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 covidracism.ca. 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).

Introducing PWM+MAI joint support artist Tanha Gomes

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal and MAI (Montréal, Arts Interculturels) are thrilled to announce the inaugural season of PWM + MAI joint support for artists interested in working with a dramaturg with artist Tanha Gomes and her project Wreaths of Ashes!

THE ARTIST

Headshot of artist Tanha Gomes
Photo by Daniele Barroso

Visual artist and cultural worker, Tanha Gomes has worked in several artist-run centres and art galleries in Montreal. Since 2011, she has been involved in initiatives that bring art to communities with people of all ages.

Born into a multicultural family in Brazil, she moved to Canada as a teenager and has since lived between these two worlds. Her immigration experience leads her to explore the links between displacement, death and memory. Fascinated by the traces of personal history on people’s bodies and trajectories, she uses photography in order to conduct intimate and delicate explorations of identity. She seeks to create contemplative works using time as raw material, often with long exposures that require bodies to remain still. Tanha’s images are marked by a performative aspect, through simple imprints or a promise of movement. Recently graduated from a master’s degree in Arts Education, she aspires to develop her artistic practice around cultural identity.

THE PROJECT

A sensitive exploration of the links between memory, absence, ritual and mourning, Wreaths of Ashes will consist of a video and photo installation nourished by a series of creative workshops with the public. The installation plunges the spectator into a multi-channel video lasting over an hour, played in a loop, alongside by a photo mural of the objects produced during the workshops. 

History of the wreaths

The project is inspired by a story told to Tanha by her mother. Following the death of a young cousin in the 1950s, the women of the family started to regularly pay tribute to their deceased loved ones by making funeral wreaths from plastic flowers. A few days before the Day of the Dead, they would gather around a table during tea time to weave these wreaths, which became portraits of the deceased, displaying their favourite colours and referenced their lives and some of their features. 

Tanha is the first artist supported by the PWM+MAI joint support for artists program. Over the duration of the program, she will benefit from personalized support for her project, a $5,000 fund allocation, training and reflection opportunities, access to the MAI rehearsal studios, and 30 hours with a dramaturg.

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 proud to support the development of Tanha’s project, and wish her an exciting creation!

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

Introducing AMPLIFIER artist Sylvia Cloutier

Photo of Sylvia Cloutier, artist of the AMPLIFIER program.

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal, LA SERRE — arts vivants, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal are thrilled to announce the inaugural season of AMPLIFIER: a fully supported exploratory creation process for playwrights with artist Sylvia Cloutier and her project HUSH!

THE ARTIST

Headshot of artist Sylvia Cloutier
Photo by Maxime Côté

Sylvia Cloutier is an actor, musician, playwright, television and theatre producer, director, motivational speaker and mother from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), currently residing in Montreal. 

Over the course of her twenty-five-year career as a singer, she has performed nationally and internationally both as a solo artist and in collaboration with many esteemed artists and ensembles including Tafelmusik, the National Art Center Symphony Orchestra, Florent Vollant, DJ Geronimo Inutiq Leela Gilday and Madeleine Allakariallak . 

A recent graduate of the National Theatre School in Montreal as the Indigenous artist-in-residence (2018-2020), Sylvia has worked as a performer for 25 years. Cloutier is the co-founder of the Inuit performing arts company Aqsarniit; served as Artistic Director of Qaggiq theatre company in Iqaluit from 2004-2009; and as theatre project manager in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (2008-2010). 

Building on her talent and expertise in both theatre and music, Cloutier began writing, producing and directing for stage and screen in 1999. She has developed live shows for such prestigious events as the 1999 Inauguration of Nunavut in Ottawa and the Arctic Inspiration Prize, and concerts for both the festivals Alianait (2005-2019) and Toonik Tyme (2003-2018) in Iqaluit. Sylvia has also been a producer for six Inuktitut television series, including Niqitsiat (2015-2016) and Nunavummi Mamarijavut (2017-2018). She also produced and co-created the musical production TULUGAK (2011-2014), collaborating with Inuit artists from Canada and Greenland. 

A motivational speaker and mentor for youth, Cloutier was named “Woman of the Year” by Pauktutiit, the national Inuit women’s organization in 2009, and received an award for “Outstanding young woman of the year” by Qullit Nunavut women’s organization in 2013.

THE PROJECT

Sylvia’s project, HUSH, explores how an Inuit community is impacted by the loss of someone to suicide. The play invites the audience to Nunavik to witness the Inuit culture, its relationship with the environment, its resilience, and how colonization stripped away its power to take over and take away spirituality and sense of autonomy. 

“If we can be aware of our realities then we can learn to understand our history better. If we can understand our history and the trauma then we can work on acceptance. When we accept our pain then we can heal. When we heal, only then can we can reconcile. No more need to HUSH.”

Sylvia is the first artist supported by AMPLIFIER in English. Over the duration of the program, she will benefit from dramaturgical consultations, creation workshops, a creation production residency followed by a laboratory presentation, and receive a creation grant of $13,000.

THE PROGRAM

The Conseil des arts de Montréal, Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal, and LA SERRE — arts vivants created this program to highlight the artistic and social contributions of theatre artists from culturally diverse, indigenous, or racialized communities working creatively in one of Canada’s official languages.

AMPLIFIER tangibly supports the professional development of theatrical writers from cultural communities, and reduces obstacles faced by these artists in the Montréal theatre community, including those related to inclusion, access to resources and services, visibility and legitimization, and funding.

Additionally, it seeks to foster dialogue between Montréal’s English- and French-speaking theatre communities, as well as intercultural exchanges and greater representation from culturally diverse artists within the theatre community and on Montreal stages. In order to support artists writing in French and artists writing in English, this program is offered by the Centre des auteurs dramatiques in French under the name Voi.e.s.x Théâtrales, and by PWM in English.

The development of Sylvia’s project will take place over 2 years. We wish her an exciting creation!

This program is a partnership between
PWM logo

Welcome to our Digital Dramaturgy Clinic!

Do you have a performance piece you have been working on for some time, with concepts you want to fold into your work but do not know how to accomplish technically or digitally?

Perhaps you are at the early stages of your next creation, and want to gather information and knowledge on what is possible on a technical and digital level?

Or maybe you had a piece originally intended for live performance, and want to carry it over in a digital format?

“I want to write holograms into my piece, how would holograms work on stage?”

This digital dramaturgy “first-aid” program offers creators a one-time session (up to 2 hours) with tech and digital specialists Emily Soussana & Andrew Scriver (otherwise known as potatoCakes_digital), to discuss their creation and the technical questions they might have. 

After learning about your goals, Emily and Andrew will help you brainstorm and offer possible technical or digital solutions to your needs. They can discuss the technical processes required, as well as potential story-driven digital concepts to best translate your piece digitally. 

HOW IT WORKS

The Digital Dramaturgy Clinic is an ongoing program, artists in need of assistance should contact Emily & Andrew at potatocakesdigital@playwrights.ca with a short synopsis of their work and the question they wish to address, so that the session can be prepared in advance.

Further consultation can be scheduled if appropriate. This program is set up to help you identify the expertise and technology you need to realize your vision.

project supported by
the FOUNDATION OF GREATER Montréal COVID-19 Collective Fund

2020-2021 AMPLIFIER: a fully supported exploratory creation process for playwrights

The deadline to apply to this program has passed!
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IMPORTANT:
Applicants can apply to more than one partnership program at Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal, but can only be the recipient of one partnership program.

PWM is an English language minority company and therefore the work with PWM will take place in English. The application must be completed in English.
We are thrilled to announce that Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal (PWM), LA SERRE–arts vivants (LA SERRE) and the Conseil des Arts de Montréal (CAM) are launching a new program offering comprehensive dramaturgical and artistic support to a professional playwright residing on the island of Montreal. This includes dramaturgical consultation, creation workshop, a creation production residency, followed by a laboratory presentation.

The following playwrights are eligible to submit proposals: Indigenous artists (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit), 1st or 2nd generation immigrant artists from a culturally diverse community*, or racialized artists.
Board Members of CAM, PWM and La Serre are not eligible to apply.

*As defined in the Conseil des Arts de Montréal’s glossary

In order to support artists writing in French and artists writing in English, this program is being offered alternately by the Centre des auteurs dramatiques (CEAD) in French one year, and by PWM in English every other year. This edition is intended for artists creating in the English language.

THE GOALS

The program aims to highlight the artistic and social contributions of theatre artists from culturally diverse, indigenous, or racialized communities working creatively in one of Canada’s official languages.

Additionally, it seeks to foster dialogue between Montréal’s English- and French-speaking theatre communities, as well as intercultural exchanges and greater representation from culturally diverse artists within the theatre community and on Montreal stages.

Refer to the Program Presentation (PDF) for more details about what this partnership includes, eligibility criteria and other conditions.

THE SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS

PWM logo

CONSEIL DES ARTS DE MONTRÉAL

Founded in 1956, the Conseil des arts de Montréal identifies, supports and recognizes excellence in the professional creation, production and dissemination of the arts.

To remain in tune with the organizations and collectives it serves, the Conseil relies on its knowledge of the communities, its innovative skills, and its ability to bring the city’s artists and financial partners together.

PLAYWRIGHTS’ WORKSHOP MONTRÉAL 

PWM is a national new creation 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 over 50 years, our work now strives to include devised 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. 

What is dramaturgy and what do we do?

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 around 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.

For us, dramaturgy must also consider the reverberations/implications of a piece of performance through time and space, and beyond the room/page in/on which it is being created. 

LA SERRE–ARTS VIVANTS

LA SERRE is a structuring incubator for the improvement of the conditions under which emerging artists carry out their work in live art. It accompanies them in the expansion of their work, from the creation process to encounters with the public. It helps artists develop their autonomy, organizational maturity and artistic independence. LA SERRE acts as an activator of collaborations between artists and local, national and international partners, as well as artists from various artistic disciplines and other areas. Artistically, LA SERRE favors projects that establish evocative links between art and society, and facilitate connections between different disciplinary fields and sectors.

SUPPORT PROVIDED

The recipient of the program will receive a project creation grant of $13,000 by the CAM over two years, along with numerous services provided by PWM, LA SERRE, et CAM. This is a one-time, non-renewable grant.

The program takes place over two years, and support is provided as follows:

YEAR 1

$3,000 creation grant for a new theatrical creation

30 hours of dramaturgical collaboration with Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal

9 hours of script workshopping offered by Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal

A staged reading with actors at Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal

YEAR 2

$10,000 creation grant for production

40 hours of production and management mentorship by LA SERRE–arts vivants

60 hours of free access to the Conseil des Arts de Montréal’s studios

Presentation of two performances in lab format

One-year subscription to Machinerie des arts.

APPLICATION PROCESS

To apply, please complete the online application form. Refer to the Program Presentation (PDF) for all details about this partnership. During the application process, you will be asked to include the following documents:

  • An excerpt of a previously written theatrical work in English (10 pages maximum, PDF or DOC);
  • An excerpt of the project (10 pages maximum, PDF or DOC);
  • The author’s CV (PDF or DOC)

Only the required documents will be forwarded to members of the evaluation committee.

Applications will be evaluated by representatives of the CAM, PWM and La Serre. Projects will be evaluated based on merit, and the selection will take the projects’ comparative value into consideration. The evaluation committee will take into consideration diversity of practice, artists’ experience, accessibility needs, 2SLGBTQQIPAA+, and gender parity.

The deadline to submit applications is November 1, 2020 at 11:59PM. All applicants will be notified of the results by December 10, 2020. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have any questions about the eligibility of your application or your project, do not hesitate to contact us. We prefer to have the opportunity to discuss hybrid theatrical forms, unusual professional backgrounds and multiple ethnocultural affiliations with applicants.

Please address questions to Emma Tibaldo, Executive and Artistic Director of Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal, at emma@playwrights.ca.