The 2023-2024 Young Creators Unit Showcase


With a focus on building a home for artistic risk and discovery, this year’s YCU Cohort is preparing for our annual showcase! This private event will take place at the PWM Studio on Tuesday May 28 and Wednesday May 29 from 7:00-8:30 PM.

Learn more about each cohort member by clicking the “show more” button under their names.

This year’s showcase will be a private event due to limited seating capacity. If you are interested in being added to an attendance wait list, please contact

Thank you for supporting the exciting new works of emerging artists!



Sam Lemieux (he/him)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Family
• Memory
• Generational baggage


Sam Lemieux is a bilingual actor, writer and creator from small-town Coaticook, QC, and is  currently living in big-city Montreal. Originally from a French speaking, blue-collar background, Sam made the move to Montreal to become an actor and study at Dawson College’s  Professional Theatre Program, which he graduated from in 2021. During his time there, Sam  developed a love for writing which eventually led with his first written work titled Saltzman’s  Antiques; a one-act play about a woman trying to pass off her family owned antique store for  free, which premiered at the Montreal Theatre Fringe Festival in 2022. Since then, Sam has  gone on to write two more projects: A short film titled The Mother Is Dead, Which he also  produced and acted in (Currently in Post-Production); and now Canmore, AB, which he hopes to one day produce as well.

Play description:

Barb suddenly invites her niece along on her romantic getaway with her boyfriend to the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, where she’ll have to make a decision on either reminiscing on her past, or forgetting it entirely. But how do you forget what’s a part of you?

“That river. It followed me. It followed me all the way here.”

HWAAN HAN (she/her) | WILLOW

Hwaan Han (she, her)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Deconstruction of binaries
• Breaking the fourth wall
• The five senses; bridging the gap between body and world


Hwaan Han is a theatre maker based in Montreal. She received her B.A. in English Drama and Theatre from McGill University (2023) and completed Imago theatre’s ARTISTA mentorship program (2022). She is a performer, researcher, and emerging playwright preoccupied with the way we understand and act upon our relationship with Earth, and themes of existence, belonging, and mortality.

play description:

Willow is about the distance humanity has created with Earth. The play is set inside this very gap, a metaphorical space made entirely of concrete, a liminal space between life and death. The title character finds herself trapped there and longs to break free. But does the world still exist beyond those concrete walls?

I am a willow tree in the middle of a desert. No wind blows through my branches. No water seeps into my roots. I reach deeper and deeper. Nothing. Dry, dead sand. So I cry to water my own roots. That’s all there is for me to do. A lonely weeping willow in the desert, who weeps to keep weeping.


Anna Morreale (they, them)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Curiosity
• Patience
• Poetics


Anna Morreale is a multidisciplinary actor and artist, originally from Hamilton, Ontario. Currently based in Montreal, Anna is inspired by theatre that is surreal, unconventional and collaborative. Their practice reflects this through the employment of movement, performance art and collective creation as focal points in their work. Since graduating from the National Theatre School of Canada in 2021, Anna has been working professionally in the theatre, film and voice acting industries, whilst also developing their practice as a producer and writer of theatre. Anna is the artistic producer for Scaredy Cat Theatre, an emerging company helmed by Chelsea Dab Hilke and Cole Hayley. Outside of performing, Anna enjoys creating with other mediums such as film photography, collaging and poetry. You can also find them in their kitchen kneading bread dough. Have you eaten yet?

play description:

After a big night out, rumoured to be this party-girl’s last hurrah, Dylan prepares to tell you her story. Joined on stage by a chorus known as ‘The Bodies’, Dylan’s memories unravel faster than she can handle, exposing a darker side to her desire.

I was growing spores on my thighs and elbows my hair was falling off my skin was melting away to expose the origin of the poison suffocating them was in fact just me lying dead in a clawfoot bathtub in the middle of an abandoned warehouse rave. 

Long pause 

I want out.

I want out of my body.”


Joshua Bilbao (he/him)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Passion
• Curiosity
• Humility

If someone had told me that my most memorable experience while studying theater in New York City would have been working as an illegal dishwasher, I wouldn’t have believed it. And yet, it was.


Joshua Bilbao is a multidisciplinary Mexican/Canadian artist born in Taiwan and raised all throughout North America. Jumping into the world of show business in his early twenties has led him to train under the direction of coaches such as Bernard Hiller, Miriam Silverman, Austin Pendleton and Mary Lou Rosato. Bilbao also completed a 2-year acting program at the Tom Todoroff Conservatory with extensive work on voice, speech, movement & Shakespeare in New York City. In addition to his training, Bilbao has always taken pride in being a creator. He produced and starred in his first theater production ( “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train”) that won “best direction” at the Broadway World awards.  He has also produced, directed, written, and starred in a number of short films and music videos.

One of his most recent projects was producing and acting in the critically acclaimed play called “The Motherf*cker With The Hat”  written by Stephen Adly Guirgis.


God has ADHD is a one man show that centers around Jose, a young Mexican actor studying in New York City, who takes up a demanding dishwashing job at a Peruvian restaurant in Jackson Heights to support himself. His story reflects on immigrant experiences and the enduring impact of unexpected friendships forged amid life’s trials.


Tiernan Cornford (she/her)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Intersectionality
• Musical storytelling
• Genre & popular culture

A life as simple as bubbles
you quickly learn how to dance
But when I’d finally grown in my scales
I’d feel tension in my hands


Realizing her passion at an early age, Tiernan has been intuitively molding as an artist for nearly a decade. Born and based in Tiohtià:ke Montréal, Tiernan has worked and trained as a creator in the city, brought on by companies such as Imago, Repercussion, Black Theatre Workshop and garnering her BFA at Concordia University in 2020. As a playwright, Tiernan been able to work with Concordia, Teesri Duniya and most recently Half Twin Theatre, Cowriting “Hey B*tch, Love You” for the 2023 Montreal Fringe. As an artist, she enjoys theater for its call towards presence and the ephemeral. She believes in connection, communication and heart through interdisciplinary means.


Splash into the world of Greatlands Aquarium & Water Park! Meet Andrielle, a beloved mermaid on an adventure of finding home. With newfound friends, Finnley the puffer fish and Kerri the clam, will she find the place where she belongs?

*Access the Shelltacular Package ($61.01) and Swim into the aftershow as Andrielle answers questions from guests. Uncover the magic of Greatlands and sink deeper with Andrielle and Friends, as they unwillingly unravel and address underlying controversies within the park itself. There will be scarves!



Gabrielle Banville (she/her)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Nonchronological and overlapping storylines
• Memory of music
• Dualities of womanhood

This is one of those moments where I’m glad she’s dead, because I would’ve never let her name my nephew fucking Chad.


Gabrielle (she/her) is a bilingual performer and collaborator originally from Ottawa, and currently based in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. Since graduating in 2020 from Concordia University’s Acting for the Theatre program, she has been actively pursuing her talents in performance, movement-based storytelling and playwriting. She continues to expand her skills, having taken part of ACTRA’s Performance Capture & Voice for Video Games Workshop and Dubbing Workshop. She is the founder of Half Twin Theatre, a company which tells the stories of forgotten people. Through her theatre collective, Gabrielle has collaboratively written and produced two critically acclaimed Montréal Fringe shows: A Paisley Mind in 2022, and Hey B*tch, Love You in 2023. She is excited to bring her newest play to the 2024 edition of the festival. She is thrilled to be collaborating with artists in the community, and hopes to both perform in and produce a professional or independent production within the next year.


Briar and May are navigating life right after the loss of their sister, June. After discovering their sister had left a voice note before her death, Briar and May attempt to tackle June’s requests, such as living together in her condo, fostering her diabetic cat Bacon, and putting her ashes in a teapot. This dramedy asks the question few of us want to ponder; what happens when our sibling dies and leaves us too soon?

BANAFSHEH HASSANI (any, all pronouns) | شرقی

Banafsheh Hassani (any/all pronouns)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Truth
• The whole truth
• Battling isolation with art –
for, by, and about the isolated

“An arm, waving frantically in the air, in an endless landscape of crying heads and shoulders. The head and shoulder attached to this arm are not visible, but they don’t need to be for Parto to recognize her dad. She hopes she can reach him one last time:

بابایی من رفتم! خدافظ!


Banafsheh Hassani بنفشه حسنی (any/all pronouns) is an Iranian, Montreal-based, feminist theatre wrighter and producer. They are graduating from Concordia University with a BFA Specialization in Performance Creation in Spring 2024. She is preoccupied with home, memory, dreams, identity, un/changing and relations (blood and otherwise), and all that would happen if only home was not the mouth of a shark. Banafsheh co-founded The Sky is the Limit Theatre in 2022, where they have produced four new shows since, focusing on collaborative art-making, experimentation, listening, community building and speaking loud to reach for ceilings and skies. Recent credits include: Wine & Halva (Toronto Laboratory Theatre, dir. Art Babayants, 2024), 100% Human Error (The Sky is the Limit Theatre, 2024), if only (Concordia Theatre Department, 2024) and À Confirmer / T.B.C. (The Sky is the Limit Theatre, Montreal Fringe Festival, 2023).


An Irani immigrant, insurmountable moving and growing mountains, too many languages, a bright new life ahead. Will a شرقی ever really be free from the weight of being from that side of the world? What if they get really close to the top of that mountain? Could they break free then? Will they want to?


Toby Walma (he/him)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Humour
• Compassion
• Enthusiasm


Toby Walma is studying at Concordia University in the Honours English & Creative Writing program, with a passion for studying early drama from the medieval and Renaissance periods. He writes in a variety of genres and has worked in theatre onstage, backstage, and in the tech booth. He was described by the Canada Council for the Arts as “still in school” and having “not yet demonstrated an outside artistic practice.” In his spare time, he rereads the middle grade fiction he read as a kid to see where it all went wrong.


Inspired by As You Like It, Cottage Time follows Orlando and Ross, as they help prepare for the wedding of their respective siblings at a family cottage. During the preparations, Ross struggles balancing wedding planning while concealing his own history at the cottage. What was supposed to be a weekend escape forces Ross and Orlando to confront different versions of their past, both real and imagined, and come to terms with memories that exceed multiple decades (and possibly centuries).

“Mom said maybe I am ophiophobic. It’s hard to spell but it means “scared of snakes”. Mom is making quesadillas with Mrs. K for dinner. We are going to watch Despicable Me later.”


Rana Liu (she/her)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Collaboration
• Honesty
• Safety

Mother: Home is here. You and me. This is home. Home is eating the food you love. Home is reading a great book. Home is eating with loved ones. When you look for it, you’ll find that home is right here (pointing to her heart).


Daughter: I miss you.


Rana Liu is an Asian Canadian multidisciplinary arts creator, and lover of bagels & dumplings. Her principle goal is to (re)vitalize diversity and cultural understanding through shared perspectives. To not just tell these stories, but to celebrate them. A theatre maker in Montreal, Rana has had the chance to work & perform in New York, Toronto, Chicago, and Shanghai. For the last two years, Rana has been directing A Little Bit Pregnant, recently having its international premiere at the New York City Fringe Festival (April 2024). The show has also been performed in Toronto (Toronto Fringe Festival 2023) and Montreal. In 2021, Rana wrote and directed Generations, which premiered at the Montreal Fringe Festival. She also co-founded the ‘Blowfish Theatre Company’ in 2016, producing Matt & Ben (2016), Paani (2017), A Love Song for Insomniacs(2018) and Generations (2021). Rana earned her BA at McGill University, double majoring in Political Science and English: Drama & Theatre, and completed her MA at Columbia College Chicago in Arts Management. For her 9 to 5, she works at CBC as a communications link between the community and the newsroom, coordinating efforts to engage diverse audiences and amplify their stories. She currently splits her work with the CBC Quebec Communications team and the CBC Podcast team. As a storyteller, her mission is to provide a platform for people to tell their stories. You can find more of her work here:

Play description:

How do you thank your immigrant parents for their sacrifices? In You Taught Me Love, this intergenerational piece explores the complex relationship between an immigrant mother and her Canadian daughter. This play intimately portrays the generational and cultural gaps that the ‘unspoken ones’ experience. You Taught Me Love is a thank-you letter to our immigrant mothers. For their love, wisdom and sacrifices.

ANTON MAY (he/him) | A BOY’S Love

Anton May (he/him)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• The importance of QBIPOC stories and representation
• Tending to my inner child’s dreams and aspirations
• My family; honouring my ancestors

I try. To hide behind the mask that protected me from the vultures of my childhood. That circled above my head waiting for my walls to fall so they could pick away at my imperfections. But my mask is beginning to crack. My walls  are eroding from years of self doubt. The void. I. Try to fill.  Unsuccessful. Remains void.


Anton May (he/him) is a British born, now Montreal based Creator/Performer, an honours graduate from Dawson College’s Professional Theatre Program and alumni of Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program in the acting discipline (2016-17). He has had the privilege to perform across eastern Canada as well as in New York as a singer and actor. In 2018, he was the recipient of the META for Outstanding Emerging Artist (performance). The pandemic allowed him to focus on his writing. Something he’s always been passionate about, but never had the time to pursue. In his writing, he focuses on QPOC (queer people of color) struggles. He tackles these themes through poetry/spoken word. He continues to seek out opportunities to tell stories through the black queer gaze through song, dance, and poetry. His latest digital work An Account Of Many was showcased in BTW’s Belonging Project (2021) alongside many powerful queer black stories. He is also a proud member of the Montreal Kiki Ballroom scene (as Godfather Broadway Mulan) where he frequently competes and emcees for the dwolls at Balls in both Toronto and Montreal. When he’s not acting, he’s voguing or performing in concerts and Cabarets singing or moving audiences with his poetry. He is thrilled to be a part of this year’s cohort. 


A play and choreo-poem about the struggles that come with finding love and acceptance as a QBIPOC. Through movement (dance), spoken word (poetry), A Boy’s Love explores the healing process that is necessary when faced with the hardships of love. Phil, Patrick and Gerard are co-collaborators on a dance project. Due to an injury leading up to performance night, Phil has no choice but recast the show with prodigy dancer Jerome. However, this young new energy threatens the dynamic of the group. Is history repeating itself?


Chloe Giddings (she, her)

Courriel :

Artistic Pillars:
• Accessibility
• Silliness
• Truth


Chloe is a bilingual theatre creator in Montreal. She began as an actor, most recently appearing in La Campagne, a french translation of Martin Crimp’s The Country, directed by Jérémie Niel at the NAC. In spring, she finished an internship in cultural mediation and theatre education for young audiences with the Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke. That’s where she was inspired to begin writing for young audiences, which is what has brought her to YCU.

play description:

Lach is a little boy just like all the other little boys in his class, except that he has tentacles. Together with his Mom and his good friend Ema, he finds his way through a world that was not made for him. Will he finally figure out how to ride the school bus?

“Like a cow in an alien’s tractor beam, Lach is pulled towards the bus. With much effort, he manages to shove his tentacles through the door of the bus and up the steps. His tentacles are pressed up against his body in a claustrophobic sensory nightmare. He pushes down the aisle, tentacles spilling into each seat he passes, until he finally finds his friend Ema and sits next to her.”

Headshots by Emelia Hellman.

This program is facilitated by YCU Dramaturg, Leila Ghaemi.

Leila Ghaemi (she/elle) is a dramaturg, director and teaching artist. Her artistic pillars include responsible MENASA representation, radical theatre empowerment, and new play development. She received her BFA in Theatre Arts and MFA in Theatre Education & Direction from Boston University’s School of Theatre, where she grew her love for and skills in dramaturgical methods. She currently serves as the board president for Persephone Productions Montreal. 

Recent external credits include: Creative Consultant, POTUS (The Segal Centre); Cultural Consultant & Audience Engagement, English (The Segal Centre for the Performing Arts); Senior School Drama Teacher, The Study School; Co-Director, Pool (No Water) (Persephone Productions Montreal); Director, Romeo & Juliet (Classic Repertory Theatre); Director, The Scarlet Letter (Classic Repertory Theatre); Artistic Associate, New Repertory Theatre; Dramaturg & Director, The Tragic Ecstasy of Girlhood (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); and Script Reader & Conservatory Associate, American Conservatory Theater.

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