Introducing the Cole Foundation Mentorship Emerging Translators

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal and The Cole Foundation are thrilled to announce the participants to this year’s Cole Foundation Mentorship for Emerging Translators, Rhiannon Collett and Elaine Normandeau.


Rhiannon Collett

Headshot of Rhiannon Collett
Photo credit: Yuula Benivolski

Rhiannon Collett (they/them) is an award-winning non-binary playwright, performer, director and translator based in Montreal and Toronto. Their work explores the ritualization of grief, gender performativity, queer/trans identity and the psychological effects of sexual objectification.

Selected playwriting credits include Miranda & Dave Begin Again / Miranda et Dave recommencent encore (2016 Playwrights Guild of Canada RBC Emerging Playwright Award, presented in French at the 2019 Festival du Jamais Lu, and the 2020 Festival les Petites Formes, Martinique); Wasp (commissioned by Nightswimming, presented at the 2019 Rhubarb Festival, and developed at the Stratford Festival Lab), The Kissing Game (commissioned by Youtheatre and Young People’s Theatre, developed at the 2018 Banff Playwrights Lab, produced by Youtheatre, awarded the META for Outstanding New Text 2019); Tragic Queens (commissioned and devised with CABAL Theatre/Wildside Festival 2018); There Are No Rats in Alberta (created as a part of the 2017-18 Buddies in Bad Times Emerging Creators Unit, presented at the Rhubarb Festival 2018 ), and the English language translation of Chienne(s) by Marie-Eve Milot and Marie-Claude St-Laurent (in development with BoucheWHACKED! Theatre Collective). Rhiannon’s work is funded by the Toronto
Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Rhiannon was a guest artist at the LungA festival in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland and artist-in-residence at the Mauser Eco House in Costa Rica. They are a graduate of Generator’s Performance Criticism Training Program, Buddies in Bad Times Emerging Creators Unit, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal’s Young Creators Unit and Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program.

Rhiannon is a settler in Toronto, on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Huron-Wendat and the Haudenosaunee peoples, and in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal), on the traditional, un-ceded territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka people.

Play in translation: Ces regards amoureux de garçons altérés by Éric Noël

Elaine Normandeau

Headshot of Elaine Normandeau
Photo credit: John Lederman

For 25 years, after studying law and then theater, Elaine Normandeau has worked as an assistant director and stage manager in French and English theatre.

During these years, she had the privilege of working on landmark productions such as Le Procès and Siegfried by Wagner directed by François Girard, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Le misanthrope directed by Michel Monty, Belles-Soeurs directed by René Richard Cyr, Intérieur and Au coeur de la rose directed by Denis Marleau, Variations énigmatiquesUn fil à la patte and Equus directed by Daniel Roussel,  Une musique inquiétante/Old Wicked Songs directed by Martin Faucher, Waiting for the Barbarians and Amadeus directed by Alexandre Marine and Top Girls directed by Micheline Chevrier. In 2017, Elaine Normandeau participated as linguistic director in the film  Hochelaga, terre des âmes by François Girard, immersed in Mohawk and Anishnaabe cultures. She also works as a translator and creates surtitles for the theatre.

Play in translation: Muliats by Charles Bender, Charles Buckell, Marco Collin, Xavier Huard, Natasha Kanapé Fontaine et Christophe Payeur (le collectif)


The translation of new work for the stage is a core part of our programming. Since its inception in 2013, the Cole Foundation Mentorship for Emerging Translators (formerly Cole Competition for Emerging Translators) has been guiding the next generation of translators from French into English. 

With the expert guidance of acclaimed translator Maureen Labonté and in partnership with the Cole Foundation, PWM has built a program that mentors emerging translators through every stage of the process. The successful candidate receives a $1,000 honorarium and an eight-month mentorship with Maureen Labonté which includes a workshop with actors and a public reading.

More details about the program available here.

This program is a partnership between
Logo of the Cole Foundation

Tune in to the Young Creators Unit – Virtual Showcase 2021

Join us June 3-4 at 7 PM EST for our livestreamed Young Creators Unit showcase on YouTube — 2 exciting nights of staged readings by emerging theatre 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.

Last year, our first virtual showcase was a resounding success, with more people tuning-in than we ever had in-person in our studio space. Since then, our organization dived deep into the digital rabbit hole — launching programs such as the Digital dramaturgy initiative, the Digital dramaturgy clinic, and adding Digital dramaturgs Emily Soussana and Andrew Scriver from collective potatoCakes_digital to our team — we are excited to leverage these new skills to bring you an even better virtual event.

“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.”

Young Creators Unit Leader

Starting today and until the showcase, we are also releasing video interviews of the Young Creators. Learn about their process, what’s unique about the YCU, and what goes into their work. Follow us on social media or subscribe to our YouTube channel to see them as soon as they are released!



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

Headshot of Rebecca Bauer

Rebecca Bauer

Headshot of Miriam Cummings

Miriam Cummings

Headshot of Victoria Hall

Victoria Hall

Headshot of Darragh Mondoux

Darragh Mondoux

Headshot of Nicolas Retson

Nicolas Retson

Headshot of Anna Burkholder

Anna Burkholder

Headshot of Sophie El Assad

Sophie El Assaad

Headshot of Megan Hunt

Megan Hunt

Headshot of Tyson Night

Tyson Night

Headshot of Kyng Rose

Kyng Rose

Headshot of Willow Cioppa

Willow Cioppa

Headshot of Steven Greenwood

Steven Greenwood

Headshot of Sam Melnick

Sam Melnick

Headshot of David Noël

David Noël

Headshot of Anne-Marie Saint Louis

Anne-Marie St-Louis


At 7PM EST on June 3rd and 4th, our showcase was livestreamed on YouTube Live with introductions and commentary by YCU leader Jesse Stong. We are not planning to release the complete recordings of the nights, but will release individual excerpts in the coming months!

More about the Young Creators Unit

Thanks to generous funding from Canadian Heritage and 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.

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

APPLY NOW: Creating Object Theatre with La Pire Espèce

Due to its hands-on approach, this workshop will be held physically in accordance to PWM’s COVID-19 safety procedures. Contact for any questions about the workshop.

*UPDATE – May 25, 2021*
Application deadline extended to Friday, May 28 2021 at 5 PM EST.

Open to playwrights, puppeteers and other theatre creators, this bilingual four-day workshop led by Olivier Ducas and Francis Monty, co-artistic directors of the Théâtre de la Pire Espèce will guide participants through a creative process where image and text intermingle, a process in which the form emerges from the tension between all simultaneously examined scenic elements.

The unique form of object theatre is built around three key aspects: clear and poetic language, the possibilities of the object itself, and the actor’s performance, both manipulator and storyteller. Through hands-on exercises and practical discussions, La Pire Espèce will immerse you in the exciting, specialized and minimalist art of object theatre.


(4-day workshop)

9:30AM to 3:30PM EST every day

Session 1: Friday, June 25, 2021
Session 2: Monday, June 28, 2021
Session 3: Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Session 4: Wednesday, June 30, 2021


June 25th:
PWM Studio
7250 Clark St., #103
Montreal, QC
H2R 2Y3

June 28th-30th:
Maison internationale des arts de la marionnette
30, Saint-Just ave.
Montreal, QC
H2V 1X8

Creating Object Theatre is presented in collaboration with the Association québécoise des marionnettistes (AQM). The workshop is open to playwrights, puppeteers, performers and interdisciplinary creators. Members of the AQM are encouraged to apply. Please note that this is a hands-on workshop with some performance-based exercises. The workshop will be led bilingually in English and French, participants will be encouraged to express themselves in either language.

Application Instructions

  • Please send us a bio and/or artistic CV as well as a brief (1-2 paragraph) statement explaining why this workshop interests you, how it is relevant to your artistic practice, and what your expectations are.
  • Send applications and any questions to with the subject line: Exploring Practice with Pire Espèce.
  • You may send your application in English or French.

Apply before 5PM EST on May 28, 2021 to ensure that your application will be considered.

About the Workshop Leaders

Headshot of Olivier Ducas
Photo by Mathieu Doyon

Olivier Ducas studied acting at the National Theatre School of Canada. His decisive encounter with Francis Monty led in 1999 to the founding of Théâtre de la Pire Espèce, for which they act as co-artistic director. He also cofounded Théâtre Aux Écuries (2005) a creation center and theatre venue in Montreal and was one of Carte Premiere’s initiators. A playwright, actor, director and object/puppet manipulator, he is the co-creator of the company’s productions (Ubu on the Table, Perseus, Gestes impies et rites sacrés, Die Reise, Futur intérieur and L’Effet Hyde) that have toured across Canada, Europe, Mexico and Brazil over the last 20 years. In 2008, he single-handedly wrote and directed Roland, la vérité du vainqueur, a show for two actor-storytellers for teen audiences. In 2014, he repeated the experience with Cities, adding solo performer to his list of credits. He is currently working on the Contes zen du potager, a series of short, minimalist forms, where vegetables display all their substance. Ducas is a leading object theatre director in Canada. Research in object and image-based playwriting is at the core of his actions as a creator. In addition to his creative work, Ducas also gives object theatre classes for professionals, theatre school professors and theatre students.

Headshot of Francis Monty
Photo by Mathieu Doyon

A 1997 graduate of the playwrighting program at the National Theatre School of Canada, Francis Monty is a theatrical jack of all trades – directing, clowning, puppetry and his many writing projects all intertwine. In 1999 he co-founded Théâtre de la Pire Espèce with Olivier Ducas, and both share the position of artistic director. He has co-created many of the company’s plays, including Ubu on the table and Perseus. A number of his plays have travelled across Canada, and to Brazil and Europe, including Par les temps qui rouillentDéclownestrationTraces de clouneLéon le nulErnest T.Petit bonhomme en papier carbone and Nous sommes mille en équilibre fragile. He received the 2005 Masque award for best original script for Romances et karaoké, the 2014 Cochon dramatique for best original script for Petit bonhomme en papier carbone at the Gala des Cochons d’or and Ernest T. was nominated for best original script for young audiences for the Louise LaHaye Award.

WITH THE collaboration of
This workshop is financially supported by
Compétence Culture Logo

Remembering Sharon Pollock

Picture of Sharon Pollock (left) with Corrina Hodgson (right)

A week ago on April 22, Sharon Pollock, an oft-produced playwright who was known for works that explored Canadian history and identity at a time when few of her contemporaries were doing so, died at her home in Calgary, Alberta. She was 85. Playwright and PWM’s board member Corrina Hodgson was fortunate enough to work with Ms. Pollock on one of her first plays. The following text is Corrina’s personal recollection of Sharon’s impact on her work and life.

I was in my 20s, living my dream as an MFA student at the University of British Columbia, navigating life in Vancouver and living by myself for the first time ever when I learned that Teatro Berdache would be producing my play, Quietly Overwhelmed, in Calgary. It was my first professional production and I thought life couldn’t get any better when artistic director Steve Gin informed me that my dramaturge would be Sharon Pollock.

I had grown up the daughter of parents who exposed their children to the arts from a young age, but their definition of the arts was the O’Keefe Centre, the AGO, and Mirvish Productions. I knew there was more, but it took me until my undergraduate years at the University of Toronto to find my people — and Sharon Pollock was a bright shining beacon. Her works and the works of Natalie Meisner, Judith Thompson, Djanet Sears, and of Suzan-Lori Parks fed my late teens and early 20s. I thought of their words as a trail of breadcrumbs that showed me there was another way to be in this world.

And suddenly, Sharon Pollock was in my world.

Sharon demystified the writing process at exactly the right time for me. She made it practical and real. Not mundane. Not boring, but a task that we were lucky enough to get to do. She would call me while washing dishes because she had a thought about one of my characters, or because something in the script suddenly struck her as a much larger question that I should be exploring. She made me realize that writing wasn’t precious. It was something to integrate into my daily life — like doing my dishes or sweeping my floor. Something to carry with me as I went about my everyday life. And she showed me that writers could have everyday lives.

When I finally met her in person, she was just as warm and practical as she had been over the phone. She hugged tightly and quickly, and her smile was a flash of warmth. There was nothing fake about the woman. Everything was as efficient as her words, and my god did I admire her. I think one of the things I loved best about her is that she allowed the admiration, but always directed it back to my work.

Sharon’s words have been a gift to us all, and she gave me a gift of words that I have carried with me nearly 20 years now. When I was struggling in the second act of my script, she said to me, “At the very beginning of all this, you glimpsed the whole, and it was that glimpse that motivated you to undertake this journey. Your job now is to find your way back to that whole.” Now in my 40s, I recognize that she wasn’t just giving me writing advice. Like all good dramaturges, she was giving me life advice.

Godspeed, Sharon. Your journey is complete, and you have found your way back to your whole. I am so grateful to have shared a brief moment of it with you.

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal announces the upcoming departure of Executive & Artistic Director Emma Tibaldo

It is with gratitude for her dedication to the organization and the theatre community, that our Board of Directors announces the upcoming departure of long-standing Executive and Artistic Director Emma Tibaldo. After 13 years at the helm of the organization pushing the boundaries of dramaturgy, Emma will make way for a new generation of leadership.

“Emma’s impact on the Canadian theatre stage is immeasurable. At Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal, she has collaborated with hundreds of artists and spearheaded the development of innovative works across the nation. Her tireless dedication to supporting artists and bringing unheard stories to life is a true inspiration,” says Board President Naïma Kristel Phillips. “I particularly appreciate Emma’s ability to build community and make artists feel at home. Along with the team at PWM, she has created a space that welcomes and celebrates the voices of creators who might otherwise be overlooked. We see this leadership transition as an opportunity to build on Emma’s legacy and continue to delve deeper as PWM leaps into the future.”

Emma stepped into the Executive and Artistic Director role in early 2008. During her time at PWM, she successfully transformed the organization from a member-based service organization to a nationally-mandated theatre development centre, further expanding its mandate to support interdisciplinary performance. Emma has worked with playwrights from across the country, building lasting dramaturgical relationships, and bringing countless new Canadian works to life. She continued to grow PWM into an organization dedicated to discovery and experimentation. 

As Artistic Director, Emma established the Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency, in collaboration with the CEAD, bringing French and English playwrights together to write, dream, share and create, and the EstérELLE residency, focused on the development of new plays by English Language Québec female playwrights. Emma is a staunch supporter of theatre translation, further developing the Glassco Translation Residency in Tadoussac which, to date, translated 63 plays for the stage, and launching the Cole Foundation Mentorship for Emerging Translators, set up to identify and mentor the next generation of translators. 

“Sometimes you just need to leap into the unknown—now is that time for me.” Emma says, “I made this decision knowing that the organization was ready for new leadership. The company has grown, the process of dramaturgy has deepened, and the studio has finally come to completion. The relationships I have developed while at PWM have inspired and sustained me. I am incredibly grateful to our General Manager Lesley Bramhill, Dramaturgs Fatma Sarah Elkashef, Jesse Stong, and Maureen Labonté, our incredible staff-current and past, tireless board, and the innumerable artists and community members who have all carried PWM with me. Thank you. Deeply. PWM is the sum of the incredible humans who have called it home. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Magic exists, because creators dare to dream.”

Just last year, Emma was the recipient of the Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy. This prestigious accolade demonstrates that the international community, too, took notice of the work she accomplished during her tenure at PWM.

On Emma’s time at the organization, Lesley Bramhill, PWM’s General Manager says: “Emma’s dedication for emerging and established artists alike is remarkable. I will continue to be inspired by her leadership, passion and care. As PWM’s GM, I witnessed the impact she made on our local and national theatre community. The organization Emma nurtured for over a decade is growing strong, and we at PWM are so grateful and honoured to continue the legacy of her work.”

Further details about the next stage of Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal’s leadership will be announced in the coming weeks. A leadership search is currently scheduled for late spring-summer 2021. The Board of Directors is working together with Emma on a transition plan taking into account her current dramaturgical relationships at PWM, and providing for moments for her to return as a dramaturg in 2021-2022, and beyond. 

In the meantime, a huge thank you to Emma and the staff for their commitment to PWM, their accomplishments, and the growth we experienced under her leadership. She has all of our love to carry into the next chapter of her career. 

Our position against anti-Asian racism

Stop Asian Discrimination

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal condemns anti-Asian systemic racism and all forms of racist violence against Asians, Asian-Americans, Asian-Canadians.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian rhetoric has escalated in North America, as we witnessed racially-motivated hate crimes all over Canada and the U.S. In Montreal alone, police recorded 22 crimes specifically targeting Asian people between March and December of last year — 19 more than the year before. In Vancouver, anti-Asian hate crime incidents rose by 878% compared to last year, from 9 to 88. And this does not take into consideration the cases of aggression against the Asian community that have not been reported to authorities. 

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal joins the thousands of people who marched in downtown Montreal last Sunday to honour the lives and grieve the losses of Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yuan, Paul Andre Michels, Daoyou Feng, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim and Yong Ae Yue.

We stand in solidarity with our Asian community members – artists, workers, audiences and friends, whose contributions make our work possible. We express our unwavering support for the work needed to create a safe and inclusive environment in the Montreal theatre community, and stand with all creators fighting for social justice and equity.

Finally, Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal condemns the Quebec government’s continued denial of systemic racism in Quebec, as voiced by Premier Francois Legault in 2020 and recently by the newly appointed Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, Benoît Charette. PWM will be following the work of Quebec’s anti-racism committee critically.  

We also encourage our community members of all backgrounds, but especially those who benefit from racial privilege, to educate themselves on the long history of systemic anti-Asian racism in Canada. Folks wishing to learn more and contribute to local resources are invited to look at the list below.

Report a racist incident, consult anti-racism education resources, and celebrate Asian-American people at Act2endracism.

Visualize the spectrum of experiences felt across Asian Canadian communities during the COVID-19 pandemic by visiting The documentation collected through the project will inform future efforts for collective action against anti-Asian racism and xenophobia.

Read the resources put together by Project 1907, a grassroots group made up of Asian women seeking to elevate underrepresented and undervalued Asian voices in mainstream political, social and cultural discourse, including amplifying the voices of women.

Peruse the Represent Asian Project, a website celebrating, advocating and elevating Asian representation in various fields.

Participate in the bilingual Facebook group Groupe d’Entraide Contre le Racisme Envers les Asiatiques au Québec, a platform for mutual aid. The group advocates informative and constructive exchanges.

Scaffolded Anti-racism resources (an extensive list of resources organized by stage).

Anti-racism resources for white people (another comprehensive list of resources).

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