Writing for Young Audiences with Dean Fleming

Exploring Practice with Dean Fleming

Writing for Young Audiences

Dates: March 5 and 6, 3pm to 5pm & April 6 and 7, 3pm to 6pm
Free: $45 f(Fee is not a barrier to anyone who might be interested/eligible)

This exploration will focus on guiding emerging and experienced playwrights in looking at what it means to write for theatre for young audiences. What is happening across the country and who is doing what? What are the different themes that one might explore? How does one decide what age to write for and how does this affect what you are writing, the language you use and who might be interested in producing it? We will talk about the responsibility you take on when writing for young audiences and how responsibility cannot turn into preachy theatre.

Most importantly we will discuss that writing for young audiences means that you are writing for an audience with the most vivid imagination of all but also for an audience that, when lied to, will disregard what you are giving them but when taken on a journey, will embark more fully than anyone could have expected.

Submission guidelines: Please send a cover letter describing your interest in the sessions, a biography and CV.
To: emma@playwrights.ca
Subject line: exploring practice Dean Fleming
Application deadline: February 18, 2015 at 5PM


Dean Patrick Fleming was appointed the Artistic Director of Geordie Productions in 2005, taking over from Geordie’s Founding Artistic Director, Elsa Bolam.  In his time at Geordie he has worked to uphold the mandate of creating thought provoking and engaging theatre for young people as well as working to expand the reach of the company’s work throughout Canada. For Geordie, he has directed, among others, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Shared Account, The Little Prince, A Christmas Carol, Smokescreen, Beethoven Lives Upstairs and Choe’s Choice. Other favourites include Apple, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Metastasis, Chain of Ruin and V-Cards.

As an artist outside of his leadership role at Geordie, Dean has worked in Montreal and toured across the country and into the United States performing for thousands of people. He has directed over fifty productions, some of which have toured to different regions in Canada. Dean has a BFA from Concordia University in Performance, has taught at Concordia University, ASM Performing Arts and continues to teach at the National Theatre School in Montreal.  He has been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution to the Arts.


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The spectacularly un-spectacular


with Nadia Ross (STO Union)

Dates: November 17 to 21, 2014
Time: 10AM to 6PM (There will be writing time built into the schedule)
Location: PWM
Fee: $75 (Fee is not a barrier to anyone who might be interested/eligible)

Intensive and immersive sessions

In this Exploring Practice Intensive, Nadia Ross will share her practice as the founder and Artistic Director of STO Union. STO Union is a multidisciplinary company bringing together artists from a variety of mediums in the creation of new Canadian theatre. Founded in 1992 in Toronto by artistic director Nadia Ross, STO Union has cultivated new forms and techniques within the theatrical tradition in order to reflect and respond to our evolving culture. Productions are characterized by an un-spectacular approach to staging, focusing on the simple human interaction in all its complexity. Since 2006, the company’s central collaborators have been the villagers of Wakefield, Quebec, who take on the new challenge of theatre making.

Application guideline: To apply for this training, please submit a cover letter stating your reason’s for participating in this Exploring Practice Intensive; a résumé and biography.
Please send applications to: emma@playwrights.ca
Subject line: Exploring Practice Intensive with Nadia Ross
Deadline: October 27, 2014 at 5PM

STO Union’s productions and its collaborators have won awards, including Chalmers, the Contra Guys and the Dora awards. STO Union’s plays are written by the directors and produced shortly after or during writing, and broadly address the themes of transformation and realization in both the individual and social realms. Their plays have toured internationally: Germany, Sweden, Austria, USA, Netherlands, Ireland,Hong Kong, Iran, to name but some. As well as the FTA and Théâtres du Monde (Montréal).


Nadia Ross is the Artistic Director and founder of STO Union (Ottawa/Gatineau Region). Her work as a director, writer, actor and producer includes her latest work, Intimacy with a Thousand Things, which premiered in 2013; Good News from the Sun, which will premiere in 2014; and the India Project, which will also premiere in 2014. Past highlights include: 7 Important Things (a collaboration with George Acheson), which was produced by and had its world premiere at Canada’s National Arts Centre in 2007 and has since toured internationally. Her work also includes Revolutions in Therapy (a collaboration with Jacob Wren and Tracy Wright), which premiered at the Montreal International Festival FTA/Théâtres du Monde in May 2004 and was presented in Toronto in June 2005 followed by a European premiere at Theater der Welt in Stuttgart, Germany.  It has since internationallyl. Recent Experiences (also a collaboration with Jacob Wren), premiered in 2000 (Toronto) and has since toured to numerous international theatre festivals.

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Exploring Practice with Lois Brown

Exploring Practice with Lois Brown

Writing For Non-Traditional Space

Dates: November 18-22, 2013

Time: 6-8PM

Application guidelines: If you are interested, please send your application to emma@playwrights.ca. Subject line: Exploring Practice: Writing for the non-traditional space.
Application deadline: November 11, 2013

Send a bio and a short statement of interest, including a short description of something you want to explore through text, ( a concept, a prop, an element, a newspaper headline, a story, a joke, a word, and so forth.) If you have been exploring space in your past work, please write a sentence or two about your investigation. Artists and practitioners of all levels and kinds of practice will find a place in this exploration, if you are interested in constriction, simplicity or simply writing something short.

This workshop will be of most interest to professional playwrights, writers, directors, theorists and performers working with text and theatrical concepts of space. If you produce and direct or write plays despite few resources or prefer limited design elements and small audiences, please come and add to this exploration. 

Lois will be drawing mainly from her five years of experience creating work at the Rabbitown Theatre. She will also draw on her years of experience working with a truncated process and restricted resources, especially creating alternative theatre or dance and performance works. She will introduce and lead discussions about finding your team, self-dramaturgy with video, and creation of very short plays, working in the round, working without heat, and of course, working with the space as the design, and so forth. 

There are two goals. The first is articulating the process of working with limitation, the richness offered by rough and rogue spaces, developing vocabulary around this, and ultimately sharing our tools for this kind of work. 

The second is writing a first draft of a short play for a non-traditional space.

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Exploring Practice with Michael Mackenzie

Exploring Practice with Michael Mackenzie

Myth, Memory, History and Theatre

Dates: January 27 to 31, 2014
Time: 1PM to 3PM
Fee: $45 Cost: 45$ (Fee is not a barrier to anyone who might be interested/eligible)

Application guidelines: Please send a bio and letter explaining why you would like to participate in this Exploring Practice session.
Send to: emma@playwrights.ca
Subject line: Exploring Practice with Michael Mackenzie
Application deadline: December 17, 2013

A preparatory session will be held January 6, 2014 from 1pm to 3pm

The past presents itself in complex ways, the most obvious modes being myth, memory and history. Any work of theatre that takes on (in some way) the representation of the past has to take on an exploration this complexity. This workshop will examine sources and techniques for doing this exploration, focusing on the specific topics writers wish to research. Michael Mackenzie has a Ph.D in the History of Science and Technology and is an award winning playwright.


Michael Mackenzie plays have been produced in Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Israel, France, Portugal, England, across Quebec, Toronto and Vancouver. Recent productions include Frankfurt, Upper Franconia, Hamburg, Prague and Montreal. Michael Mackenzie has written and directed two feature films, The Baroness and the Pig (2002), and Adam’s Wall (2008). Both films were theatrically released in Canada and played a number of festivals including Sundance and the Toronto IFF. He has worked with Robert Lepage on a number of projects including dramaturge for the Cirque de Soleil’s Ka now playing at the MGM Grand in Los Vegas.

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Exploring Practice with Jonathan Garfinkel

Exploring Practice with Jonathan Garfinkel

Autobiographical Fiction

Dates: March 4 to 8, 2013
Time: 4PM to 7PM
Fee: $100 (Fee is not a barrier to anyone who might be interested/eligible)

Application guidelines: Please send us your bio and a short letter telling us how this exploration will benefit you as a professional playwright.
Send applications to: emma@playwrights.ca
Subject line: Exploring Practice with Jonathan Garfinkel
Application deadline: February 18, 2013

Everyone has a story to tell. What is that story? In this workshop we’ll be looking at how to draw on our lives for playwriting. Playwright

Jonathan Garfinkel will lead writers through various exercises and journeys into themselves. In doing so we will be exploring how to decide what is theatrically interesting or dramatic.

The question inevitably arises: how much do we disguise in our writing? How close to the “truth” must we be? Does it even matter? ‘Autobiographical fictions’ is an exploration into truth, fiction and ourselves – and the selves we’d wished we’d be.


Jonathan Garfinkel is the author of a book of poetry and several plays, including The Trials of John Demjanjuk: A Holocaust Cabaret, and House of Many Tongues, which was nominated for a 2011 Governor General’s Award. His plays have been produced throughout Canada and Europe. Currently he is living in Montreal and teaching at NTS in the playwriting program. His newest play, Dust, co-written with Christopher Morris, is based on their travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Petawawa military base. Dust will premiere this March at Alberta Theatre Projects

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with 2boys.tv (Steven Lawson and Aaron Pollard)

Dates: June 3-7, 2016
Time: 10AM to 6PM (There will be writing time built into the schedule)
Location: PWM
Fee: $100 (Fee is not a barrier to anyone who might be interested/eligible)

Participants will be expected to be available for a full day on the 3rd and on the 7th. Individual appointments with 2boys.tv will be made during the rest of the week. Participants are expected to work independently.

ARCADE uses as its inspiration the discarded parts of city neighbourhoods, the people and places that live in-between, below and hidden within the cities shadows. Existing as both an interactive and contemplative performance writing workshop, 2boys.tv assists participants in “polishing” the dark little urban cracks so they themselves become a city of light, providing a frame (a mise-en-abyme, the shoebox) that valorizes and celebrates the forgotten and discarded.

ARCADE fictionalizes and fabricates visions of real locations within the neighbourhoods of Montreal and allows participants to question what is true and to create and proliferate their own constructed realities about these locales. We will voyage outwards with participants to different Montreal neighbourhoods as inspiration for creating what we call “fictional realities”. Our source materials (writing, drawing, photo, sound, video) will inspire the construction of miniature shoebox theatres within which our collective stories will be told.

2boys.tv will work with artist-participants in a workshop forum to conceive of multiple narratives that then get installed into shoeboxes using a variety of techniques, from simple static maquettes or tableaux, to more technically involved video and audio works, to participatory works that invite viewers to inscribe their own fabrications and reflections on the city locales.

No specific technical experience is required for this workshop although participants are encouraged to bring any and all equipment they might have for capturing and editing photo, video and sound with them (including phones!). Some artist materials will need to be purchased by participants but these costs will not be high ($25-$50).

Application guideline: To apply for this training, please send a resume and a letter of intent outlining your interest in the work described.
Please send applications to: emma@playwrights.ca
Subject line: Exploring Practice Intensive Arcade
Application deadline: May 27, 2013


About Steven Lawson & Aaron Pollard: Since 2002, as the collective 2boys.tv, Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard have pursued a collaborative practice that traverses disciplinary boundaries and political frontiers. They are active locally, nationally and internationally and their beginnings as a duo emerged from Montreal’s wildly eclectic cabaret scene. Subsequently they have toured and taught across the country, to museums, galleries, theatres, artist-run centres, universities and festivals and their ongoing collaborations with colleagues abroad at various intersections of performance and politics have brought them into a dialogue with audiences throughout North and South America and in Europe. In 2009, 2boys.tv received the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for outstanding achievement by mid-career artists working in the Integrated Arts.

As an artistic duo they share authorship on all projects and work from a tradition of creative expression that cuts across artistic disciplines. Their practice – which they plan, write, construct, embody and perform – results in artworks whose forms are determined by their core ideas and central passions and which incorporate unique approaches to video projection, costume, music, sound, spectator participation and the dynamic use of space.

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