Risk/Reward was founded by Jerry Tischleder in 2008 under the umbrella of Hand2Mouth Theatre, whose instrumental support allowed us to grow our primary programs, audience, media coverage, artist relations and earned income gradually over our first five years. Since July 2012, we’ve operated as an independent organization. Being part of an artist collective that self-produces and tours new work made a big impact on the values of our organization and our ability to understand both the needs of our audiences and the artists we present. In 2020, Katie Watkins (Associate Producer since 2012, Festival Director since 2018) succeeded Jerry as Producing Artistic Director. Her focus is to continue amplifying Pacific Northwest artists who are pushing the boundaries of performance work in the NW, allowing the experimental, brave and brilliant audiences at Risk/Reward shows to experience the beauty and magic of the work for themselves. In 2024, after over 10 years with the Festival, Katie is stepping back from the production of the Festival of New Performance, and has brought in veteran-of-the-festival James Mapes. James has been with Risk/Reward since the beginning as an artist, lighting designer, and production manager, and steps into the role of Interim Festival Director with a full head of ideas for pushing Risk/Reward bigger and brighter.



Jerry Tischleder – Founding Director

Katie Watkins – Producing Artistic Director

James Mapes – Interim Festival Director

Liam Kaas-Lentz – Production Manager

CONE PDX – Grant Writing Team


Kate Bredeson

Marilou Carrera

Anthony Hudson

Jerry Tischleder

Takahiro Yamamoto