The Resident Creators of the 2022 Glassco Translation Residency

The Glassco Translation Residency invites playwrights and translators from across Canada and beyond to come together for ten days in Tadoussac, Quebec, to work in-depth on their translation projects. The chosen participants are provided with a unique opportunity to focus on their projects and to share expertise in a retreat environment. 

After a two-year hiatus, we are delighted to welcome seven resident artists to translate five different plays during the Glassco Translation Residency in 2022! 


MEET THE RESIDENT CREATORS

Click on their portrait to learn more about each resident artist

QUEUE CERISE

Translation from French to English

 Amélie Dallaire – Playwright

Gabe Maharjan – Translator

THE CANDOR OF DINOSAURS

Translation from English to Portuguese

Michael Mackenzie – Playwright

Isabel dos Santos  – Translator

COPEAUX and MURS

Translation from French to English

Mishka Lavigne – Playwright

 David Gagnon Walker  – Translator

HAVRE

Translation from French to Spanish

Mishka Lavigne – Playwright

Emilio Iturbe-Kennedy  – Translator

Translation Dramaturg

We’re also pleased to welcome award-winning translator Maryse Warda, who will serve as translation dramaturg and residency host.

Born in Egypt, where she spent her childhood, Maryse Warda has been active on Quebec stages since 1992, and has translated more than seventy plays. Her work has helped introduce French-speaking audiences to many Canadian authors such as John Mighton, Morris Panych and George F. Walker. She has also translated for many  American, British, Scottish and Irish authors including Howard Barker, Margaret Edson, David Greig, David Hare, David Ives, Cindy Lou Johnson, David Mamet, Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter.

In 2011, she received the Governor General’s Award for her translation of the play The Toxic Bus Incident by Greg MacArthur. Her translation of Anthony Black’s One Discordant Violin – inspired by a short story by Yann Martel – was the subject of her work at the Glassco Translation Residency in 2019 and will be presented at La Licorne in the fall of 2022.

Since 2006, Maryse has benefited from the wonderful Glassco Translation Residency in Tadoussac on nine occasions. This is the first time that she will serve as translation dramaturg and host.

ABOUT THE GLASSCO TRANSLATION RESIDENCY IN TADOUSSAC

Over the past 16 years we have offered space, time, and dramaturgical expertise to over 63 translation projects into languages such as Cantonese, Catalan, Cree, English, French, Innu-aimun, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil, Tagalog and Urdu.

The Glassco Translation Residency in Tadoussac is made possible through our partnership with the Cole Foundation’s Intercultural Conversations Program, the dedication of Residency Producer Briony Glassco, and the support of the friends and family in memory of the great Canadian theatre artist, Bill Glassco. We are also grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal for their ongoing support.

Supporters: The Cole Foundation, Friends and Family of Bill Glassco, The Canada Council for the Arts, Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal Welcomes New Managing Director Anne-Sophie Grenier


PWM is delighted to announce that our Board of Directors and hiring committee have appointed Anne-Sophie Grenier as our new Managing Director.

Anne-Sophie Grenier is a performer, writer, curator, and arts administrator. She is excited to be returning to her home town of Montreal after having served as the Executive Director of Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre in Kingston, Ontario for the past 3.5 years. Her career has also included documentary film production, festival management, and international development. Anne-Sophie holds a Masters of International Arts Management from HEC Montreal and Southern Methodist University, as well as a B.A., Communications Studies from Concordia University. She is passionate about creating innovative opportunities for artists at the local, national and international level and is very much looking forward to collaborating with fellow creators in Montreal’s vibrant theatre community.

Anne-Sophie is appointed to the position following the departure of former Managing Director Lesley Bramhill, who was an integral part of the PWM team for five and a half years. Given Anne-Sophie’s education in arts management, leadership experience, and her artistic practice we are excited for the impact she will make at the organization and in the Montréal theatre community at large.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the choice of Anne-Sophie Grenier as our new Managing Director at Playwrights Workshop Montréal. Building on her experience as Executive Director at Modern Fuel, she has a solid, strategic understanding of the interrelations between operations, finances and core activities. Anne-Sophie brings a wealth of management experience as well as a passion for creating supportive spaces for artists. She demonstrates a strong commitment to applying approaches to equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility and decolonization. We look forward to witnessing what promises to be a strong and stimulating co-leadership between Anne-Sophie and Sarah.”

Naïma Kristel Phillips, President of the Board of Directors at PWM

Last year, in collaboration with Arts Consulting Group, we shifted our organizational structure to better support our internal leadership and honour our spirit of collaboration. The new structure of our organization supports a co-leadership between the Artistic and Managing Directors.

“I am thrilled to welcome Anne-Sophie to the team and look forward to co-leading PWM with her.  Anne-Sophie is experienced in collaborative leadership and arts management and is dedicated to supporting artists- I’m excited for us to meet the future together!”

Fatma Sarah Elkashef, Artistic Director of PWM

After a year of transitions and adaptations to the pandemic context, we look hopefully to the future of our organization under the new co-leadership team of Sarah and Anne-Sophie. This new chapter will yield fruitful collaborations and creative processes that we are excited to realize!

“I am honored by the trust that the Board and hiring committee have placed in me to be the new Managing Director in co-leadership with Sarah. Most recently, I was working in the visual arts while maintaining my own writing and acting practice; theatre has been my greatest love and truest friend, and I am happy to be able to bring my experience and passion to the role of Managing Director. I am excited about collaborating with the wonderful team here and the larger Montreal theatre community, putting my managerial and leadership experience towards supporting the important work done by everyone involved with PWM.” 

– Anne-Sophie Grenier, Managing Director of PWM

A PDF of this announcement can be found here:

2022 Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency

Image of a shoreline in Gros Morne featuring colourful salt box houses. The image has a blue banner with white text which reads: “2022 Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency”

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

The Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency is a Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal (PWM) and the Centre des auteurs dramatiques (CEAD) program, created with the participation of Artistic Fraud, and in partnership with the Cole Foundation, Creative Gros Morne, and the Bonne Bay Marine Station. It is a dual-lingual residency that will welcome writers from across the country to Gros Morne, Newfoundland.

ABOUT THE GROS MORNE PLAYWRIGHTS’ RESIDENCY

The Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency will bring together seven Canadian playwrights over a twelve-day period, from October 13 to 24, 2022. This unique dual-lingual residency is offered by two pan-Canadian organizations, PWM and CEAD, with the participation of Artistic Fraud of NL. It will take place at the Bonne Bay marine station in Norris Point, located in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador.

English language playwrights are asked to apply through PWM and French language playwrights through the CEAD. These two organizations will assess submissions from all across the country and select three English and three French applications. A seventh spot is reserved for a playwright from Newfoundland and Labrador.

The residency will be led by Fatma Sarah Elkashef, artistic director of PWM, Emma Tiabldo, dramaturg at PWM, and by Sara Dion, dramaturg at CEAD. The residency is an opportunity for solo writing, punctuated with moments of exchange and reading of texts as a group. The Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency provides playwrights with transportation, accommodation, meals, an honorarium of $800.00, and dramaturgical support.

Applications for this residency are now closed.

HOW TO APPLY

Submission deadline: May 20th, 2022 at 11:59 PM

Please send English submissions by email to: residency@playwrights.ca

With the subject line: 2022 Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency

Incomplete submissions will not be considered. Selection will be made by an internal committee set up by PWM and CEAD. We will only notify the selected applicants. The selected playwrights will be informed no later than July 8, 2022.

For more information about the residency, please contact residency@playwrights.ca

Eligibility:

  • Be a playwright, writing in English, and having at least one dramatic work workshopped, published, or professionally produced;
  • The play would ideally be in the early stages of development (first draft or slightly beyond);
  • Be available for the whole residency;
  • Be willing to participate in all activities prepared during the residency;
  • For playwrights writing in French please see link to CEAD here.

PWM welcomes all applications to our programs. While recognizing that the identity of each person is fundamentally plural, multidimensional, changing and evolving, we strongly encourage applications from artists who are: Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit), Black, POC, racialized (including recent immigrants), 2SLGBTQQIPAA+, neurodivergent, disabled, living with chronic illness and/or chronic pain. PWM is strongly committed to supporting a wide range of cultural identities and lived experiences, therefore we encourage applicants to self-identify in their application if they are comfortable doing so.

Your submission package must include:

  • A statement of your interest in the residency and how it will benefit your process; 
  • A description (PDF, video or audio) of the play (maximum 1 page/2 minute video or audio) with an excerpt of the play in progress (minimum 10 pages, maximum 12 pages);
  • A CV (2 pages maximum) and a short bio (100 words maximum);
  • A copy of your last published, workshopped or produced play.

Please submit all of the above as a single PDF file including links to the audio or video description if relevant.

If you need assistance with this application, please contact Heather Eaton at heather@playwrights.ca.

IMPORTANT

The holding of the residency is dependent on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Québec and in Newfoundland and Labrador. The residency and its parameters could be reassessed or postponed prior to the residency.

PLACES TO CREATE DURING THE GROS MORNE PLAYWRIGHTS’ RESIDENCY

Bonne Bay Marine Station

Since 2002, the Bonne Bay marine station, located on the magnificent west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, has had the primary mission of expanding knowledge in marine ecology. In addition, the station also engages in community and artistic activities. Nestled in the small coastal community of Norris Point and with breathtaking views, it is equipped with laboratories, offices, a library, a multimedia theatre, an aquarium, and a building with individual rooms. 

www.bonnebay.ca 

The residence is wheelchair accessible. However, the library and theatre space at the Bonne Bay Marine Station which is used often by the playwrights requires the participant in a wheelchair to leave the residence, travel across the parking lot, into the main lobby entrance to access the library/theatre space.

Gros Morne National Park

Soaring fjords and moody mountains tower above a diverse panorama of beaches and bogs, forests and barren cliffs. Shaped by colliding continents and grinding glaciers, the ancient landscape of Gros Morne national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

www.pc.gc.ca/fra/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/index.aspx

SCHEDULE FOR THE GROS MORNE PLAYWRIGHTS’ RESIDENCY

October 13, 2022

Travel via plane and car to Norris Point, Newfoundland and Labrador (anyone departing West of Ontario will have to add a day of travel).

October 14-23, 2022 

  • Unstructured writing time at Bonne Bay Marine Station;
  • Individual sessions with residency dramaturgs as requested by the playwright;
  • Daily ninety minute group meetings to read and discuss the process;
  • Possibility of a public activity with the community.

October 24, 2022

Departure for home.

A PDF of this call is available here:

Young Creators Unit Showcase 2022

Young Creators Unit graphic with green and pink lines; grey, black and white banners; and blue a background. The image has text which reads: “Young Creators Unit” and the dates: “May 19, May 20”

Join us May 19th and 20th at 7:00 PM EST for our Young Creators Unit Showcase on Gather. Tune in for 2 nights of staged readings from the YCU emerging creators!

Every year Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal produces two evenings of readings where creators from our Young Creators Unit (YCU) read excerpts of their work to an enthusiastic audience of peers, community leaders, and theatre lovers.

“We are so excited and proud to present to you this year’s Young Creators Unit. After an exceptional year of digging in and dynamic creation, these participants took on the challenge of working and meeting virtually during this socially distant and difficult time, held together as a group, and now want to welcome audiences at home to join our circle and witness some of the work in development.”

JESSE STONG
Young Creators Unit Leader

Starting today and until the showcase, we will be releasing content about the YCU on our social media! Learn about the process, what’s unique about the YCU, and what goes into their work. Follow us on social media to see more!

THIS YEAR’S YOUNG CREATORS

Click on the portraits to learn more about the creators and their work.

Alex Brault

Camille Mankumah

Elizaveta (Liza) Makarova

Mayala-Kali’ Elter

Anaïs Damphousse Joly

Charles Gao

JC Bitonti

Nelly Esméralda Zarfi

Brandon Adam

Eish Van Wieren

Laura Buchanan

Rachel Renaud

HOW TO CATCH THE SHOWCASE

At 7:00 PM EST on May 19th and 20th, our showcase will be livestreamed on Gather with introductions and commentary by YCU leader Jesse Stong. There will be ASL interpretation available for this event. Auto-generated captioning is available in Gather for people who use Chrome.

SCHEDULE

MAY 19TH SHOWCASE

(co-hosted by Anaïs Damphousse Joly) featuring:

Mayala-Kali’ Elter

Alex Brault

Charles Gao

Rachel Renaud

Eish Van Wieran

Nelly Esméralda Zarfi

MAY 20TH SHOWCASE

(co-hosted by Alex Brault) featuring:

Anaïs Damphousse Joly

Elizaveta (Liza) Makarova

Camille Mankumah

Laura Buchanan

Brandon Adam

JC Bitonti

You can RSVP for the YCU Showcase via the google form here:

ABOUT THE YOUNG CREATORS UNIT

Thanks to generous funding from the RBC Foundation, Canadian Heritage and the Zeller Family Foundation, as well as the dedicated mentorship of PWM dramaturg Jesse Stong, the Young Creators Unit has become a mainstay for young Canadian playwrights. Since its beginnings in 2015, YCU has supported more than a hundred young creators as they take artistic risks, develop their voices and find their place in Canadian theatre.

ThE YOUNG CREATORS UNIT is financially supported by
Canadian Heritage
Zeller family foundation

Queer Reading Series

Abstract graphic art of shapes in shades of blue, purple, pink and red arranged with one larger blue square which has text that reads: "Queer Reading Series, March 18, March 19, 7:00 PM".
The Queer Readings Series is Presented by Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal’s Young Creators Unit and Centaur Theatre with Festival Director Jesse Stong.

The Queer Reading Series- a selection of staged public readings showcasing emerging Canadian Queer Playwrights is back for two nights only at Centaur Theatre!

QUEER READING SERIES SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, MARCH 18 at 7:00 PM –  NO JUSTICE/NO PEACE by Blxck Cxsper

With direction by Jesse Stong

Please note that for the reading of “No Justice/No Peace” by Blxck Cxsper, there will be strobe lights as well as loud music.

SATURDAY, MARCH 19 at 7:00 PM – SCORPIO MOON by Adjani Poirier 

With direction by Murdoch Schon. Financially supported by Y4Y Québec

SATURDAY, MARCH 19 2:30 PM – 4:00 PMQUEER LEADERSHIP IN THEATRE PANEL

Centaur Theatre and PWM are delighted to present the Queer Leadership in Theatre Panel as a part of our Queer Reading Series! This panel discussion, moderated by Jesse Stong, will be looking at how queerness intersects with art-making. We will talk about the shows, the movements, and the key players making amazing Queer art. Then, we will open the discussion to the community to gather more stories, insights, and questions. This panel will take place in the Centaur Theatre gallery.

Panelists:
Gabe Maharjan, Co-Chair, Quebec Drama Federation
Corrina Hodgson, Artistic Director of Rose Festival
Greg MacArthur, Playwright & Professor at Concordia University
Alisa Palmer, Artistic Director of the English section of the National Theatre School of Canada

Jesse Stong, Moderator

Admission is free. Space is limited.

QUEER READING SERIES VENUE: CENTAUR THEATRE

453, rue Saint-François-Xavier
Montréal, QC  H2Y 2T1

For questions regarding accessibility, please email accessibility@playwrights.ca. Please refer to Centaur Theatre’s accessibility webpage to plan your trip to this venue.


ABOUT THE PLAYS

NO JUSTICE/NO PEACE

By Blxck Cxsper

The Blxck Cxsper universe is a multidisciplinary work of fiction based around a vigilante who questions super hero culture and the many ways it negatively affects society.

Kyng “Blxck Cxsper” Rose (they/them) is a multidisciplinary hip hop artist based in Montreal best known for being the founder of Trans Trenderz, the world’s first record label dedicated to trans musicians. In 2021 they were named by Billboard in their Change Agents list alongside names like Jay-Z and The Weeknd, the same year they debuted their fictional Blxck Cxsper universe at the Montreal Fringe Festival.

SCORPIO MOON 

By Adjani Poirier 

Night, the hot summer air hangs heavy with regret. Two estranged friends find themselves together again in a crumbling abandoned warehouse. Lily wants absolution, Koa has other ideas. A story about the complexities of Blackness, queerness, art, love, and the ever agonizing question: is forgiveness possible in the face of heartbreaking betrayal?

Adjani is interested in creating work that explores the beauty and the ugly of the human experience. She’s drawn to stories that reveal the complexity of navigating a world where systemic “isms” oppress and yet love and connection still seep through the cracks, strong and fierce, giving us life. Her plays include Celebrity Dogs, part of Boca del Lupo’s national project “Plays2Perform @ Home”,  Still Gay When I’m Not In Love and On Life and Living: A History of AIDS Community Care Montreal. She curated the 2021 edition of QueerCab with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and currently lives and writes in her hometown of Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal where she studies playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada.


ABOUT THE QUEER READINGS SERIES

Centaur Theatre and Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal believe in the importance of providing young theatre artists with tools for developing and showcasing their work. The Queer Reading Series is a free reading series that seeks to provide a platform for emerging artists to experiment with their writing.

The Young Creators Unit was not created as a queer-specific program, but over the past three years has become a vibrant space for self-discovery and political/personal creation. I am so proud that we’ve gained a reputation for being a supportive space for emerging queer artists to be bold, dive deeply into the intersections of their identity, and make work for the stage that reflects their unique existence in our contemporary world.

JESSE STONG
Festival Director and
Young Creators Unit Leader

Centaur Theatre is so happy to collaborate with PWM’s Young Creators Unit by supporting the process of bringing the voices of the next generation of Montreal’s diverse artists to the stage. They are the future of theatre.

EDA HOLMES
Artistic Director of Centaur Theatre

About the Young Creators Unit


Thanks to generous funding from Canadian Heritage, RBC Foundation, the Zeller Family Foundation, and the dedicated mentorship of PWM dramaturg Jesse Stong, the Young Creators Unit has become a mainstay for young Canadian playwrights. Since its beginnings in 2015, YCU has supported more than a hundred young artists as they take risks, develop their voices and find their place in Canadian theatre.

Click here to find out more about the Young Creators Unit.

PRESENTED IN COLLABORATION WITH
FINANCIALLY SUPPORTED BY

PWM’s Accessibility Committee

Image with text that reads: "Finding the love: PWM's Accessibility Committee"

An overview of our process so far


Over the past several years, Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal (PWM) has been researching ways to create more accessible and inclusive spaces. In 2019, we hired Kéroul to conduct an accessibility audit of our physical spaces, and they gave PWM a report with many recommendations. As tenants in the building, we have been limited in what changes we can make to the physical spaces, and so we shifted our focus to areas where we have more immediate agency to make changes: digital and cultural accessibility. In 2020-2021, PWM worked with Accessibility and Inclusion Consultant Clary Chambers to find tools, resources and approaches to creating more inclusive and accessible digital and cultural spaces. As Vice President of PWM’s Board of Directors, Corrina Hodgson, describes in the article below, in the winter and spring of 2021 we invited six D/deaf and disabled artists from the community to speak with us about how PWM could become more accessible and more inclusive. 


FINDING THE LOVE: PWM’S ACCESSIBILITY COMMITTEE 2020-2021

By Corrina Hodgson

CHALLENGING ACCESSIBILITY AUDITS

Like many theatre organizations in Montréal, PWM is located in an inaccessible building that it leases. Unsurprisingly, it scored low on an accessibility audit executed two years ago.

While the results of the audit were factually correct, they did not sit right with me. I am a disabled playwright and I have served as an artist member on PWM’s Board of Directors for the past four years. The audit did not capture the culture of the organization that I know.

Enter Clary Chambers.

We decided to move beyond an accessibility audit and expand our definition of accessibility to include Cultural and Digital Accessibility. This definition of accessibility came from a workshop that I’d attended in 2019 by Spark Clarity run by Clary Chambers. PWM hired Clary Chambers to train staff members and assist me with the first meeting of the Accessibility Committee. 

One core learning acquired from Clary this time around was the idea that accessibility begins at the point of contact. It’s not enough to have an accessible space or event. We must make our communications accessible. This impacted how we communicated with the members of the Accessibility Committee about our meetings. Every email included an ASL  video, and a separate spoken video with closed captions. This allowed our emails to be read, listened to, listened to and read at the same time, or watched. Beyond communicating the content of the email, this approach communicated that everyone’s welcome and that everyone’s accessibility needs are valid.

THE MEETINGS

Image of Clary Chambers sitting outside a pastel pink building with a notebook.

“ . . . [W]e are not struggling because there’s something wrong with us; we are struggling because the systems that were set in place were for a specific group of people, and they’ve never been changed.”  — Clary Chambers

For six meetings over six months — 12 hours total — artists Cherie Pyne, Violette Kay, Willow Cioppa, Penina Simon, Sage Lovell, Lois Brown, and I (Corrie Hodgson) — met with PWM staff in attendance,  including staff participant Heather Eaton to discuss all things accessibility and how disability, chronic pain, and chronic illness impacts our life and art, both before and during COVID (acknowledging that post-COVID has yet to exist.) We spoke of our interactions with PWM, discussed how PWM could be an ally, and future dreamed.

PWM and I urged participants to inform us of any accommodations that would make meetings more accessible for them prior to or during meetings. This seems simple, but isn’t. As one participant pointed out, we don’t always know what we need, we just know this isn’t it. And another one said that we’re so used to being asked for what we need, but not for what makes things easier — and that’s a big difference.

Some accommodations we made were that we had ASL-English interpreters and encouraged everyone to make use of chat features. Speakers identified themselves prior to speaking. Participants were welcome to turn cameras off or keep them off for the entire meeting if that felt right. They were welcome to fidget, stand up and stretch, or attend while lying in bed. Nothing was interpreted as disinterest or “unprofessional.” Instead, we welcomed all bodies in all states of being, and all modes of communication were treated equally.

This approach to meetings sent the message that you do not have to fit yourself to the meeting. Instead, the meetings were made to fit our participants. Their form was malleable so that the humans didn’t have to be.

This malleability of structure is something the committee agreed was a shared value as disabled artists. Many of the group members wondered if PWM could extend this flexible approach to other aspects of its work. For example, could PWM livestream their events for those of us who are physically incapacitated but would like to attend? Could PWM’s programs be made accessible remotely? And, of course, the ultimate malleability extends to deadlines. Many of us are writing on *Crip Time and therefore require flexibility with deadlines. In a field that defines “professionalism” as meeting deadlines (among other things), could PWM become a leader in challenging this definition and explore flexible deadlines with disabled playwrights? Could they fight for longer development time for the creation of new works? As Violette Kay pointed out, we just watched extensions be handed out universally and no one had to ask, so why do we think it’s so impossible to grant them to individual artists?

A zoom screen shoot of one of the accessibility meetings. Featuring (left to right, top to bottom): Corrina Hodgson, Emma Tibaldo, Fatma Sarah Elkashef, Sage Lovell,  Jordan (ASL-English Interpreter), Jesse Stong, Willow Cioppa, Penina Simon, Jennier (ASL-English interpreter), Marc Duez, Heather Eaton, Cherie Pyne, Violette Kay, Emily Soussana, Andrew Scriver, Lois Brown and Lesley Bramhill.
A zoom screen shot of one of the accessibility meetings featuring (left to right, top to bottom): Corrina Hodgson, Emma Tibaldo, Fatma Sarah Elkashef, Sage Lovell, Jordan (ASL-English Interpreter), Jesse Stong, Willow Cioppa, Penina Simon, Jennifer (ASL-English interpreter), Marc Duez, Heather Eaton, Cherie Pyne, Violette Kay, Emily Soussana, Andrew Scriver, Lois Brown and Lesley Bramhill.

HOW COVID IMPACTED OUR ART

A common experience amongst participants was a surge in survival employment during the pandemic. While most of our peers suffered financial losses, many of us were busier than ever. After all, we are a population that lives in quasi-lockdown without a pandemic, so the businesses we have developed — from music lessons and podcasting to consulting and technical writing — are well suited to COVID circumstances. 

While suddenly earning more than ever before, and doing so in a time when many were struggling, was fortunate, it came at the expense of our creativity. Many of us felt obligated to take on as much paid work as possible, knowing that when the pandemic was over, we would once again be relegated to the sidelines and our earnings would return to pre-pandemic levels. The result amongst members was a sense of pushing past limits and not having anything left to give to creative projects. And there was a mounting guilt and panic about those projects, some of which had deadlines looming and dramaturges waiting for new drafts.

Sage Lovell spoke about how COVID had reduced opportunities for Deaf artists while accessibility measures increased options for Deaf spectators. This led to questions of how PWM could attract and support Deaf creators. Sage also reminded us of the very real fatigue brought on by digital spaces — something that everyone has experienced by this point in the pandemic.

Our sense of being overwhelmed by our side gigs and day jobs happened right when we were the most disconnected from our creative communities. We didn’t get to finish work and head to the theatre to gather in person with colleagues for a reading or show. We no longer had informal hang outs in local cafés to drink coffee and write. Many members longed for some sort of casual, drop-in group on a digital platform where we could congregate and support one another while writing. Again, flexibility in this vision played a key role, so that writers could come and go as needed.

Moreover, many of us live in small abodes. Penina Simon bemoaned the loss of her beloved cafés as that’s where she was used to writing. Similarly, Willow Cioppa spoke to the difficulty of working, eating, doing therapy and then trying to be creative all at the same table in their apartment.

POST-PANDEMIC ACCESSIBILITY

For many of us, defining a post-pandemic world is difficult. We struggle to imagine a time of safety after these past two years. Merely imagining physical interactions with friends — never mind strangers — induces anxiety. Willow Cioppa foregrounded the important role that consent will play in our post-pandemic world, as we will all be at different comfort levels with physical touch, with hugs, and it will all have to be negotiated.

When committee members were asked if they felt safe attending PWM as an artist or spectator in the future, we all agreed that we did. We know that PWM as an organization is thorough and careful, that safety measures will be followed.

But then someone raised the question of how would we get to PWM? How many of us felt safe on the metro? On busses? Not one of us. 

And Violette Kay raised a larger, more important question, addressing in-person endurance. The thought of entering an in-person five-day workshop seemed, well, exhausting.

It’s not just a question of if we feel safe.

It’s a question of if we are ready.

Or maybe when.

And what we do until then.

PWM has striven to be a safe space and creative hub prior to and during the pandemic. We would love to see it maintain a digital presence both during and after the pandemic. That presence would bring safety and creativity to its community on a consistent basis. While we have been overwhelmed and lacking in focus throughout the pandemic, we have fought and continue to fight to maintain an artistic practice. Knowing that we can rely on PWM to remind us that we are artists first, that our art matters, and that our voices have important things to say brings a lived experience to the slogan “Access is Love.”

*Crip Time is explained by Alison Kafer in her book, Feminist, Queer, Crip as “Rather than bend disabled bodies and minds to meet the clock, crip time bends the clock to meet disabled bodies and minds.”

ABOUT CORRINA HODGSON

Headshot of Corrina Hodgson.

Corrina (she/her) is a Queer and disabled playwright and dramaturg with a passion for nontraditional story structure. Raised in Toronto, Corrina had the good fortune of being on writing units at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Nightwood Theatre before obtaining her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. She has been playwright in residence at the University of Lethbridge and her work has been produced across Canada and in the US, as well as on CBC Radio One. She is the co-creator and Artistic Producer of The Rose Festival, Montreal’s multidisciplinary festival for Queer Creators.


OUR COMMITMENTS

Below is a list of actions PWM has taken since the Accessibility Committee conversations, as well as actions we are committed to taking in the coming year and beyond. These actions are informed by multiple sources, including those already mentioned, as well as PWM’s staff and board. We are learning more each week, and welcome feedback from community members so that we may continue to render our practices and spaces increasingly inclusive. To ask questions or offer feedback, please email: accessibility@playwrights.ca 

We acknowledge that PWM is evolving as a company, our dramaturgical thinking is dynamic, and we commit to the actions below being dynamic as well. 

TopicActionTimeline
CommunicationsInclude videos of how to get to PWM’s location and how to get to our office/studio once inside the buildingcompleted
CommunicationsExamine user experience to make accessibility information very easy to find on PWM’s websitein progress
CommunicationsAdd alt-text & image descriptions to the website and all social mediain progress
CommunicationsUse a maximum of 5 words of text in all graphicsin progress
CommunicationsOffer general and technical guidance and assistance for applications to PWM programs/job openingsin progress
CommunicationsSituate accessibility information and access needs requests at the top of blog articles or event pages on the websitein progress
CommunicationsAdd a video tutorial to our Accessibility webpage on how to use the accessibility features on PWM’s websiteto be completed in 2022
CommunicationsAdd captioned video invitations to events and programming communicationsin progress
CommunicationsAdd voice-over to videos on our Accessibility webpage on how to get to PWMto be completed in 2022
CommunicationsAdd photos of the PWM studio with people to the Accessibility webpageto be completed in 2022
CommunicationsOffer diverse modes of communication for applications at PWMin progress
CommunicationsUse a relay service for telephone communicationsnot started
ProgrammingProvide support to artists as they adapt to digital and hybrid mediums of creation and dissemination through Digital Dramaturgy Clinicscompleted, ongoing
ProgrammingCheck-in with artists about comfort, safety and preferred work conditions during the process of organizing development workshopscompleted, ongoing
ProgrammingAdd drop-in hours to the remote Writers’ Room to accommodate different scheduling needscompleted, ongoing
ProgrammingCommunicate about the Writers’ Room through email and a shared Google calendar rather than Facebookcompleted, ongoing
ProgrammingHire an artist with lived experience with disability/chronic pain to co-facilitate the Writers’ Roomcompleted, ongoing
ProgrammingHire and collaborate with artists from the d/Deaf community on their artistic projectsnot started
ProgrammingSend tech gear to artists that need it for participation in programmingcompleted, ongoing
ProgrammingOffer hybrid, in-person and remote workshopscompleted, ongoing
ProgrammingOffer technical orientation workshops and/or video tutorials for different digital platforms for artists prior to activitiesin progress
Public EventsImplement and communicate about accessibility for eventsin progress
Public EventsPublicize PWM’s current practices and structures in place for eventsin progress
Public EventsDesignate a PWM staff member as an Accessibility Liaision, available to respond to questions and requestscompleted
Public EventsHire ASL-English interpreters for live readingsin 2022
Public EventsProject script during public eventsnot started
Public EventsOffer livestream options for public eventsin progress
Staff TrainingTwo PWM staff members begin learning ASLin 2022
Staff TrainingBegin staff training on working with neurodiverse artists, welcoming D/deaf, disabled and/or neurodiverse members of the public to cultural spacesin 2022
Working with StakeholdersInclude accessibility support requests in all funding request budgetsin progress
Working with StakeholdersContinue to advocate to funding bodies for more support and longer and more flexible creation & development time in new theatre creationin progress
Working with StakeholdersWork with property management to install non-slip and contrasting colour bands on the stairs inside the entrance of the buildingto be completed in 2022
Working with StakeholdersWork with property management to apply to the City of Montreal for a reserved parking spot directly in front of the building entrance at 7250 Clarkto be completed in 2022

THIS CONSULTATION PROJECT WAS SUPPORTED BY

CAM Logo