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 Résidence d’écriture théâtrale de Gros Morne, 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 Résidence de Traduction Glassco à Tadoussac which, to date, translated 63 plays for the stage, and launching the Mentorat pour traductrices et traducteurs émergents de la Fondation Cole, 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.