Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal Welcomes New Artistic Director Fatma Sarah Elkashef

Blue banner with text which reads: PWM NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, Fatma Sarah Elkashef.

After an extended leadership search, led by our board of directors and hiring committee, PWM is delighted to announce that Fatma Sarah Elkashef has been appointed as our new Artistic Director.

As a longstanding dramaturg with Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal, and an outstanding theatre artist in our community, Sarah will shape the future of our organization with passion and advance dramaturgical practice at a national level. 

Sarah’s role as Artistic Director also establishes a new organizational structure for Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal, creating a co-leadership team between Fatma Sarah Elkashef as Artistic Director and Lesley Bramhill as the newly-appointed Managing Director.

Fatma Sarah Elkashef

is a dramaturg and theatre maker with a practise in new play development and interdisciplinary creation. Born and raised in the U.K. to Egyptian and Dutch parents, Sarah has been based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal since 2011. Previously she was the senior reader at Soho Theatre in London and worked in New York City for eleven years as a producer, company manager, literary associate and director. Sarah is a graduate of Warwick University in English Literature and Theatre (U.K.), has an M.A. in Theatre from Hunter College (CUNY, NYC), and a Graduate Diploma in Communications from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). At PWM she founded the Interdisciplinary Writers’ Lab to explore non-text centered approaches to making performance and the remote Writers’ Room to foster solidarity amongst playwrights during the pandemic. Since 2012 Sarah has worked across programs at the National Theatre School of Canada as a dramaturg, creator, mentor, and teacher. Read more about Sarah.

I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of PWM’s incredible work and for the time and care taken by the Board and committee during this process. I am excited to create more opportunities for thoughtful collaborative work across practises and cultures, and to welcome new voices and approaches to the organization. PWM has always encouraged my curiosity and dramaturgical exploration and I want to offer that support to emerging dramaturgs while shining a light on process in general.

Fatma Sarah Elkashef, Artistic Director of PWM

Following the departure of Emma Tibaldo, after fourteen influential years at the helm of Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal in the position of Executive and Artistic Director, we look hopefully to the future of our organization under new leadership.

As a nationally-mandated theatre development centre, we’re thrilled to welcome such a visionary leader. It’s rare that you get the combination of a broad international background with a track record of engagement on the local and national stage. Fatma Sarah Elkashef brings that along with a breadth of experience in artistic creation, production, and management. Her passion for and breadth of knowledge in dramaturgy as well as her deep commitment to artists and the theatre community make her the ideal person to shepherd PWM into the future.

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

In collaboration with Arts Consulting Group, and our board of directors, Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal has shifted our organizational structure to better support our internal leadership.

In addition to the appointment of Fatma Sarah Elkashef as Artistic Director, Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal is delighted that Lesley Bramhill, our former General Manager, will be moving forward with our organization in the role of Managing Director.

The establishment of this new co-leadership team honours PWM’s spirit of collaboration and we are excited to see how Sarah and Lesley will shape the future of our organization.

Image of Lesley Bramhill sitting on a stool.

I am grateful for the attention and care our board of directors gave to PWM’s succession process that has culminated in this new leadership structure. It is a new chapter of the organization that I am proud to be a part of. Together with the board, I look forward to working with Sarah on continuing to strengthen the organization.

Lesley Bramhill, Managing Director of PWM

Access to a downloadable PDF of this press release is available here:

PWM+MAI Joint Support for Artists Featuring Jamila ‘Jai’ Joseph


Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal and MAI (Montréal, Arts Interculturels) are thrilled to announce that the PWM + MAI  Joint Support for Artists will feature Jamila ‘Jai’ Joseph with her work Wild Roots.

THE ARTIST

Headshot of Jamila Jai Joseph

Jamila ‘Jai’ Joseph is a Montreal based interdisciplinary artist with her primary mediums being dance performer 20+yrs/choreographer 10+yrs, self taught emerging singer 15yrs/song writer 15yrs, emerging theatre artist 3yrs.  

A past recipient of Black Theatre Workshop’s Victor Phillips award in 2002 Jamila has continued performing, creating, and learning, telling her stories, and sharing her expressions throughout her work. In 2015 Jamila started JaiDanse, a dance facilitation/dance performance company and has produced and co-produced shows both for stage and theatre at local venues around the city. Mothers Say I Love you, written by Trey Anthony (Black Theatre Workshop 2019) & Nicole Brooke’s a Cappella “musical odyssey” Obeah Opera (ASAH Productions 2019) in Toronto, with her first stage role being back in 2017  where she portrayed ‘Lady in Purple’ in the Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls… (McGill University’s Tuesday Night Café Theatre) and again in 2018 as an “Encore presentation…” produced by the cast (Les 6 Productions). As we all came to stand still in the last 2 years, Jamila used the time to study her crafts, sharpen her creative tools and has added some new skills to her toolbelt. Currently, she is choreographing for theatre (tba) and is also writing script and song/working on her own Performance Theatre piece entitled Wild Roots.

THE PROJECT

Wild Roots is a theatrical fantasy that glimpses into the journey of a young Canadian Caribbean woman as she explores spiritual connection to self through a unique series of events. Held within a dream, song, dance & folkloric customs set the tone for this learning session as she confronts challenging parts of herself that she must work through. Taking a deeper look at the differences in how one may go about questioning old belief systems, cultural and societal norms.

The modality of healing becomes the landscape on which this story roots itself, using an interdisciplinary approach and perspective to narrate the story further exploring how intergenerational traditions can lend itself to self-discovery and healing.

THE PROGRAM

The PWM + MAI joint support accompanies creators on their journey to develop a project and explore their practice. It is aimed at artists encountering structural and systemic obstacles to their full participation in the arts because of their claimed identity and/or perceived identity in society. 

More details about the program available here.

We are so excited to support the development of Jamila’s project, and wish her a fulfilling creation process!

This program is a partnership between
PWM logo
Project supported by the Government of Quebec as part of l’Entente sur le Développement Culturel and the City of Montreal, and by the Canada Council for the Arts
Canada Council logo

A downloadable version of this announcement is available here: