OAF News

Announcing the Ray Ferris Innovation and Sustainability Grant

Toronto, November 28, 2022 -  The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) and the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) are delighted to announce the launch of the Ray Ferris Innovation and Sustainability Grant, recognizing advances in theatrical design and the promotion of environmental sustainability in live theatre. 

Toronto based theatre companies are eligible to apply for this annual $25,000 grant early next year by submitting a proposal demonstrating improved sustainability practices for an upcoming production. Advances can be considered, but not limited to, the creation of unique methods of delivering a narrative in live theatre; the development of new and sustainable processes in the construction and striking of a live theatre production; and transforming non-traditional or underused spaces into theatrical venues.

About Ray Ferris

This grant is made possible through a generous gift from the estate of Raymond M. Ferris, Toronto artist, mathematician, and statistician.  Ray earned a Master of Science degree and early in his career and was on the team of NASA rocket scientists responsible for the successful return of the astronauts from the moon landing. In the mid-1980s, Ray started his own business in Toronto, R.M. Ferris Research Consultants. With advances in technology, he began experimenting with digital art and developed techniques to integrate his love for art, mathematics and computer technology and he collaborated with local musicians, combining art forms. Ray loved the theatre and was an enthusiastic supporter of Toronto's scene. 

“As a mathematician, visual artist, and lifelong fan of live theatre, Ray hoped to champion innovators of the stage, especially the designers,” says Ray’s spouse Leah Lambert.  “I'm confident that the Ray Ferris Innovation and Sustainability Grant will see that hope fulfilled.”

Application and Selection Process

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the award. The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts is responsible for the selection process and will convene a jury to review applications and make deliberations.  

The grant will be open to application in the spring of 2023 with the inaugural grant made in June 2023.  For more information visit :  https://tapa.ca/programs/funding/ray-ferris-grant/

Successful grant recipients will provide a written report following the conclusion of their production, detailing how the grant was used to further sustainability practice in the performing arts, elaborating on elements that worked well and others that require additional consideration. The report will be presented to the TAPA membership with goal of building upon best practices in the industry. 

Grant Assessment Committee 

Indrit Kasapi (CHAIR) - Artistic Producer, Theatre Passe Muraille, TAPA Board member 
Anthony Garoufalis-Auger - The Climate Emergency Unit, SCALE- Le SAUT Mission Circle 
Denyse Karn – Executive Director, Associated Designers of Canada (ADC) 
Shawn Kerwin – Independent Stage and Costume Designer 
Jacoba Knaapen – Executive Director, TAPA 
Lisa Lambert – Estate of Raymond M. Ferris


 For more information, please contact:

Jacoba Knaapen, Executive Director
Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA)
Tel: (416) 536-6468 x25

Bruce Bennett
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413

To nurture an environment in which theatre, dance and opera may flourish and play a leadership role in the vitality of the City of Toronto. The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA): unites the disciplines of theatre, dance, and opera to celebrate and strengthen the performing arts in Toronto; promotes and advocates on behalf of a large and diverse membership of professional performing arts practitioners to legislators, public and private sector funding bodies, and to the general public; and provides marketing opportunities and professional development services to its membership.

Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2021-2022 the OAF paid over $4.4 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.

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