for a supported learning and creation experience. Weekend sessions will include the following: 

  • Attending shows for young audiences 
  • Hearing from knowledge activators working in the field
  • Undertaking and presenting research on Contemporary practitioners 
  • Working collaboratively with fellow Incubator artists
  • Creative workshops and group dramaturgical sessions 

As part of this project, participants will create a 5-15 minute piece to be presented on site at the Ottawa Children’s Festival in May 2024. In order to support the learning and creation components of this program, the Incubator will provide the following:

  • Free tickets to local TYA performances with discussion opportunities following 
  • A supportive and inclusive learning environment
  • Workshops and dramaturgical support to help you develop your performance piece
  • Technical and production support for your performance 
  • Rehearsal Space 
  • An honorarium of $2500 plus additional funding for materials and collaborators

Expectations of participating in the TYA Incubator: 

  • Attend all scheduled creation weekends 
  • Research and lead a discussion about a TYA theatre company, practice etc. 
  • Work collaboratively with other incubator artists
  • Create and present a 5-15-minute piece at the Festival in May 2024 that has the necessary supports in place for their audience (according to the subject matter of the piece). Each short piece will be performed multiple times during the festival. 

If you are interested in applying, you can fill out this Application Form or send a link with a 5 minute video with your answers to The application questions are available here.  All applications are due January 15th at midnight. You will hear back from us by mid February.

Before applying, applicants are encouraged to contact the program co-facilitators Emily Pearlman and Drea at We are happy to clarify any questions and provide any application support you might require. 


I have a project/play that I would like to develop further. Can I develop this project further within the Creator Incubator? 

We are searching for artists who want to explore their practice. You don’t need a project, and in fact we prefer you not to have a specific project in mind to explore in this process. At the end of this Creator Incubator you will develop and present a new 5-15 minute piece. 

Do I have to be available for all the creation weekends?

All participants must be available for the time stated. We may be able to accommodate small timing issues if they are discussed in advance (ie – I need to leave an hour early) 

I usually work with another creative partner, can we apply together? 

The short answer is yes! We ask that you either apply separately and then indicate in question 8 “Is there anything else you’d like us to know?” that you are applying as a pair. Please fill out the other person’s name that you would like to be considered with, Ex: consider with collaborator XYZ. Or, you can take the approach that one of you applies and partway through the process you would bring them on halfway through the process.



The variety of content was amazing, the opportunity to work with the workshop artists was invaluable and the camaraderie established among the artists was deeply supportive and appreciated. I really think the structure of the whole experience was excellent and so valuable. – 2023 Participant

The program was very supportive and fostered creation in areas that were new to me. I also really appreciated the additional resources provided to us and the promotion of our work at the festival. – 2023 Participant