Announcing the 10th recipient of the Cole Foundation Mentorship for Emerging Translators: Katherine Turnbull

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal and The Cole Foundation are thrilled to announce Katherine Turnbull as the 10th mentee OF the Cole Foundation Mentorship for Emerging Translators.

Katherine Turnbull is a writer, translator, theatre creator, and actor.

She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts [Honours] in Acting with a minor in French Studies from the University of Windsor. Based in Montreal, she works in French and English in theatre and film. Katherine is fascinated by the messy and complex aspects of life, and so she explores the nitty-gritty of humanity in her projects.

In 2021, Katherine translated La nuit du 4 au 5 by Rachel Graton, commissioned by Talisman Theatre. The resulting translation, The Night From the 4th to the 5th, has recently been shortlisted for the Tom Hendry Best Drama Award. In May 2022, Talisman Theatre presented it as a digital reading, which has since won awards at the 2023 Snow Leopard International Film Festival (Madrid, Spain) & Sweden International Film Festival for Best Drama, Best Black and White Film, and Best Stage Play. It also received four (4) nominations at the 2023 MAGMA Film Festival (Best Feature & Experimental Film, Best Directing, Best Original Concept, and Best Ensemble).

She is honoured to have been selected as the 10th mentee of the Cole Foundation Mentorship for Emerging Translators and thrilled to dive into this process working on Rachel Graton’s 21 under the mentorship of Maureen Labonté.

Supporting the translation of new work for the stage is a core part of Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal’s (PWM) programming. Since its inception in 2013, the Cole Foundation Mentorship for Emerging Translators has been guiding the next generation of French to English theatre translators.

With the skilled 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 their process in writing a new translation of a play. The successful applicant to this year’s program receives a $1,500 honorarium and a mentorship with Maureen Labonté, which includes a workshop with actors and a reading. Learn more about the program here.

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New Stories Project Creators

The New Stories Project is a PWM storytellers unit which offers accessible creation workshops, as well as customized development labs and additional support, to emerging and established neurodivergent theatre-artists. 

This season, participants from the New Stories Project have been invited to tour with us across the province, presenting excerpts from their works in development. These pop-up performances and talk-backs will be a chance for our artists to share their unique creations in intimate settings, and will all take place in selected community centers and schools that serve neurodivergent populations. 

More information to come in January 2024. 

The NSP takes on new participants on an ongoing basis. Read more about the current storytellers and their projects here. For more information on getting involved, contact Jesse Stong at

Meet the storytellers:

stephen booth

Stephen Patrick Booth is an actor/playwright based in Montreal who works in theatre and film. A graduate of Concordia University’s with a BFA in Theatre and Political Science. Stephen has worked with the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre won “The Dybbuk,” VillageScene Productions on “A Twin’s Tail,” and Cote Saint Luc Dramatic/Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre on “The Producers.” Most recently, he appeared in La Tigressa Productions’ “The Autism Monologues” in the 2018 Montreal Fringe Festival.

Other Worlds

On a small island overrun by land developers, two radically different strangers’ lives collide after an unexpected ecological disaster. Seeking safety in a bunker, they clash and connect over their shared dislike of the developers, and their conflicting dreams of a utopia where they can do more than just survive. Other Worlds celebrates their unique journeys to claim and strengthen their own self-identity, while working to make deeper connections with the outside world. A play about well-being, friendship and belonging, and the importance of community.

Aharon Elter

Aharon Elter; a transmasculine, neurodiverse, multidisciplinary artist. A white settler of Danube Swabian, Austrian, Scottish and Irish descent; living and creating in Tiohtiá:ke/Mooniyang/montréal. They are a being of dreams, regularly getting lost but always finding their way home. Often found daydreaming about atoms; the ways in which they dance, the memories they may collect and the events they witness as they exchange form becoming this then that. They create work about neurodiversity, bravery, brats, agency, belonging, grief, survival, divinity and magick.

Play description:

A story about a young trans boy. His exploration and discovery of queer identity, explored through dress-up and play. Paying homage to iconic queer elders and ancestors, recognizing the lineages queer people grow from and into. A story of celebration and euphoria. With a narrative infused with somatic teaching around the embodied YES! vs. NO. Intended as a resource for continued learning and growth around queer history, community, and pride. An illustrated children’s book intended for people aged 3 to 8 years old.

Robert Girolami

Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, I took an interest in acting since I was 11 years old. Since 2010, I’ve been a participant at Spectrum Productions, a non-profit organization that helps youths and young adults on the autism spectrum create their own original short films. I expanded my skills in acting and writing, as well as gaining new skills in editing and other film production skills. Also, I helped create and perform in many short films like Elemental Ninjas, Loss and Honour, Galactic Justice, The Illusionist, Crime Town and One Last Bowl. Outside acting and writing 

I graduated from LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School (L.C.C.H.S.) in 2013, where I performed many productions in its drama club, like Alice in Wonderland and a Dr Seuss version of The Christmas Carol. After entering Dawson College in its Creative Arts program, I performed with the Dawson Theatre Collective in the original plays: This is not a Drill and Homosimian. FInishing the program in 2016, I was enrolled in the CEGEP’s Professional Theater Program where I honed my skills as an actor. Throughout my time in the program, I performed in Spring Awakening, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Taming of the Shrew, Attempts on her Life, and Welcome to Thebes. Also, I assisted in other productions through backstage work. Once I completed the program in 2019, I joined ACTRA where I am currently an apprentice. In 2023, I took a class at the Montreal School of Performing Arts. 

I joined the New Writers Project after meeting with a staff member in late 2021 during a community challenge with Spectrum Productions. Starting in 2022, I began working on my feature-length movie script The Fandom Wars, where it’s currently in the writing process. The Fandom Wars is about a group of friends who make their own original film after being denied by other studios to make it. Once completed, they are rejected by a studio CEO of distribution due to offensive content within the film. They begin to fight for the right to have their film released to the public. Will they be successful in getting their movie out there and change the media industry forever? The film details how the media industry isn’t the same as it used to be. It shows how the business is no longer relying on strong stories and characters, but overuse of CGI, visuals, poor portrayals of ethnic people and those with disabilities, false advertisement and cliche/scrapped story ideas. Also, it shows how the industry is constantly hiring mostly attractive people. As an actor and writer on the autism spectrum, this movie idea really hits home for me. Not many people like me get opportunities to be involved in the industry, so we try to make our own creations. However, we don’t get seen or heard much, so we try desperately to get it out there. 

I wanted to become a professional actor and writer not only to do something I love, but to help those with disabilities see their dreams in the industry, regardless of the job they wish to do.

Headshot of Sam Melnick
Sam Melnick 

Sam Melnick is a Montreal born-and-bred emerging theatre creator and graduate of John Abbott College’s Professional Theatre program. 

Sam has been involved in the community theatre scene as an actor and assistant stage manager. Sam has recently turned his hand to writing and is a member of the New Stories unit with Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal. Sam spends most of his time watching foreign films, delving into the world of electronic music-making, and hanging out with his lovable dog, Benji.


The play is a look at the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum through an intersectional perspective. Topics include gender and sexual diversity, political non-conformity, and ethnicity. In a world that wasn’t built for you, how do you create a space for yourself and those you love?

Headshot of Blxck Cxsper.
Kyng Rose

Kyng “Blxck Cxsper” Rose is a Montreal based black trans and non binary multidisciplinary hip hop artist, known for being the founder of Trans Trenderz, the world’s first record label dedicated to trans and gender non conforming musicians. Kyng has been recently featured on the Billboard Change Agents list, next to industry giants such as Jay Z and The Weeknd. 

Kyng was introduced to the world of Montreal theatre through Sophie Gee who casted them as an actor, co-creator and sound designer in her play Levriers. They then went on to join the Playwrights Workshop Montréal’s Young Creator Unit where they started developing their own plays. When Kyng arrived at the YCU program they had performed but never written a full play. Over the process, Kyng worked on developing a biographical piece, and then started to explore fictional/fantasy multimedia piece BLXCK CASPER, a commentary on black rights, police brutality, and the intersection of trans/black identity. This play premiered at Montreal Fringe to sold out audiences, then a full staged reading presentation at PWM’s Queer Reading Series in 2022. PWM collaborated with YouTheatre to plan a full production in 2023/24. Kyng will now be supported by PWM and YouTheatre to fully develop BLXCK CASPER into a tour across English schools in Quebec and the East Coast. The play will also be filmed, and turned into a digital broadcast for an even wider audience.


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.

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Erika Squires 

Erika Squires is a theatre artist from Newfoundland. Erika has an English degree, with a specialization in Theatre and Drama, and a diploma in Performance and Communications Media from Memorial University of Newfoundland. An emerging playwright, Erika has written three plays: Hush (for PerSIStence Theatre) Baby and Fixed (self-produced with support from ArtsNL and the CCA). Erika is an acting student at the National Theatre School of Canada.


Special explores lateral ablism following dual-protagonists Katherine (26) and Dee (17) as they struggle within the same post-secondary institution. This play challenges notions of what autism looks like in storytelling – centring two women who are successful, sexual, and sometimes ableist adults who are constantly searching for a shared language about the way they interact with, and around, their worlds.

Philippe David

Anne Tremblay

The New Stories Project is facilitated by arts educator and dramaturg Jesse Stong.

Jesse Stong (They/Them) is a proud parent of twins, a graduate of Playwriting from the National Theatre School of Canada, and received a Master’s in Art Education from Concordia University. They are an award-winning queer creator, dramaturg, and educator.

Over the years, Jesse has supported over 140 emerging Canadian storytellers as director of our Young Creators Unit.  Jesse also leads our New Stories Project for Neurodiverse Storytellers.

Jesse is an occasional content creator/editor for Moment Factory, and was recently Manager of Children’s Programming for, Associate Curator for the National Arts Centre Disability Summit, and Host of the Montreal English Theatre Awards.

Current & Past Writing Coaches

Laura Beauhanon
Anna Burkholder
Michaela Dichesere
Sophie Gee
Erin Lindsay
Gabe Maharjan
Darragh Mondoux
Johanna Nutter
Laurent Pitre
A.J. Richardson
Gabriel Shultz
Anne-Marie St-Louis
Jen Viens

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Announcing the 2023 Gros Morne Residency Playwrights | Dévoilement des Participant.e.s de 2023 Résidence de Gros-Morne

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal (PWM) and le Centre des auteurs dramatiques (CEAD), in partnership with Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, Creative Gros Morne, the Bonne Bay Aquarium & Research Station, and with the vital support of the Cole Foundation, are pleased to announce the seven playwrights participating in the 2023 Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency

The Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency is a dual-lingual residency that welcomes playwrights from across the country to share space and conversation in the unparalleled landscape of Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador. The program offers dramaturgy in French and English. 

From October 12th to 23rd, 2023, Elena Belyea, Guillaume Corbeil, Cole Hayley, Emmanuelle Jimenez, Breton Lalama, Mishka Lavigne, and Christine Rodriguez, will be staying at the Bonne Bay Aquarium & Research Station in Norris Point. The residents will have the opportunity to explore their plays during unstructured writing time, one-on-one dramaturgical conversations, and group discussions.

Look out for future social media posts about the artists and the residency!

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal (PWM) et le Centre des auteurs dramatiques (CEAD), en partenariat avec Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, Creative Gros Morne, le Bonne Bay Aquarium & Research Station, et avec le soutien vital de la Fondation Cole, ont le plaisir d’annoncer les sept auteurs et autrices dramatiques qui participeront à la Résidence canadienne d’auteurs et d’autrices dramatique de Gros Morne 2023.

La résidence d’écriture théâtrale de Gros-Morne est une résidence bilingue qui accueille des dramaturges de tout le pays pour partager un espace et la conversation dans le paysage sans pareil du parc national du Gros Morne, à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador. Le programme propose de l’accompagnement dramaturgique en français et en anglais.

Du 12 au 23 octobre 2023, Elena Belyea, Guillaume Corbeil, Cole Hayley, Emmanuelle Jimenez, Breton Lalama, Mishka Lavigne et Christine Rodriguez séjourneront au Bonne Bay Aquarium & Research Station à Norris Point. Les résidents auront l’occasion d’explorer leurs pièces pendant des périodes d’écriture non structurées, des conversations dramaturgiques individuelles et des discussions de groupe.

Ne manquez pas les prochains messages sur les médias sociaux concernant les artistes et la résidence!

Meet the Playwrights | Rencontrez les auteurs



Elena Belyea (they/she) is a queer playwright, performer, producer, arts educator, and Artistic Director of Tiny Bear Jaws. She was born and raised in amiskwaciwaskahikan (colonially known as Edmonton) on Treaty 6 territory and have had work produced across Turtle Island and internationally (including Hungary, Austria, Berlin, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Quebec, and Wells). Her play “Smoke” was recently published by Playwrights Canada Press. They’re also half of queer sketch duo “Gender? I Hardly Know Them” (on Tiktok + Instagram at @genderihardlyknowthem). Elena was the recipient of the 2023 Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Lead Performer in a Musical. Her company, Tiny Bear Jaws’ production of “Smoke” won the 2023 Sterling Award for Outstanding Indie Production. 

Photo credit: ​​Brianne Jang

Guillaume Corbeil (QUÉBEC)

PLAY IN DEVELOPMENT: La vérité sur David Alpis
(titre de travail)

Guillaume Corbeil a écrit des livres (L’art de la fugue, Brassard, Trois princesses), des pièces de théâtre (Tu iras la chercher, Unité modèle) et des scénarios (À tous ceux qui ne me lisent pas).  En 2021, il présente Pacific Palisades à Paris, au théâtre Paris Villette, puis au Poche, à Genève. Sa pièce Cinq visages pour Camille Brunelle s’est vu décerner le prix Michel-Tremblay. Avec À tous ceux qui ne me lisent pas, il a remporté l’Iris du meilleur scénario.

COLE HAYLEY (newfoundland)

PLAY IN DEVELOPMENT: And they Found Them Melted into the Carpet 
(working title)

Cole Hayley is a creator originally from Elliston, Newfoundland and Labrador, but now is based between St. John’s and the “Mainland,” as he continues to pursues a life in the arts.

Cole is a recent graduate of the National Theatre School and an alumni of Memorial University of Newfoundland, where he received a BA in English and Communications. He’s a current member of the inaugural Poverty Cove playwrights unit, and is currently working on publishing a collection of poetry.

Photo credit: Maxime Côté

emmanuelle jimenez (québec)

(titre de travail)

Emmanuelle Jimeneza suivi une formation en interprétation au Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal. Tout en poursuivant sa carrière de comédienne, elle se consacre à l’écriture dramatique. Parmi ses textes qui ont été montés, on compte Du vent entre les dents (Théâtre D’Aujourd’hui), Rêvez, montagnes! (Nouveau Théâtre Expérimental), Centre d’achats (Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui), Cendres (Des pieds des mains), Bébés, spectacle coécrit avec Alexis Martin (Nouveau Théâtre Expérimental) et Alice! (Théâtre du Trident). Elle est dialoguiste pour la série dramatique NOUS (Duo Productions), de Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf. Elle a mené de  nombreux projets de médiation culturelle, notamment avec La Maison bleue à Côte des-Neiges et la Maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord. Elle a été  membre du conseil d’administration du Festival du Jamais Lu de 2003 à 2010. Et elle siège au conseil d’administration de l’Association québécoise des autrices et auteurs  dramatiques (AQAD) depuis 2014.

Photo credit: Eva Maude TC



Breton Lalama (he+they) is a multimedium artist fascinated by the intersections of truth and performativity and how they tangle with our amoebic identities of public and private self. He’s a proud co-founder of the Spindle Films Foundation, an initiative created to support transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse Canadian filmmakers. They’ve received Merritt and Dora award nominations, and won a Broadway World Award and a Tootsie Award. His play, THE LAST SHOW ON EARTH! TRADEMARK SYMBOL, premiers at Neptune Theatre in 2024, and is featured in Playwrights Canada Press’ upcoming 2SLGBTQIA+ Monologue Anthology. They’re Tarragon Theatre’s RBC Emerging Playwright in Residence. @bretonlikethecrackers

Photo credit: Dahlia Katz

Mishka Lavigne (QUÉBEC)


Mishka Lavigne est autrice dramatique, traductrice littéraire et scénariste basée à Ottawa/Gatineau. Ses textes ont été produits et développés au Canada, aux États-Unis, en Europe, en Australie, à Haïti et au Mexique. Son texte Havre, créé à la Troupe du Jour (Saskatoon) a remporté le Prix du Gouverneur Général en 2019. Copeaux, produit par le Théâtre de Dehors (Ottawa), a remporté ce même prix en 2021 en plus du Prix Jacques-Poirier. 

Mishka écrit aussi en anglais. Son texte Albumen, produit par TACTICS en 2019 (Ottawa), est récipiendaire du QWF Playwriting Prize et on a récemment pu voir Shorelines (TACTICS) en 2023.

Autant vers le français que vers l’anglais, Mishka signe près d’une vingtaine de traductions de théâtre, de prose et de poésie.

Photo credit: Marianne Duval

Christine Rodriguez (QUÉBEC)


A recent alumna of the CFC, Christine Rodriguez is a writer from Montreal who creates from a mixed-race, Afro-Trinidadian perspective.  Her play, Dreaming in Autism, received third prize at Ottawa Little Theatre’s 72nd National One-Act Playwriting Competition. Her TYA play, Simone, Half and Half, was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2022.  Christine is also a filmmaker whose first short film, Fuego, earned her a nomination for Best Filmmaker of the Year from Gala Dynastie. She’s been a part of the WBD Access x ACCT Writers Program and has received two Rogers – BSO development grants.  Christine has a Certificate of Professional Screenwriting from UCLA and is currently working on a Major in Hispanic Studies at Université de Montréal. 

Photo credit: Janice Reid

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APPLY NOW: PWM + MAI joint support for artists interested in working with a dramaturg.

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal (PWM) and the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) are partnering once again to offer a joint support program for artists in theatre, performance, dance, circus, interdisciplinary arts and visual arts (with a performance component) who are interested in working with a dramaturg from theatre and performance. One selected artist or collective will receive resources and support from both PWM and the MAI.

This partnership between PWM and the MAI accompanies creators on their journey to develop a project and explore their practice, and is intended for artists who identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit), Black, POC, racialized (including recent immigrants), 2SLGBTQQIPAA+, d/Deaf, neurodivergent, disabled, living with chronic illness and/or chronic pain. 

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal (PWM) is a national creation and development centre for theatre and performance led by a team of dramaturgs and arts administrators. While playwriting has been at the core of what we do for 60 years, our work also includes devised, digital, and interdisciplinary forms of creation. In addition to seeking collaborations across diverse artistic practices, we are strongly committed to supporting work which reflects a wide range of cultural identities and lived experiences. 

This joint support is part of the MAI’s Alliance program, an artist-support platform that welcomes 10 – 15 artists, collectives and companies per year. MAI’s Alliance program provides assistance and project coordination support, and the possibility for a wide range of services related to the artists’ learning, creation, mentorship, collaboration and professionalization needs.

What’s provided with the joint support program:

• Personalized project coordination support;

• $5,000 fund allocation from the MAI for the development of a project* ;

• Training, referrals, collective reflection opportunities, and other support meetings;

• 80 hours of access to the MAI rehearsal studios;

• 30 hours with a PWM dramaturg, including a 20 hour workshop in PWM’s studio.

Refer to the Artist’s Guide for more details about what this joint mentorship includes, eligibility criteria and other conditions.

*The PWM + MAI Joint Support Program is not a grant program. The program offers an allocation of funds ($5,000) for the artist to establish mentorships and collaborations, supporting their learning and creation process (for example, to work with a mentor, a sound designer, a choreographer, a grant writer, or other experts and collaborators). You can read  ‘MAI’s allocations: How They Work’ for more information about what is eligible and ineligible in spending these funds on your work.

Working with a dramaturg at PWM

Dramaturgy is an exploration of all the elements that make a work, how they are brought together to create meaning, and what the process for developing that work might be. PWM primarily works on projects that centre text and narrative but also on pieces where text and storytelling are not the primary components or concerns.

PWM’s work centres the artist and our dynamic collaborative process is tailored to meet the needs of their project. We listen deeply to understand who an artist is, what they are making and how they want their work to evolve. We offer feedback and reflection through questions and conversation and often accompany the artists from draft to draft or iteration to iteration. We work one-on-one, but also through workshops and residencies.

PWM understands that the work of playwriting and performance making is not created in a vacuum, but that it interacts with society. Theatre can be impactful, and therefore PWM considers not only how a piece is made and by whom, but also its effect and meaning beyond the walls of its creation studio.

How to Apply:

Fill out this Google form by October 22, 2023, 11:59PM EST. You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Your name, pronouns (optional), and contact information ;
  • Your bio or the background of your collective;
  • An explanation of your work’s relevance to the program’s mandate: as a member of the eligible groups, as an artist with an interdisciplinary/intercultural/intersectional approach, and/or an artist working with Indigenous methodologies or ways of knowing;
  • Your proposal for support, which describes: your artistic practice, your intended project, your interest in collaboration with a dramaturg, the types of supports or services you might request through the MAI’s allocation of funds, and how this support will impact your artistic journey;
  • A proposed schedule or calendar of activities (beginning December 2023, ending by September 2024);
  • A proposed budget outlining expenses related to your proposa (refer to our budget example in the artists’ toolkit;
  • A CV;
  • Documentation of your work.

Video or audio responses are also accepted through the Google form.

If you have any questions regarding accessibility, require assistance with your application, or would like to discuss alternative methods of applying and deadline flexibility, please contact If you require any accommodations to participate in the program should you be selected, please let us know in your application.

Click here to view the Google form as a PDF.

Selection Criteria

Applications are considered by a committee made up of members of PWM’s team and of the MAI team. One recipient will be selected based on the following criteria: relevance to the partnership’s mandate, impact on the artist/project, and the feasibility of the support proposal. A complete breakdown of these criteria can also be found in the program’s Artist’s Guide.

All candidates will receive a response by email by the end of November 2023 informing them of the outcome of their application.

This program is financially supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communications and the City of Montreal as part of l’Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal, as well as by the Canada Council for the Arts.
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The 2023-2024 Young Creators Unit

Applications to this program are currently closed. Stay tuned for news about the 2023-2024 cohort with theYoung Creators Unit, and subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media to be the first to know about open opportunities with PWM. 

Calling all young playwrights and creatives, the 2023-2024 Young Creators Unit is now accepting applications! 

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal is excited to once again be calling for all emerging storytellers under the age of 30 to apply for our YOUNG CREATORS UNIT (YCU). 

Are you an emerging playwright under 30, looking to develop your skills? Do you have a brilliant idea for a play, but are not sure how to get it on paper? Or maybe you have a draft, and now you need feedback and guidance to elevate it to the next level?

If any of this sounds like you, then the Young Creators Unit is the place to develop your work. This creative incubator supports up-and-coming artists find their voice, make connections, and learn new storytelling skills, as they workshop an original piece of theatre. All you need to apply is an idea, a question, a theme you’d like to explore.

From October 2023 – June 2024, participants will receive weekly one-on-one dramaturgical sessions, mentorships with industry professionals, participate in group writing sessions and workshops, receive grant writing support, and networking opportunities.

YCU is led by PWM’s Artistic Producer & Dramaturg, Leila Ghaemi.

Thrilled to be back leading the YCU for her second year, Leila Ghaemi (she/elle) is a first generation Iranian-Canadian theatre maker. She returned to her hometown of Montreal, Quebec during the COVID-19 pandemic after a decade of working for theater companies in the United States, including American Conservatory Theater, New Repertory Theatre, and Boston Playwright’s Theatre; where she grew her love for and skills in new play development. 

Leila received her BFA in Theatre Arts and MFA in Theatre Education & Direction from Boston University’s School of Theatre and currently serves as co-artistic director of Persephone Productions Montreal and Artistic Producer & Dramaturg at PWM.  Leila’s artistic pillars include responsible MENASA representation, radical theatre empowerment, and arts advocacy. Recent projects include: dramaturg for The Flick at Centaur Theatre, cultural consultant for English at The Segal Centre for Performing Arts, teaching-artist at The Study School, and director for Pool No Water at The Segal Centre for Performing Arts.

PWM is committed to creating an environment where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.  We are continuously working to make all of our programs accessible and inclusive. While recognizing that the identity of each person is fundamentally plural and multidimensional, we strongly encourage applications from artists who are: Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit), Black, POC, racialized (including recent immigrants), 2SLGBTQQIPAA+, d/Deaf, 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.

If you have any questions regarding accessibility, require assistance with your application, or would like to discuss alternative methods of applying and deadline flexibility, please contact

Click here to preview the application form as a PDF. 

For accessibility information and video tours of our location, please click here. If you require any accommodations to participate in the program should you be selected, please let us know in your application.

How to Apply

Leila Ghaemi will be holding an open information session on Zoom, September 7th 2023 at 6:00PM, for anyone interested in learning more about the program and PWM. To register for the information session, please email

If you are interested in applying, please fill out this Google Form by 11:59 PM on September 14th, 2023. Your application will require the following information:

  • A brief bio of yourself, and your experience (if any) as a storyteller/creator.
  • A brief description of the work you would like to develop, or a list of some ideas (writing samples are not mandatory, but encouraged).
  • A brief description sharing why you would like to join the Unit, and what you hope to get out of the experience.

Due to the large amount of interest in the program, we will also be holding interviews with applicants to learn more about their interests and what they hope to gain from the program. This is also a great opportunity for you to ask us questions! 

The program will run from October 19th  to May 31st, 2024. For the first half of the program, group sessions and workshops will take place biweekly on Thursdays from 5PM-8PM, at the PWM Studio, 7250 Rue Clark. In January, 2024, this will shift to a weekly format, culminating in a Showcase at the end of May.

There are limited spots in the program and participants are expected to attend the group sessions, one-on-one meetings,  as well as commit to some additional self-directed activities. Please only apply to the Unit if you can commit to the full schedule. All applicants will be informed of their results by Thursday, October 5th, 2023.

The Selection Process

Once the application period is closed, all applications will be reviewed and considered. We will then set-up interviews with potential candidates, followed by offers to join the program. There are many factors that go into the selection process in addition to the consideration of your application, such as group dynamics and the range of experience within the cohort. Decisions will not be based on training or competencies.

If you have any questions, please contact YCU’s Lead Dramaturg, Leila Ghaemi, at

“I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity to be a part of the 2022-2023 Young Creators Unit! It was transformative in so many ways and I feel more confident about taking up space artistically and furthering my own practice as a theatre maker. I loved the one-on-one meetings with Leila Ghaemi as it kept me accountable and was integral to my writing practice. Additionally, the YCU cohort was a very thoughtful and generous ensemble; helping me stay tethered and accountable to this creative process. “

— 2022 YCU cohort member

Learn more about the Young Creators Unit.

Meet the Playwrights of the Cross Cultural Adaptation Lab

PWM’s newest program, led by PWM dramaturg Aki Matsushita, began July 2023.

Through the Lab, four playwrights will create adaptations of texts from the public domain into their own specific cultural context. Exploring different approaches to adapting cross-culturally, the group will develop their plays through regular discussions, where work and feedback will be shared. 

Read on for the details about each playwright and the projects they’re bringing to the Lab.

nick carpenter

Nick’s plays, radio plays (CBC), short stories and librettos have been presented across Canada, the US and Germany. Most recently, his play Arco took 2nd place in Infinitheatre’s 2021 Write-on-Q Competition. Nick wrote the screenplay to the film Maz (Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma, 2018). His play Stained Glass won the Canadian Peace Play Competition in 2008 and was shortlisted for the Prism International Residency Award (2003). He is an alumnus of Tapestry Opera’s Lib Lab, the Banff Playwrights Colony, Theatre Centre Residency and the NAC/GCTC Writers’ Unit. 

Nick teaches and coaches at the National Theatre School of Canada. He has worked as a dramaturg for PWM (Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal); NACO (National Arts Centre Orchestra) and JMC (Jeunesses Musicales Canada) where he also creates mise-en-scène for touring concerts. 

In 2020, Nick was nominated for two METAs (Montreal English Theatre Awards) for his work as a Musician and Supporting Actor.

As a composer and musician for the stage, Nick has worked and collaborated with the National Arts Centre; National Theatre School of Canada; Great Canadian Theatre Company; Centaur Theatre; Lucion Media; Repercussion Theatre; Geordie Theatre; CAM en tournée, The Theatre Centre; Imago Theatre; Infinitheatre; Concordia University; National Circus School; McGill and Ottawa Universities; the METAs (Montreal English Theatre Awards); Hudson Village Theatre, Theatre Lac Brome; Third Wall; Théâtre Urbi et Orbi (Urban Tales); TF1 Rock’n’Roll Circus; Monastère Cabaret de Cirque; and on Festival productions or concerts for Magnetic North, SummerWorks, Undercurrents, WildSide, Tendance Clown (Marseille) and Festival de Clowns de Montréal.

Nick is co-founder of Summersett (

Photo credit:  Trine Mikkelsen

Adapting El Misteri d’Elx

Several rivers of curiosity — musical, emotional, dramaturgical and historical — have led me to El Misteri d’Elx. This giant pageant, performed every year since the 13th century in the Spanish town of Elche, reenacts the story of the Assumption of Mary. Parts of it dazzle me, parts of it bore me, parts of it baffle me, parts of it offend me. But its climax, supported by some theatrical machinery (as extraordinary as it is ancient) hits me in the heart and reduces me — rather lifts me — to tears.  Somewhere along this delta of inspiration, lies my adaptation. 

Peng Hsu

Peng Hsu is a Taiwan and Montreal-based theater director, playwright, actor, beginner-level animator, and researcher. Her works explore excess, bad taste, and Taiwanese perspective on lesbian/queer camp humor. Since 2020, Peng has been developing a dramaturgy for the body to move with and to act out Broke Broke Recitation, or BBR, which is her translation of a phrase used in Taiwan to describe how women ALWAYS talk NONSTOP about daily trivialities. Peng came to Montreal in January 2023 to start her Ph.D. in the Humanities Program (Research- Creation track ) at Concordia University.

King Vanya in Parenthesis (adapting from Oedipus the King and Uncle Vanya)

I propose to create a cross-cultural adaptation of two plays together, one is Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, hence the temporary title (but you can get the sense of it) King Vanya in Parenthesis. King in the title is obvious, and so is Vanya, but why parenthesis? The idea that I work with here is that in Taiwan, China, and Japan, many people use parenthesis to add on unimportant information, unrelated thoughts, and dramatic reactions (too dramatic it seems out of context, or, it’s so dramatic that it breaks away from the context of the conversation) in texting and messaging. Creating a cross-cultural adaptation of the two classics, I think, gives minoritized beings a chance to have an “old drama” that is about them, that thinks with them. I know linear genealogy is boring and not queer, but we cannot deny that sometimes it feels good to have some old stuff passed on to us. And I mean to have King Vanya in Parenthesis as that small something that travels through time and goes to a minoritarian: it feels new and it also feels old and it feels enough to be queer’s business.    

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Jamila “JAI” Joseph

Jamila “Jai” Joseph is a dance performer/choreographer, singer/lyricist, actor & storyteller from Montreal/Tiohtiá:ke. Trained in Classical Ballet for over 15 years and Afro-Caribbean dance/Folk technique which she inherited and trains under her father, renowned Dance performer/Instructor Selwyn Joseph (Trinidad & Tobago) while her love for music, performance & writing comes from her mother, a former Black Theatre Workshop and La Belle Carib Montreal member Paulette Armony (St. Kitts & Nevis).

Past recipient of Black Theatre Workshops Victor Phillips award in 2003, it was a synchronic moment to be able to come back 16 years later playing the role of “Chloe”, in BTW’S mainstage production of ‘How Black Mothers’ Say I Love You’ written by Tre Anthony. Her ambition and talents also lead her to Toronto where she performed in Nicole Brooke’s Obeah Opera for both Fall for Dance North and again as part of Luminato’s Summer Festival.

The last few years has brought exciting new experiences, participating in Dancemakers 2019-2020 Peer Learning Network program in Toronto, Playwright Workshop Montreal’s Dramaturgical Digital Residency, choreographed for The National Theatre Schools 2022 production of “Venus” by Suzan-Lori Parks and was a recipient of Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal and MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) 2022 Joint Support for Artists with her work in progress play, “Wild Roots”, a story of self-discovery and healing. This Fall Jamila steps into a new role as Movement Teacher for the Acting program at The National Theatre School of Canada, will be finishing her specialized training in Lester Horton dance technique, supported through Canada Council’s Professional Development for Artists grant, will join Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal’s newly launched Cross Cultural Adaption Lab where Jamila will bring a neo-Caribbean twist to “Alice in Wonderland”, as well as rejoining cohorts for the Arrivals Legacy Seed Pool project lead by Diane Roberts.

Adapting Alice in Wonderland

It’s March 29th, 2024, Aliyah, a young woman, visits her paternal family in Trinidad for the first time. She spends the day taking in the culture and relatives as they show her about and prepare for a special holiday, Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day. Aliyah learns of the Shouters Prohibition Ordinance of 1917 and the family ties to the political religious movement. At her aunts’ house in Carenage after a night of limin’ with her siblings and cousins, Aliyah falls asleep and dreams of a time before hers when politics ruled heavy over all forms of celebrations and a great trial takes place.


Mel Pickering is an emerging actor, and playwright based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, Canada. Her acting career debuted in 2017 as a messenger and a chorus member in  the play Camilien Houde – le p’tit gars de Sainte-Marie, written by Alexis Martin and  produced by Nouveau Théâtre Expérimental. The short yet life-changing experience  influenced her decision to recently complete a BFA in Acting at Concordia University.  During her studies, she began working on original pieces and discovered her voice as a  playwright.  

As a creator, she is inspired by complex relationship dynamics and human behavior, infused with her Haitian heritage. Her approach to characters and stories explores what often remains unsaid for the sake of appearances, shining a light over the impact of  such actions. Ultimately, her intention is to spark conversations people tend to avoid  and she is committed to uplifting Black voices, regardless of the medium she plays with.  

While at university, Mel teamed up with fellow classmates to put on a staged reading of  original play excerpts titled Blood Family…Sometimes Not (under The Sky Is The Limit  Collective). She has also participated in three Montreal Fringe festivals: she played  Robyn in No Justice No Peace, by Blxck Cxsper from Transtrenderz Productions, in both 2021-2022 runs, and played Honeysuckle in Vers de Terre et Dents-De-Lion: A  Guide To Plants, by HeadEmpty Productions. Aside from stage work, she pursues  projects on screen, and voiceover work. She played Juliette in an indie thriller titled Les  Nettoyeurs, produced by Pink Walls Production (unreleased). 

Photo credit: NOC Photograhy

Pyramidal Love Scheme (adapting from House of Desires)

The piece that I’m working on is titled Pyramidal Love Scheme and is based on House of Desires by Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz. It’s about seven people stuck in a house during a power outage who attempt to unstitch three love triangles woven through a series of outrageous tricks. It deals with love, acceptance, and the impact of stubbornly holding on to appearances for the sake of looking good. Throw in mistaken identities and a desire of figuring out romantic relationships in the mix. The adaptation is moving away from the heteronormative context it was created in, shifting to a queer lens. Also, the characters’ background is changed from Latin-American to Afro-Caribbean, in order to live closer to my identity as a person of color.

The Cross-Cultural Adaptation Lab is led by dramaturg Aki Matsushita

Image of Aki Matsushita

Aki is a biracial, Japanese-Canadian (nisei, second generation) dramaturg and arts educator.

She  is fascinated by intercultural performance, as it fosters an exchange and seeks out connection between seemingly disparate entities, looking at the world through the lens of wanting to understand each other’s humanity across geographic, cultural, linguistic, temporal and cultural boundaries.

Find out more about Aki here.

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