Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) proudly announces the shortlisted nominees for its 2021 Tom Hendry Awards. The Tom Hendry Awards program was founded to highlight the wealth and breadth of new play creation across the country. Juries of peers read anonymous new play submissions to select and celebrate outstanding offerings. PGC’s Nominee Gala was held virtually last night, and the shortlisted names of the talented artists in six different writing categories were released. Also publicized were the names of the ten nominees for the Bra D’Or Award, which recognizes people in the industry who go above and beyond to amplify the voices of women playwrights.
You can read about the 2021 shortlisted nominees below, and then plan to join us again at The Tom Hendry Awards on October 24th at 7pm eastern when the final winners will be announced!
The Playwrights Guild Drama Award – 2021 Short List
This NEW award is given for a Drama by a PGC member that has not yet had a professional premiere production as of May 1st, 2021, and has not been published. JURY: Colin Wolf (Chair), Lucia Frangione, and Catherine Joell MacKinnon.
Reneltta Arluk (AB) for Pawâkan Macbeth,
Yolanda Bonnell (ON) for My Sister’s Rage, and
Dalbir Singh (ON) for Five Red Hands.
Sponsored by Manitoba Association of Playwrights (MAP), Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC), Playwrights Canada Press, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal (PWM), The Playwrights Theatre Centre, and Playwrights Guild of Canada.
Dan School of Drama & Music (Musical) Award – 2021 Short List
This award is given annually for a new musical work by a PGC-member, which has not yet had a premiere production. JURY: Rick Chafe(Chair), Spy Dénommé-Welch, and Britta Johnson.
Nick Green (with Kevin Wong as Composer and Co-lyricist) (ON) for In Real Life,
Anton Lipovetsky (Music & Lyrics by Ben Elliott and Anton Lipovetsky, Book by Josh Epstein and Kyle Rideout, Adapted from the Novel by Suzette Mayr) (BC) for Monoceros, and
Anton Lipovetsky (with Niall McNeil as Co-Creator & Lyricist and Lucy McNulty as Co-Creator) (BC) for Cowboy Tempest Cabaret.
Sponsored by the Dan School of Drama & Music
The Chris Tolley and Dharini Woollcombe Comedy Award – 2021 Short List
This award is given annually for a new comedy by a PGC-member, which has not yet had a premiere production. JURY: Leonard Linklater (Chair), Mariah Inger, and Annie Valentina.
Sunny Drake (ON) for Every Little Nookie,
John Lazarus (ON) for Fanology, and
Christine Quintana (BC) for Someone Like You.
Sponsored by Chris Tolley & Dharini Woollcombe
The Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award – 2021 Short List
The Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award is given annually to a member of PGC who has a new or recently premiered theatre for young audiences (TYA) play. JURY: Mieko Ouchi (Chair), Inés Adán, and Mark Kreder.
Carrie Costello (with Michaela Washburn and Joelle Peters) (MB) for Frozen River,
Julia Lederer (ON) for Smallbots, and
Érika Tremblay-Roy (Translated by Alexis Diamond) (QC) for The Problem with Pink.
Sponsored by The Enkin Family
RBC Emerging Playwright Award – 2021 Short List
This award is given annually for the best play by a PGC-member who is an emerging playwright. JURY: Mary Vingoe (Chair), Dave Deveau, and Frances Koncan.
Nicholas Guerreiro (BC) for Green Knight on the Frog River,
Virginia Page Jähne (MB) for The Far-Off Edge of Things, and
Zahida Rahemtulla (BC) for The Frontliners.
Sponsored by the RBC Emerging Artists Fund
The Robert Beardsley Award
The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto Foundation’s 2021 Short List
This award is to be granted to a full-time secondary or post-secondary student within the GTA for the creation of a one-act play script. JURY: Rob Kempson (Chair), Marie Beath Badian, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard.
Katrina Creelman (ON) for Happy Pills,
Camille Intson (ON) for We All Got Lost, and
Shreya Jha (ON) for Statistics.
The Bra d’Or Award – 2021 Short List
Presented by PGC’s Women’s Caucus, the Bra d’Or Award recognizes an individual or individuals for his/her/their efforts in supporting and promoting the work of Canadian women playwrights. Nominees are submitted and voted on by PGC members.
Micheline Chevrier (QC) Artistic Director and Executive Director of Imago Theatre
Clem Martini (BC) Playwright and Educator (University of Calgary) (Calgary, BC)
Nicolle Nattrass (BC) Director, Dramaturge and Playwright
Anna Pappas (ON) Artistic Director, Ergo Arts Pink Fest
Donna Spencer (BC) Artistic Producer of the Firehall Arts Centre
PerSIStence Theatre Company (NL) A non-profit organization that responds to the persistent and universal need for promoting, understanding and embracing the core beliefs of feminism.
Susinn McFarlen, Lynna Goldhar Smith, and Loretta Seto (BC) Co-Artistic Directors of Wet Ink Collective
Shortlisted Play Synopses
Pawâkan Macbeth by Reneltta Arluk – Pawâkan Macbeth is set during pre-colonization, when Plains Cree were allied with Stoney Nakoda, and at war with Blackfoot over territory, food, supplies and trade. When true autonomy existed among Indigenous Peoples and with that their spirits, their wisdom, practices, makers, tricksters, shifters, their darkness and light. When the Canadian Government were making their way west with Sir John A. MacDonald as its leader. Harsh environments brought immense fear, starvation, and uncertainty together to awaken the darkest of Cree spirits, the Wihtiko – a being with insatiable greed. Through the exploration of Plains Cree language, history, stories and cosmology the playwright asks, What is it to be human? What makes a human vulnerable to the Wihtiko? Inspired by working with the youth of Frog Lake First Nation, and shared stories from Elders in the Treaty 6 region, the playwright has created a terrifying journey through love, greed, honour and betrayal, with coyote howlers teaching us that resurgence requires balance.
My Sister’s Rage by Yolanda Bonnell – With their Matriarch in a coma, a family gathers together to work through their collective grief and begin healing from an incident in the past.
Five Red Hands by Dalbir Singh– Set in an immediate Post-9/11 setting in Toronto, Five Red Hands is focused on how trauma (both political and emotional) is manifested through five seemingly disparate characters that weave in and out of each other’s lives. Sita’s impending arranged marriage countered with Liz and her sister Margaret’s fractured relationship structures the action. All of the character’s relationships with each other eventually implode by the end.
In Real Life by Nick Green (with Kevin Wong as Composer and Co-lyricist) – In Real Life is the story of a teen-aged computer prodigy who longs for connection in an age of technology and efficiency. With his final exam approaching, Max is on track for a promising future in the technological “Cubes” of Class Two, until a cryptic message from his mother in the work camps of Class Three awakens something within him. With the help of his friends, Max embarks on a journey to the depths of the super-illegal Dark Web, the gleaming heights of Class One, the front lines of an uprising in the woods, and to lost parts of himself.
Monoceros by Anton Lipovetsky (Music & Lyrics by Ben Elliott and Anton Lipovetsky, Book by Josh Epstein and Kyle Rideout, Adapted from the Novel by Suzette Mayr) – Faraday dreams of becoming a large animal veterinarian and speaking to gigantic crowds, but just feels ordinary.
When Ethan, a classmate known for wearing a unicorn onesie, dies suddenly, Faraday is set off on a mysterious and life changing quest to fulfill the dead boy’s final wish. Adapted from the award-winning novel by Suzette Mayr, Monoceros is a new Canadian musical that inspires us to celebrate our individuality.
Cowboy Tempest Cabaret by Anton Lipovetsky (with Niall McNeil as Co-Creator & Lyricist and Lucy McNulty as Co-Creator) – Guns and magic. Love and hurt. When gunslinger Prospero conjures a storm in the desert, he begins a chain of events that forces every cowboy and spirit into a fight for freedom. Created by an artist with Down Syndrome and his longtime collaborators, Cowboy Tempest Cabaret is a totally lawless adaptation of Shakespeare’s Tempest musicalized in the styles of rock, folk and country & western music.
Every Little Nookie by Sunny Drake – A broke millennial artist and her two lovers secretly organize “swingers” parties for middle-aged suburbanites at her boomer parents’ home. When the parents return unexpectedly, a wild ride ensues challenging each and every one of them to question what they know about… pretty much everything. Because it turns out that when you take on sex, you take on the basic unit of a how our world is organized.
We’re in a period of remarkable change: from dealing with the pandemic to housing crises to wealth inequality to climate chaos. What would it take for us to work together on these enormous challenges? EVERY LITTLE NOOKIE starts this epic question in the home, using a hilarious, scandalous and gently subversive romp to examine one of our most cherished sites of individualism: relationships.
Fanology by John Lazarus – This first part’s true: In 1882, the 27-year-old Oscar Wilde performed an astonishing 11-month lecture tour of the U.S. and Eastern Canada. Though he visited the great sinful cities of America, and plenty of rugged little towns with lots of attractive young men and women and free-flowing booze, the only town where he got so distracted that he actually missed his train to the next one was straight, sober, stuffy Kingston, Ontario. Set in Kingston’s British American hotel, Fanology is a comic fictional speculation on just what might have kept him in that proper little city. Oscar and his resourceful valet, Davenport, become embroiled with a beautiful young lady reporter, a handsome local working man, and a blackmail scheme perpetrated by one of the leaders of Kingston’s high society. Oscar and Davenport navigate their way through not one but at least two plots which later turned up in Wilde’s own works: one involving a young couple whose marriage is being forbidden by their elders, and one involving a certain lady’s fan which turns up where it should not.
Someone Like You by Christine Quintana – A boyfriend from hell. A nightmare apartment. A botched Tinder date. Isabelle and Kristen have been through a lot together. But the arrival of Kristen’s new romantic interest leaves Isabelle wondering how long she can stay in a supporting role. This new comedy launches Cyrano de Bergerac into the 21st century: mistaken identities, millennial manifestos, and the quest for self-love. Who might be waiting in the wings?
Frozen River by Carrie Costello (with Michaela Washburn and Joelle Peters) – In Frozen River, Grandmother Moon tells the story of young girls, born under the same blood moon, but in different parts of the world. Set in a forest, destined to become Manitoba, this new play follows their stories as they meet, and that of their descendants who meet in the present day. A broken promise from the past can be righted when there is finally an openness to learn from those who have protected and honoured the waterways for centuries.
This new play for 6-12 year olds grapples with how children can understand the broken promises of past and how to begin a journey of hope and reconciliation today.
Smallbots by Julia Lederer – With global warming, gun violence, viruses, discrimination — the world is a dangerous place to raise kids. Having children is also expensive and often biologically inaccessible. But, thanks to SmallBots, you can skip the hassles and risks and adopt robot children instead, starting at any age. And they are perfect… or however you’d like them to be. Soon SmallBots are what every parent wants. It’s not long before they’re running the student council. What’s next?
The Problem with Pink by Érika Tremblay-Roy (Translated by Alexis Diamond)– Each day is full of fun and stories for friends Alix, Sasha, Lou and Noa as they play happily on their private pink carpet. From afar, the outside world seeps into their games. A plane flies overhead? They grow long, long wings. It starts raining? No problem: they splash in the puddles, instantly waterproof. But everything changes when they get terrible news from the outside: the colour pink is for girls. Suddenly, the perception of others becomes a major preoccupation, muddling their imaginations in the process. They are boys! This place – this pink place – is not for them. Not anymore.
Green Knight on the Frog River by Nicholas Guerreiro – The Shawchuck River Wildlife Sanctuary is nestled in between two of the less impressive peaks of the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia. It’s usually a quiet place, hosting maybe a few backpackers at a time, as well as an impressive array of mammalian, amphibian, and avian biodiversity. It’s also right in the middle of the current government’s hydro-electric plan, a massive federal initiative to build enough dams to get Canada’s power grid emissions-free by 2045. Upriver, activists have gathered to protest the dam, but in the Shawchuck Interpretive Centre, all is calm. Isabel Cavaleiro, an ecoscientist blacklisted due to her extreme anti-oil demonstrations, is quietly employed here, although these days she mostly focuses on feeding the frogs, fish, and insects under the Interpretive Centre’s care. Unbeknownst to her, however, one of her little animal friends has a secret that might make powerful people very upset indeed.
The Far-Off Edge of Things by Virginia Page Jähne – The Far-off Edge of Things exists in a liminal space between Realism, Magical Realism, and The Absurd. The setting is a catastrophic climatic event; rising water from sea ice melt in Hudson’s Bay causes a reversal of the Red River and creates a giant tidal bore which will imminently flood Manitoba. The play imagines this large-scale climatic event set against the small-scale human narrative of the protagonist, Morgan, a person with disability, and Giles, her partner and caregiver, who struggle, both literally and metaphorically, to keep their heads above water. Morgan, trapped in a malfunctioning lift while the flood waters rise, enters an Absurdist world when the crossed wires of the lift emergency phone connect her to an emergency measures conference room in which the attendees are focused upon building a ramp at ‘The Far-off Edge of Things’ for her, while saving themselves at ‘The Centre of Things.’ This is a story about barriers to relationships, paralleling a story about barriers to accessibility, juxtaposed with a devolving story in which the non-disabled are disabled by environmental events.
The Frontliners by Zahida Rahemtulla – It is late January 2016 and Canada is in the throes of resettling the first wave of 25,000 Syrian refugees. As three frontline workers battle Vancouver’s housing crisis to move families out of an East Van hotel, their lives are brought together in ways that irreversibly shape them.
Happy Pills by Katrina Creelman – Happy Pills is a one act reflection on the struggles university students face when dealing with mental illness and their institution’s self-proclaimed state-of-the-art mental health services. Based on the harrowing real-life story of a student on the road to getting the depressed kid’s golden ticket: a formal diagnosis.
We All Got Lost by Camille Intson – Five schoolgirls form a sacred storyteller’s club in the thick woods of an impenetrable Northern Ontarian township. Spinning tales among the trees, they turn the forest, and to each other, to grapple with the uneasy transitions of young adulthood. When tragedy shocks the community, the girls are forced to reckon with the events that each led them to the woods that night, and the deathly consequences that followed. We All Got Lost is a queer gothic coming-of-age play about girlhood, disobedience, passion, and what happens when storytelling goes too far.
Statistics by Shreya Jha – ‘Statistics’ tells the story of Rosalind Franklin – a talented biologist working on the structure of DNA in the 1950s – and Rose Anderson, a current-day student trying to get into medical school. The two female scientists, though separated by half a century, each face their own challenges in their races against the clock. As Rosalind Franklin is betrayed by her own colleagues due to misogyny and malignancy, Rose struggles with institutional, internal, and personal pressures and turns to her role model for support. In their darkest moments, they form a connection of grit, perseverance, and love for the beauty of discovery as Rosalind helps Rose rediscover what it means to be a scientist.
Bra d’Or Award Nominee Bios & Descriptions
For over thirty years, Micheline has worked across Canada and abroad as a director, artistic director and dramaturge. As a director, she has worked at such theatres as The Shaw Festival, the National Arts Centre, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, the Citadel, the Globe Theatre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Canadian Stage, Young People’s Theatre, Théâtre français de Toronto, the Centaur Theatre, Segal Centre, Geordie Productions, Imago Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick and BeMe Productions (Barcelona and Munich).
From 1995 to 2000, Micheline was the Artistic Director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa, where she directed several new creations as well as several Canadian classics. She was Associate Artistic Director at Theatre New-Brunswick from 1990 to 1992, Associate Dramaturge at Playwrights Workshop Montreal from 1992 to 1993 and, from 2002 to 2004, was Associate Artist at Canadian Stage in Toronto. In January 2011, Micheline joined Imago Theatre as Associate Director and, in July 2013, became its Artistic and Executive Director.
Micheline has received a Betty Mitchell Award (Calgary) for Best Direction, two Capital Critics Awards (Ottawa) for Best Direction and Best Production, a Dora Mavor Moore Award (Toronto) for Best Production, and a META (Montreal) for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production.
Professor Clem Martini is an award winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter with over thirty plays, and ten books of fiction and nonfiction to his credit, including the Calgary Book Award-winning Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness and his most recent anthology, Martini With A Twist. His texts on playwriting, The Blunt Playwright, and The Greek Playwright, are employed in universities and colleges across the country. He is currently the Chair of the Division of Drama in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.
Nicolle Nattrass is an actor (CAEA/ACTRA), dramaturg/director, and playwright. She began writing monologues and numerous sketch comedy shows in between her career as an actor performing in regional theatres across Canada. Many, many monologues turned into a one-woman play, Brownie Points (Boldly Going Where No Brownie Has Gone Before).
Brownie Points received nominations for Outstanding Original Play & Outstanding Performance at the 1998 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. Brownie Points received its American premiere, was adapted into a CBC radio pilot (based on the same character), and became a short film, which won Best Short Comedy at the 2003 Magnolia Independent Film Festival in Mississippi, USA.
Nicolle served as Deputy Chair for the Women’s Caucus at PGC from 2008 – 2012 and then went onto serve PGC as a National Forum Rep (Gulf Islands) from 2016- 2019. She was Artistic Associate for Theatre One’s Emerging Voices (2013-2021) and has served as a Juror for Theatre BC, as well as many different playwriting competitions!
Anna Pappas’ experience stems from over 25 years of work as an actor on stage, in film and in television. She founded Ergo Arts Theatre in the early 90’s and has had the honour of collaborating with many of Canada’s finest talent. She has worked as a director, producer and actor in the company’s West End Reading Series, bringing classics and new works to the stage. Her work in the indy theatre scene has been recognized at the Toronto Fringe Festival – Ergo Arts’ production of Breaking Character was chosen Patron’s Pick and Buckle My Shoe was selected as one of NOW Magazine’s Fringe Favourites (Outstanding Production and Outstanding Ensemble) .
By the early 2000’s, Anna began programming and outreach to include Theatre for Young Audiences, with productions like the province-wide tour of Billy Bishop Goes to War and workshop production of Choose a children’s musical about the environment. Development work on multilingual text such as Antigone, Lysistrata, Ithaki, Seferis-Kipling, An Evening of Ritsos, to name a few, expanded the company’s reach into the Hellenic Community.
Ms Pappas has a long history of championing women and their work. In 2018, she initiated Ergo Pink Fest, a theatre festival promoting the works of women artists and artists of marginalized gender identities. Supported by the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts, the festival launched in March 2018 and is now in its third year.
Donna Spencer is the Artistic Producer of the Firehall Arts Centre and was one of the Firehall’s founding directors. She is the winner of the Jessie Richardson Outstanding Direction Award for Urinetown, the Musical and for Reading Hebron and her many theatre directorial credits include REFUGE, Social Studies, Vimy, Stuff Happens, Einstein’s Gift, Golden Child, Menopositive The Musical!, The Yoko Ono Project, Wawatay, The Unnatural and Accidental Women, Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and many others. Spencer has collaboratively created three plays – Walking the Tightrope, Mainstream and Opening Doors as well as writing the contemporary adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. She is currently working on the collaborative creation of a new musical, Gold Mountain/Turtle Island. She is the recipient of a Jessie Richardson Award for Multicultural Innovation in the Theatre and the Jessie Richardson Career Achievement Award. She was awarded the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for Theatre in 2012 and recognized by the B.C. Achievement Foundation for her theatre and dance works. She is a member of the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame. Ms. Spencer is, also, the Producer of the annual Dancing on the Edge Festival of Contemporary Dance, which will celebrate its 30th festival in July 2018.
PerSIStence Theatre Company was founded in early 2017 with a mission to “respond to the persistent and universal need for promoting, understanding and embracing the core beliefs of feminism through professional theatre and related initiatives.” The organization’s activities include professional theatre, professional development opportunities, educational programs and community outreach.
Actor-Playwright and screenwriter. Susinn is an award winning actress who has worked across the country. One of the founders of WIC, she started writing plays for the stage 13 years ago. Critics called her play SINCE YOU LEFT US one of the best plays in Vancouver in 2014.
Lynna Goldhar Smith
Visual Artist, Theatre maker and Songwriter. Lynna is an artist of mixed ancestry who divides her time between visual art and theatre. She has directed 40 stage plays and written and/or directed 16 solo shows, some of which have toured extensively throughout North America, England and Europe. Lynna is currently working on creating a new multimedia solo work and painting daily in her studio. She is a founding member of Wet Ink Collective.
Playwright, Screenwriter, Fiction Writer and Children’s Book Author. Loretta Seto is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and producer, as well as children’s book author. Her plays include the smash hit Dirty Old Woman, and The Ones We Leave Behind, which won a Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Alannah Ong). Loretta is the author of the children’s picture book Mooncakes (Orca Books), now in its 5th print run, as well as a co-founder of Wet Ink Collective. Having earned her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, Loretta is excited by the new challenges she faces writing in different genres. She lives in Vancouver, BC.
Chair & Jury Bios
CHAIR – Colin Wolf is a Métis performer, theatre maker, and activist from the North-East of Moh’kins’tsis (Calgary), AB on Treaty 7 Territory. Wolf graduated with a BFA in Performance from the University of Lethbridge in 2014, and then spent the next 5 years making theatre all over the prairies with dear friends, trusted colleagues, and complicated colonial institutions. His theatre work has focused on the development of new, Indigenous, and politically activated theatre. Wolf co-founded Thumbs Up Good Work Theatre Collective with his sister Caleigh Crow in 2013 when they recognized a gap in the Calgary theatre scene for independent, Indigenous, and working class artists. Their most recent project, The Born Again Crow, explored themes of racism, capitalism, and violence on a supernatural scale. Wolf is working on the development of a number of projects in collaboration with other artists including Coy Wolf, Big McCoy, and Hucksterland – you should ask him about these! After cutting his teeth in TYA, on regional stages, and in Indie theatre in the prairies Wolf felt the call of the North and moved to Whitehorse in October 2019 to serve as the Artistic Director at Gwaandak Theatre Society on the Territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. Since then he has occupied his time picking berries, snowshoeing, and tending to the artistic landscape to encourage the development of thriving art makers. You can send him an email if you wanna see his resume Mx.C.Wolf@gmail.com
Lucia Frangione is an internationally produced award-winning author of over thirty produced plays. Some of her scripts include: In a Blue Moon, Off Leash, Fresco, Paradise Garden, Leave of Absence, Espresso, Cariboo Magi, Christmas on the Air, Holy Mo and Chickens. Frangione is also an award-winning actor, performing on stages across Canada. She is currently having a ball starring in a new video game. Talon books will be publishing her first novel this spring: Grazie. She lives in Vancouver with her fire -fighter husband and two kids.
Catherine Joell MacKinnon is an award-winning filmmaker known for her documentaries, filmmaking, producing and television work.
She produced an award winning American Indie film, “The Hammer” (aka: HAMILL), released in 2010 to a critical acclaim, and a winner of 8 Audience Choice Film Festival Awards. Her recent short film, “Hands Gone Wild” was chosen the Top Best 50 Films at the recent Isolation Short Film Festival, 2020.
In addition to her producing portfolio, she also worked as a line producer in a hit music video, “Let’s Mambo” featuring Sean Forbes, Marlee Matlin, and Fabian Sanchez, a D-PAN production, and “See What I’m Saying”, music video, directed by Hilari Scarl of Worldplay productions. “Wasted Beauty” directed by Martin Paves and Produced by Eva Longoria and your truly. She’s the Executive producer of “Tactile Coco” (Canada) a documentary short, was recently selected at a Swedish Dov Film Festival, 2019.
ASL Coach & Continuity for “Fargo (Season one, 2014), (An Emmy & Golden Globe winner for “Best limited series, or motion picture made for television”) Catherine returned as ASL Coach for Season three (2017) in addition to ASL Coaching she also worked on the feature horror film,”The Silence” produced by Constantin Film and EMJAG Productions, (Germany and USA) and in 2019, ASL Coach for Warner Brother’s production, “TITANS”, filmed in Toronto, Canada.
In addition to producing, Catherine is also an actor, filmmaker and a playwright. Catherine was an ACTRA Woman of the Year Award recipient, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. She used to live in North Hollywood, CA for five years. It was one of her career highlights meeting many amazing talented people in the industry during her time in Los Angeles. She’s proud to be part of the feature film, in development, “IMPLANT”
CHAIR – Rick Chafe is a Winnipeg playwright and screenwriter.
In 2019 he celebrated the release of the feature film STAND!, a musical he cowrote with writer/composer Danny Schur; the stage play STRIKE! (Rainbow Stage), also cowritten with Schur; Red Earth, a graphic novel for theatre for which he cowrote the script with Kristian Jordan for One Trunk Theatre; and the publication of Marriage: A Demolition in Two Acts by Playwrights Canada Press.
Other selected work for the stage includes: The Secret Mask for Prairie Theatre Exchange (2013); Beowulf’s Daughter for Two Planks and a Passion (2011); Shakespeare’s Dog for Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre – National Arts Centre (2009) and The Odyssey for Shakespeare in the Ruins (2001).
He won the Chris Johnson Award for Best Manitoba New Play in 2014, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama (The Secret Mask), and a nominee for the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre in 2008.
In 2020, he was set to premiere two new plays: Five Moments (Theatre Projects Manitoba), and Both Alike in Dignity, cowritten with Yvette Nolan (Prairie Theatre Exchange). With both cancelled for the pandemic, Theatre Projects Manitoba pivoted to support a rewrite of Five Moments – a two-hander – as a conversation over Zoom, which worked remarkably well and was live-streamed via the National Arts Centre’s Canada Performs series. Both Alike in Dignity is postponed for now while the theatres await reopening.
Dr. Spy Dénommé-Welch (Algonquin-Anishnaabe) is a multi-disciplinary composer, librettist/playwright, producer, and educator. Select credits as a writer and composer include: Rouge Winter (2019); RADAR (2019); Contraries: A chamber requiem (2018); Sojourn (2017); Victorian Secrets (2014; Giiwedin (2010). He is Artistic Director of Unsettled Scores, and an Associate Professor at Western University. He is currently completing new works for theatre, music and opera that will premiere in the 2022-2023 seasons.
Britta Johnson is a writer, composer and lyricist based in Toronto. She made her American debut when her original musical, Life After, opened at the Old Globe in San Diego in 2019 following an extended, multiple Dora award-winning run at Canadian Stage in Toronto. Her other writing credits include: With her sister Anika Johnson: Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life (Outside the March, Dora nomination), Brantwood (Theatre Sheridan, Dora Award), Jacob Two-Two (YTP, Dora nomination), Trap Door (Theatre Sheridan). With Sara Farb: Kelly v. Kelly (Musical Stage Co/Canadian Stage; winner of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada best new musical award), Reframed (Art Gallery of Ontario, Dora nomination). With Katherine Cullen: Stupidhead! (Dora nomination). She was the librettist for choreographer Robert Binet’s adaptation of The Kreutzer Sonata with Ballet Moscow and was recently named one of 50 Women to Watch by the Broadway Women’s Fund of America.
CHAIR – Leonard Linklater is a playwright, co-founder of Gwaandak Theatre, a journalist and host of CBC Yukon’s Midday Cafe. A member of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, he was born and raised in Inuvik, N.W.T. and is a co-creator of Ndoo Treedyaa Gogwaandak, including Ch’iitsii Khał Datl’oo / The Blue Cruiser, adapted from his godfather Stephen Frost’s story. Leonard’s first play, Sixty Below received seven Dora nominations for its Toronto production (Native Earth). Justice was featured in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre’s Northern Scene, fittingly, in an old courthouse. Leonard was a co-creator of Map of the Land, Map of the Stars. A participant in the 2019 Caravan Farm Theatre National Playwrights Retreat, he is currently working on a new play, Treaties with his spouse Patti Flather.
Mariah Inger has been an actress for over 30yrs. She works in Theatre, Film/TV, Voice, Video Game motion caption and Radio. She is grateful to have had the chance to work with some of the best in the biz. She is also Vice President of ‘Black Wealth Media’. A company she helped build 4 years ago, which focuses on producing afro-centric content, for Film, TV & Web. She is also a director, mentor to emerging marginalized artists, a member of multiple boards helping to implement better diversity and inclusivity policies… and is the proud single mother to her 26 yrs. old son. Today, she is happy to be sharing her knowledge and experience with BTW’s Artist Mentorship Program.
Annie Valentina (she/her) is a theatre artist and multidisciplinary storyteller. Since graduating from the Fountain School of Performing Arts (Dalhousie 2004), Annie has been co-founder of three Halifax-based indie theatre companies, worked as an actor in film and TV, and – as one half of The Doppler Effect – helped develop 10+ original plays and bring them to the stage in award-winning productions. Her passion for new work development, supporting emerging artists, and challenging the gender- and heteronormative lens are ever-present in her work.
While perhaps best known to Nova Scotia audiences for her Merritt-nominated memoir play Alien (2013), which chronicles her personal journey of immigration and cultural dissonance, she is presently most focused on her work as director, dramaturge and coordinator of Neptune’s mentorship programs Chrysalis and INKubator.
Since joining Neptune as Artistic Associate in 2018, Annie has directed the East Coast premiere of Lo (Or Dear Mr Wells) by Rose Napoli and the world premiere of Pleasureville by Ellen Denny on Neptune’s own stage. Other recent adventures include a stint in NYC as a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab (2019), and the co-creation of DISPATCH, a Halifax-based interactive puzzle game/outdoor experience for the era of Covid-safe entertainment (2020). Also notably, becoming a Canadian citizen after nearly two decades of residence – the epilogue to Alien she has yet to write.
CHAIR – Mieko Ouchi works as an actor, writer, director and dramaturg. She is a co-founder of Concrete Theatre and for 31 years worked in a leadership role at the company, including the last seven years as Artistic Director. As a playwright, Mieko’s plays for adult and TYA audiences: The Red Priest, The Blue Light, The Dada Play, Nisei Blue, I Am For You, The Bully Project, Consent and The Silver Arrow have been produced across Canada and internationally and have been recognized with the Carol Bolt Prize, two Betty Awards and a Governor General’s Award nomination and are translated into six languages. This past November, Mieko stepped down as AD at Concrete Theatre into a supporting role as Artistic Associate, taking on a new position as the TD Associate Artistic Director at the Citadel Theatre.
Inés Adán Mozo is a theatre director and cofounder of the theatre company Mundanal Ruido Teatro (Spain). For more than fifteen years, she has combined both artistic creation and education. She holds a degree in Theatre Direction from the Spain’s Royal School of Dramatic Art, a Master degree in Translation and a Degree in English Studies. She has been a teacher in the “Master of Studies of Theatre” at the International University of La Rioja. Her artistic production has been presented and awarded in Spain, Portugal and Dominican Republic. Currently, she lives in Montreal (Canada) where she has been part of Talisman Theatre within the DémART program of the Conseil des arts de Montréal. Inés is currently developing a creation project for young audiences in a residency at Le cube (Centre international de recherche et de création en théâtre pour l’enfance et la jeunesse) and at Creation Center of Théâtre Aux Écuries.
Mark Kreder is an actor based in Toronto, Ontario. A graduate of the University of Windsor’s B.F.A- Acting program, he trained with companies such as The SITI Company and the Stratford Festival. Since graduating, he has continued to expand his skill set, taking workshops with The MoCap Vaults, LB Acting Studios, Kim Hurdon Casting and The Soulpepper Training Room. Mark’s select credits include: Prince Gallant in Sleeping Beauty (Globus Theatre), Arnie in Corn and Peg “If The Shoe Fits” (Chorus Entertainment) and Hugh in Crow Hill: The Telephone Play (4th Line Theatre). When Mark is not acting, he can be found teaching at Young People’s Theatre or working behind the scenes on film sets. TYA Theatre has always held a special place in Mark’s heart. It was an honour to be a juror for this award and have the opportunity to read so many amazing plays!
CHAIR – Mary Vingoe is a director, Artistic Director, Festival Director, playwright, teacher and actor, Vingoe is the founding Artistic Director of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa, co-founder and past Artistic Director of Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre, co-founder and past co-Artistic Director of Ship’s Co. Theatre in Parrsboro, NS and co-founder and past Artistic Director of The Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax.
Vingoe has directed and taught at theatres and universities across the country including Canada’s National Arts Centre, Tarragon Theatre, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, The National Theatre School and Neptune Theatre. Her 2011 play Living Curiosities about PT Barnum and the Nova Scotia giantess Anna Swan, is published by Playwright Canada Press. Her 2013 play Refuge published by Scirocco Press, was a finalist for the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award and was short listed for the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Drama. Vingoe’s new play Some Blow Flutes was nominated for Best New Play at the Merritt Awards in 2019. Some Blow Flutes is published by Scirocco Press.
Vingoe is the recipient of Nova Scotia’s Portia White Award for artistic excellence. In 2011, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to Canadian theatre.
Dave Devoe is an award-winning writer who investigates queer themes that speak to a broad audience. His work has been produced across North America and in Europe. He is the Associate Artistic Director of Zee Zee Theatre, a Vancouver-based company that amplifies voices from the margins with a focus on LGBTQ2S+ work. Zee Zee has premiered his plays Nelly Boy, Tiny Replicas, the critically-acclaimed My Funny Valentine(Sydney Risk Prize, Jessie Nomination, Oscar Wilde Nomination – Dublin), Lowest Common Denominator, Elbow Room Café: The Musical (with Anton Lipovetsky), Dead People’s Things and Holiday at the Elbow Room Café. He is devoted to developing intelligent, theatrical plays for young people that foster conversation. His plays for young audiences include Out in the Open, tagged (Dora nomination) and Celestial Being (Jessie Nomination) for Green Thumb Theatre and Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls (Dora nomination) for Roseneath Theatre. He is currently working on commissions for Zee Zee Theatre, Carousel Theatre for Young People, Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Intrepid Theatre and Nashville Children’s Theatre. In total, his plays have been nominated for 21 Jessie Awards (Vancouver), 4 Ovation Awards (Vancouver) and 4 Dora Awards (Toronto). He is represented by Marquis Literary. He is published in Scirocco’s Fierce anthology and his first book called CISSY: Three Gender Plays is published by Talonbooks. www.davedeveau.com
Frances Koncan (she/they) is a writer of mixed Anishinaabe and Slovene descent from Couchiching First Nation. They got their start as a writer by blogging about the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and has since expanded their storytelling-style repertoire to include plays, screenplays, creative non-fiction, journalism, video essays, digital content creation, and more. When she isn’t busy avoiding writing, she enjoys feeling guilty about procrastinating while partaking in other activities. She currently lives in Treaty One territory with her dog, Tucker, and her cat, who is also named Tucker.
CHAIR – Rob Kempson is a theatre artist and educator, working primarily as a director and playwright, who was recently named as the new Artistic Producer of the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope. Selected Writer/Director: Trigonometry (timeshare/Factory); Mockingbird (Next Stage Theatre Festival); SHANNON 10:40 (timeshare/Videofag); explicit (Rhubarb Festival); #legacy (Harbourfront Centre); The HV Project (Community). Selected Director: Box 4901 (timeshare/Buddies), The Places We Are (Theatre Erindale), The Snow Queen (Canadian Children’s Opera Company), Electric Messiah IV & V (Soundstreams), The Little Mermaid (St. Lawrence College), 9 to 5: The Musical (Randolph College), The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom (Sudbury Theatre Centre), Box 4901 (SummerWorks, foldA Festival); The Canadian, Maggie and Pierre, Million Dollar Quartet, Daisy Amazed Me, Violet’s the Pilot, Rose’s Clothes (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Robert (co-directed with Briana Brown, Toronto Fringe); Songs for a New World (Claude Watson). Writer/Composer/Performer: The Way Back To Thursday (Theatre Passe Muraille/Touchstone Theatre – Dora Nomination: Outstanding New Musical).
Rob has been a member of the Stratford Festival Playwrights’ Retreat, a Resident Artist Educator at Young People’s Theatre, and the RBC Intern Director for The Musical Stage Co. He is the past Artistic Producer of the Paprika Festival, the past Associate Artistic Producer at Theatre Passe Muraille, and the past Associate Artistic Director at the Thousand Islands Playhouse. Rob is also the Co-Artistic Director of ARC, a Toronto-based company. More info at robkempson.com or on twitter at @rob_kempson.
Marie Beath Badian is a Filipina-Canadian playwright, writer and theatre maker based in Toronto. She is best known for her play Prairie Nurse, which has been produced across Canada. She has developed her work in the playwright units of Cahoots Theatre Company, Tarragon Theatre, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Factory Theatre and The Banff Playwrights Lab. She was Playwright-in-Residence for fu-GEN Asian-Canadian Theatre Company, Project:Humanity and The Blyth Festival Theatre. She has written for the PlayME Podcast [CBC Radio/Sirius XM] and for Topline [CBC Gem]. She was long-listed in the Top 30 for the 2019 Brentwood Prize for Playwriting – the UK’s biggest national competition for playwriting – for her plays Common Parts I and II. Upcoming projects include The Waltz and The Cottage Guest, two sequels to Prairie Nurse for The Blyth Festival Theatre. www.mariebeath.com
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (aka Belladonna the Beast) is an emcee, playwright, dramaturge and agitator. Her work has been nominated for the Siminovitch Prize, Governor General’s Literary Awards, SATA, Herman Voaden Playwriting Award, Enbridge PlayRites Award and Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play. She has been engaged as a dramaturge for Pink Pluto, Native Earth Performing Arts, Factory Theatre, lemonTree creations and Humber College Drama Program. DM is the artistic director of New Harlem Productions, emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, playwright in residence at lemonTree creations and coordinator of the ADHOC Assembly.