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Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) proudly announces the shortlisted nominees for its 2022 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 four 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. As well as the three shortlisted nominees for the New John Palmer Award.

You can read about the 2022 shortlisted nominees below, and then plan to join us again at The Tom Hendry Awards on October 30th at 7pm eastern when the final winners will be announced!

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The Playwrights Guild Drama Award – 2022 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, 2022, and which has not been published. JURY: Kanika Ambrose (Chair), Chris Lam, and Josh Languedoc. 

Marie Beath Badian (ON) for Common: A Trilogy, 

Maggi Feehan (BC) for Highway, and 

Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho) (ON) for Cockroach (曱甴). 

Sponsored by Manitoba Association of Playwrights (MAP), Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC), Playwrights Canada Press, Playwrights Guild of Canada, Playwrights Theatre Centre (PTC), Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal, and the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre. . 

 

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Dan School of Drama & Music (Musical) Award – 2022 Short List 

This award is given annually for a new musical work by a PGC member that has not yet had a premiere production. JURY: Avery-Jean Brennan (Chair), Lindsay Kyte and Amanda Trapp. 

Jamie Bradley and Scott Owen (NS) for Parlour Tricks, 

Jesse LaVercombe and Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski (ON) for G-G-G-Genevieve, and 

Corey Payette (BC) for StarWalker: A New Musical. 

Sponsored by the Dan School of Drama & Music 

 

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The Playwrights Guild Comedy Award – 2022 Short List 

This award is given annually for a new comedy by a PGC member that has not yet had a premiere production. JURY: Deb Williams (Chair), Amanda Cordner, and Breton Lalama. 

Mark Crawford (ON) for The Gig, 

Rose Napoli (ON) for Mad Madge, and 

Jovanni Sy (AB) for The Tao of The World. 

Sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada 

 

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The Theatre for Young Audiences Award – 2022 Short List 

The Theatre for Young Audiences Award is presented annually to a member of PGC who has a new or recently premiered Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) play.  JURY: Tracy Carroll (Chair), Scott Button, and Katie German. 

Julia Lederer and Julie Ritchey (ON) for Gather, 

Kathleen McDonnell (ON) for Swan Girl, and 

Rachel Mutombo (QC) for Homeroom. 

Sponsored by The Playwrights Guild.

 

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RBC Emerging Playwright Award – 2022 Short List 

This award is bestowed annually for the best play by a PGC member who is an emerging playwright. JURY: Laura Mullin (Chair), Santiago Guzmán, and Natalie Meisner. 

Lily Falk (NS) for Crypthand, 

Adjani Poirier (QC) for Sinkhole or Six Ways to Disappear, and 

Nikki Shaffeeullah (ON) for A Poem for Rabia. 

Sponsored by the RBC Emerging Artists Fund.

 

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The Robert Beardsley Award 

 The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto Foundation’s 2022 Short List 

This award is to be granted to a full-time secondary or post-secondary student within the Greater Toronto Area for the creation of a one-act play script. JURY:  Philip Geller (Chair), Briana Brown, and Yago Mesquita. 

Soykan Karayol (ON) for Hammer and Chisel, 

Sydney-Paige Scott (ON) for The Titty Play, and 

Ganesh Thava (ON) for Koli Kari. 

Sponsored by The Art’s & Letter’s Club of Toronto Foundation

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The Bra d’Or Award – 2022 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.  

 

Tracy Carroll – Co-Artistic Director of Concrete Theatre (AB), 

Beverley Cooper – Actor, Director, Dramaturg, and Playwright (ON), 

Heidi Taylor – Artistic and Executive Director of PTC (BC), and 

Christy MacRae-Ziss and Hannah Ziss – Co-Artistic Producers of Baddek Theatre (NS) 

 

Sponsored by Playwrights Canada Press and Scirocco Drama.

 

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The John Palmer Award – 2022 Short List 

An award-winning playwright, theatre director, and filmmaker, John Palmer was never afraid to shake things up. As one of the first champions of home-grown Canadian theatre, he made a career out of it. As a teacher and mentor, John was drawn towards young artists who rejected conventional ideas and he inspired them to make art that agitated the mainstream. He was generous with knowledge sharing, respected alternate perspectives, and was interested in ideas of importance to different groups and generations. 

Family, friends, and colleagues hope to carry on John Palmer’s legacy of using theatre as a medium to challenge and change conventional thinking. As a senior and experienced playwright and director in theatre, John also nurtured friendships and mentorships with the next generation of theatre artists. 

An experienced PGC Member nominates a new generation artist to be recognized as a (future) change-maker in theatre.  JURY: Franco Boni (Chair), Chris Gatchalian, and Yvette Nolan. 

Louise Casemore (AB), nominated by Vern Thiessen 

Santiago Guzmán (NL), nominated by Pamela Halstead 

Stephen Jackman-Torkoff (ON), nominated by Sunny Drake 

 

Sponsored by the Family of John Palmer.

Shortlisted Play Synopses

Common: A Trilogy by Marie Beath BadianCommon is a trilogy of short plays about dignity in crisis, humanity in trauma; it is about seeing beyond the upheaval and hardship of young people experiencing homelessness. The characters are seeking purpose, friendship, love, acceptance, and above all, visibility. 

Highway by Maggi FeehanIn a small prairie town, two teenage girls attend the same school, separated by race, culture, and popularity. Jo-Jo is Indigenous and lives with her serpent-tongued mother behind a gas station on an impoverished reserve. Carly is a Settler and lives with her Fred Flintstone loving Dad who is a long-haul trucker, often away. By day, the girls ignore each other, but by night, their dreams reach across the cultural chasm to meet and dance together.

Highway examines culture through the lens of teenage angst, heartbreak through the scars of adult disappointment, and longing through the liminal world of dreams. This play invites the audience to witness their own stereotypes and assumptions, creating an emotional and psychological journey that invites laughter, reflection, and compassion. 

Cockroach (曱甴) by Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho)A cockroach smoking catnip. A bard lamenting over immortality. A boy stuck in a sticky situation. Three splinters caught in a collision of language, longing, and lobsters (who sometimes bursts, and who sometimes burps). A play about the stories we tell ourselves to comfort, to survive, to resist, to overcome, and to be. 

Parlour Tricks by Jamie Bradley (with Scott Owen as Composer and Co-lyricist)Parlour Tricks is an original musical farce about family, greed, redemption, and how to extort money by using a spare corpse. Set in 1842 Rum Town, Nova Scotia, Celtic balladeers Clog and Cala tell the story of failed mortician/ successful misanthrope, Ernest Newman, and his doting wife Vera (“A Rum Town”), who run a run-down Newman’s Funeral Home (“The Neighbourhood”). In the hope of drumming up business, the Newmans use the last of their money to buy a corpse from the insane asylum to use as a window display (“The Poor House”). The dead body turns out to be a live Chester, who was sold to get him out of the asylum warden’s hair. Happy-go-lucky Chester, and his little rabbit doll, Scarbunny, is now in Ernest’s hair and Vera decides to adopt the man as their ‘son’ (“A Breath of Free Air”).

Ernest is dragged in front of the judge and slapped with a huge fine for unpaid taxes; and, with Chester in tow, he embarks on a quest to scrounge up money any way he can or face imprisonment. This leads them to a dangerous meeting with a red-headed, orphaned, psychopathic girl, who is being banished to Prince Edward Island (“I’m So Chuffed”); forced to carry around a corpse that the funeral home must bury for free, due to a botched burial of the client’s other family member; and a visit with The Widow Ball, the too-beautiful-for-mortal-eyes proprietress of the local tavern, who inspires Ernest to cook up a scam (“The Coughing Ass”). Late that night, the two men lug the corpse up the stairs to the funeral home’s attic, while illustrating Newton’s Three Laws of Physics (“Fequalsma!”) and prepare to implement Ernest’s clever plan to extort money from the wealthy by tossing the corpse in front of carriages and claiming that their father had been run over (“Freedom’s Through A Window”). Disappointed by her husband’s uncaring attitude towards her and their marriage, Vera Newman has decided to leave Ernest (“Jagged Little Doily”). The corpse/carriage scam goes swimmingly, and Ernest is flushed with money, until the last carriage, which belongs to the son of the corpse. Ernest and Chester are arrested and manage to escape (“The Escape”); but with nowhere to go and no Vera to help them. Ernest must come to terms with how he’s treated his wife and Chester learns his true identity.

Parlour Tricks is a silly, black comedy and a satire of social mores; with an original score of musical theatre and traditional Celtic/Gaelic music, inspired by the rough energy of a Saturday night in an Irish tavern… with fewer broken bottles and noses. 

G-G-G-Genevieve by Jesse LaVercombe (with Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski, Composer) G-G-G-Genevieve is a coming-of-age story about a girl with a severe stutter who decides to run for student council president in small-town Ontario. On her way, she’ll stand up to her ambitious best friend, match wits with an Instagram-famous transfer student, and discover the strength of her voice as she is thrust into the spotlight. This emotional comedy explores the way young people communicate in the modern era, the true meaning of leadership, and how the courage to speak out can change the world. 

Starwalker: A New Musical by A Corey Payette (Book/Music/Lyrics) Starwalker, a 2-spirit Indigi-queer Drag Queen fuses Indigenous and Drag cultures giving life to a new style of performance we never knew we needed. The story follows Starwalker, who is introduced to the House of Borealis when their world is thrown upside down, finding a home they never knew they needed, and creating a new persona that blends their grounded Indigenous cultural spirit with drag performance, resulting in an empowering and celebratory experience that only tearing down the patriarchy can provide. It is a love story, facing issues of identity, strength, and resilience. 

The Gig by Mark CrawfordThree drag queens have been hired to perform at a private function. The catch? Tonight’s event is a campaign fundraiser for a Conservative politician. As the queens struggle to agree on how to proceed, the campaign manager and rookie candidate attempt to send a message of inclusivity and hope to their voters. Throw in an unimpressed venue technician and a long-standing MP who’s been forced into retirement and, honey, this gig will have you “gagging!” Politics! Sibling rivalry! Wigs! The Gig is a contemporary comedy that asks: what do we do when we don’t see eye-to-eye? 

Mad Madge by Rose Napoli If you draw a line from Tik Tok way, way back, you’ll land on Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, more commonly known as Mad Madge. Most commonly unknown as the first novelist of science fiction, the first woman to write using her own name, the first woman invited to the Royal Society, the first animal activist, and the first eccentric introvert to be unapologetic about her desire for fame. If our current society is responsible for the fates of Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears, you can imagine what would befall such a woman in the 17th century. Mad Madge is a contemporary period play that suggests perhaps our obsession with social media and unbridled attention is not so new, after all. 

The Tao of the World by Jovanni SyA Restoration Comedy for Modern Times! Inspired by Congreve’s The Way of the World, this new romantic comedy is set in modern Crazy Rich Asians Singapore. After a global pandemic has kept everyone isolated for nearly two years, Asia’s wealthy elite try to make up for lost time by hatching schemes to bed other people’s partners and to swindle one another out of dynastic fortunes. The Tao of the World is a bawdy, rollicking romp that blends the spirit of Restoration comedy with the style of a modern Asian rom-com. 

Gather by Julia Lederer and Julie RitcheyWhen their town goes into a deep freeze and everyone is stuck inside, people start to lose their connection to the world and to one another. Words vanish for a librarian, food loses taste for a chef, and a mail carrier has no mail to deliver. Two friends work to find each other again to rediscover their town, so that everyone they love will be able to gather again.  

Swan Girl by Kathleen McDonnellSwan Girl is based on the true story of disability activist Emily Eaton, whose battle to be allowed to go to school with non-disabled children went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The play is adapted from my non-fiction book Emily Included, published in 2011 by Second Story Press, Toronto. 

Homeroom by Rachel Mutombo – It’s the final year of high school for Nicole, Dre, Brady, Kate and Asha — and they are determined to make it the best year ever. Thrills about planning for prom and nerves about getting into the right universities come to a screeching halt when an incident of police brutality strikes a little too close to home, forcing these teenagers to reckon with some tough truths. A police investigation, a Black Lives Matter protest, and a secret threatens to tear this group of friends apart as they fight to find their voices and discover what friendship, love, and allyship really mean. 

Crypthand by Lily FalkCrypthand is a queer tragicomedy inspired by the diaries of Anne Lister, who used a secret code to write about her relationships with other women in the early 1800s. The play imagines her first relationship with her boarding school roommate, Eliza Raine. The piece explores what it takes to live a life in code, the complexities of queer history, and how we use myth to understand our own stories. 

Sinkhole or Six Ways to Disappear by Adjani PoirierA heatwave descends upon the city – school’s out for summer, and Benita can’t wait to finally relax. But when a large sinkhole opens up behind her apartment building and a beloved community member goes missing, it becomes clear that the universe has something else in store for her. Sinkhole is a theatrical exploration of the human subconscious, a story about the fear of disappearing, and the strength of a working-class community. 

A Poem For Rabia by Nikki ShaffeeullahA Poem for Rabia weaves together the stories of three women from the same bloodline, in three different lands impacted by colonization, in three different states undergoing major political shifts, across 200 years: Rabia, on an indentured labour ship departing Calcutta, India in 1853; Betty, in Guyana as it begins to undergo the messy process of decolonizing from Britain in 1953; and Zahra, a queer activist in Toronto in 2053, navigating a Canada that has just legally abolished prisons. 

Hammer and Chisel by  Soykian KarayolLefet and Rayet meet in a room where they are tasked with breaking rocks into smaller pieces. As they are trying to understand the purpose of their work, Lefet’s questioning begins to influence Rayet. Lefet eventually leads Rayet onto a dangerous bridge to a new life. Set in an eerily familiar world, Hammer and Chisel is about growing up, learning, working, resisting, and taking action. 

The Titty Play by Sydney-Paige ScottThe Titty Play is an autobiographical play written from the perspective of my titties as individual and sentient beings. This nonlinear coming-of-age play chronicles significant moments that center my titties and allow them to tell their own story. The play explores themes of sexuality, gender, heteronormativity, sexual assault, sexualization of young people with titties, and the journey of overcoming the recurring feeling that all I am are my titties. 

Koli Kari by Ganesh ThavaKoli Kari is Ravi’s story, an immigrant Tamil man on a journey of finding himself in between two cultures. After graduating from theatre school in Montreal, Ravi returns home to his conservative parents in Scarborough. Growing up, Ravi and his best friend Anika were influenced by western media, and their ideals of beauty, success, and happiness were always white. In a misguided attempt to shake off his brownness and embrace his secret queerness, Ravi leaves his family and falls for a Caucasian man, Mark. On his last day at home, Ravi’s usually reserved and quiet Amma opens up when cooking the traditional dish Koli Kari together. Amma shares what it means to be Tamil, what it means to be a diaspora, and what it means to live between the Tamil and Canadian identities. After moving out, Ravi soon realizes that as much as he tries to be like Mark and his family, he can never change the colour of his skin. 

NEW John Palmer Award Nominee Quotes

Louise Casemore

Nominated by Vern Thiessen: Her work punches you in the gut. Her collegiality and belief in long-term, cross-generational work is far too rare in artists of her age. She has committed herself to creating, studying, and advocating for a new kind of theatre community, tearing away the decades of baked-in competitive, racist, misogynist bullshit, and replacing it with a beautiful, risky offer of transformation. 

Santiago Guzmán

Nominated by Pamela Halstead: I was so impressed with Santiago’s ability and vision and how he was agitating against the status quoin St. John’s, I hired him in 2020 as PARC’s Artistic Associate with a focus on Diversity Initiatives. He implemented monthly Let’s Talk sessions for BIPOC artists, created Uno-a-Uno dramaturgical support for marginalized playwrights, and curated most of our professional development opportunities with an emphasis on showcasing and reaching racialized playwrights. It is literally changing the demographic and ecology of the organization, thus changing the work being developed and supported. He is holding organizations and artistic leaders accountable while nurturing collaboration, building bridges and creating opportunities. It is not an overstatement to say the work Santiago is doing through TODOS, PARC and other professional partnerships is changing the very shape of Atlantic Canadian Theatre. 

 Stephen Jackman-Torkoff

Nominated by Sunny Drake: “[…] In the spirit of this award, I’ll talk about Stephen’s short work, Magic, which they performed in a backyard this week in Stratford, underneath a magnificent magnolia. We are both in Stratford for my new comedy–in which Stephen is acting. Stephen invited company members, neighbours and locals–like the bakery cashier–to gather for a theatrical experience which reminded me why I became a theatre artist. With a zero-dollar production budget, Stephen pushed theatrical form: weaving story, poetry, movement and… THEMSELF into a hilarious and devastating piece about grief, growing the flower you want to see, and not waiting until it’s too late. Looking around the backyard audience, I saw: company members from marginalized groups–including Stratford’s largest ever collection of trans & non-binary artists–finding nourishment in this space carved out by Stephen-rapt neighbours absorbing every word, an older straight white woman laughing wildly then sobbing. Indeed, Stephen’s work reaches across generations, across class, race, gender and all the rest. And it is a testament to Stephen’s immense storytelling gift that they can take us on this provocative and heart-warming journey without lights or fancy sets/props.” 

Bra d’Or Award Nominee Bios & Descriptions

Nominated by Conni Massing I would like to nominate Tracy Carroll for the Bra d’Or award. An inspiring and insightful dramaturg as well as a talented theatre director, Tracy is now the co-artistic director of Edmonton’s Concrete Theatre. She has been the creative midwife on dozens of new plays, working closely with Albertan playwrights such as Nicole Moeller, Michele Vance Hehir, Katherine Koller, Beth Graham, Cat Walsh, and many others. I have also had the great privilege of collaborating with her on several creative projects. Tracy is truly brilliant at the art of the dramaturgical question, offering high quality critical feedback that enriches both the story and the storyteller. Tracy played a crucial role in the theatre component of Edmonton’s SkirtsAfire Festival, a multidisciplinary festival featuring women-identifying and non-binary artists. For several years she curated and directed workshops for Peep Show, the SkirtsAfire Festival program of new plays written by women. She was also the dramaturg for The Mommy Monologues, produced to great acclaim by SkirtsAfire Festival in 2017. Monologues commissioned by the festival from ten female playwrights were developed over a period of approximately 18 months and Tracy was there every step of the way. An active member of Edmonton’s theatre community for decades, working at the Citadel Theatre, Alberta Playwrights Network, Fringe Theatre Adventures, and Concrete Theatre, Tracy has also generously donated her time to many organizations and individuals. For several years she was one of the volunteer coordinators of Edmonton’s Script Salon, a joint project of the Alberta Playwrights Network and the Playwrights Guild of Canada, which has been developing plays and playwrights for nearly eight years. She’s also a skilled and generous teacher, working with writers of all ages through the Foote Theatre School, Workshop West Playwrights Theatre, Concordia University and Kompany Family Theatre. Tracy is a much-loved and highly respected member of the Alberta theatre community. Her contributions as a creative collaborator and a champion of women’s work deserve to be recognized and celebrated. 

Nominated by Sally Stubbs – “I got to know Beverley Cooper in 2009 when a group of playwrights hailing from across Canada travelled to Mumbai for the 9th Women Playwrights International Conference. Shortly after we were notified of our acceptance, the first of many messages from Bev landed in our inboxes. ‘How did we feel about taking a tour of the markets, visiting Elephanta Caves, and having a vegetarian cooking lesson in a woman’s home? … Yes, please!’ This was the beginning of some remarkable adventures and a united Canadian conference contingent. Our colleagues from around the world remarked again and again on the community that was the Canadian playwrights in Mumbai. Since then, many of us have been to Conferences in Stockholm, Cape Town, and Santiago. And for each, Bev has been both a conference planning force and our social convener. In the latter role, sometimes months in advance, she ensured we found the best places to stay and great things to do in our off time. We got used to Bev doing the organizing. All we had to do was send the money and show up. Thanks to her, we found ourselves on safari, on Robben Island, at a lodge in Chilean wine country, and on and on. Bev is more than adept at following through. It’s evident in her plays, inspired primarily by true events and exquisitely researched, e.g., the GG nominated Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott. She’s also a sharp and empathetic dramaturg and a passionate mentor. Bev is the driving force behind CASA which provides funds, time, and a place to write to CASA Award recipients. It also involves a mentorship program which pairs established Canadian and South African female/non-binary mentors (playwrights and director/producers) with recipients: mid-career South African female/non-binary playwrights. At the WPI Conference in Cape Town, we were dismayed to learn that our South African counterparts had little support. There was no equivalent to our arts councils. To get their work made, seen, and read, they had to self-produce and self-publish. We talked about how we might be able to help. When we got home, it was, of course, Bev who followed through. We followed her lead, and others gravitated to the project. For five years, Bev has been our CASA leader, establishing partnerships with South African organizations and individuals and bringing practical assistance to our South African colleagues. In turn, we have all benefitted. Playwrights have grown and achieved successes, strong international relationships have been built, and hearts have opened. We could write a 6-act play about all that Bev has accomplished with her writing and her advocacy. For starters, she single-handedly secured a private donor for CASA. She also works as a dramaturg and juror for Ergo Pink Fest, which ‘supports and develops the works of women and playwrights of marginalized gender identities … to help them take their work to the next level’. As well, Bev served as a key member of PGC’s Women’s Caucus Committee for five years (she stepped down this year, which makes this award nomination timely) and she tirelessly worked throughout the pandemic to help get one of our Zimbabwean playwriting sisters to Canada. Bev does all of this as a volunteer. She cares. She acts. We benefit.” 

Nominated by Zahida Rahemtulla – Heidi Taylor’s work over the last two decades has supported and shepherded the work of women-identifying creators across these lands. As an artistic director and dramaturg, she has been committed to shifting power structures to foreground the leadership of all under-represented genders – trans, non-binary and femme-identifying artists. As the Artistic and Executive Director of Vancouver’s Playwrights Theatre Centre (PTC) since 2012 and Company Dramaturg since 2005, Heidi has opened up spaces and championed many new works by femme, non-binary, and trans artists. She is currently dramaturg for Barbara Adler and Kyla Gardiner’s Mermaid Spring, an interdisciplinary piece based upon a site where women performed underwater shows. Through PTC’s Associates Program, Heidi is dramaturging Mercedes Batíz Bénet’s La Malinche, a play inspired by a controversial historical figure exploring what it means to be a Mexican woman today. Through the long-term partnership Heidi forged with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT), she dramaturged the initial drafts of The Wrong Bashir by Zahida Rahemtulla and A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to Canada by Grace Chin. Other recent dramaturgical collaborations include Inaudibility World by Catherine Joell MacKinnon, a piece that explores growing up as a Deaf woman, Anywhere but Here by Carmen Aguirre, a play about the costs of exile and the true nature of home, and Public and Private by Ziyian Kwan, a dance-theatre piece inspired by the ripple effects of the #metoo movement. The intersection of dance and theatre has also been a longstanding interest and area where Heidi has supported many femme-artists. She recently served as dramaturge for backyard solos by Alida Esmail and Sophia Wright, How to Say Goodbye by Amber Funk Barton, and am a by Mindy Parfitt and Amber Funk Barton. Heidi has held many leadership roles in other organizations, such as being former and founding president of LMDA Canada, taking part in the Equity in Theatre Steering Committee, and being former co-chair of the PACT Speculator Caucus. Her work alongside many equity-seeking groups over the course of her career earned Heidi the 2020 Jessie Richardson Vancouver NOW Representation and Inclusion award locally. Heidi’s vision and skill lies not only in bringing creators to the table, but also designing and pushing for inclusive, innovative, and collaborative models of creation that support them. Heidi’s dynamic leadership, advocacy, and uncompromising commitment to her values has added so much to the professional lives and broader milieu of women-identifying, trans, and non-binary theatre-makers in our national community. 

Nominated by Lisa Hagen This mother and daughter team saw a need for professional theatre in Cape Breton and founded Theatre Baddeck. Now in its award-winning, 8th successful year (minus an online year for Covid), the two co-artistic producers highlight the work of both female playwrights and directors. Many shows are female-centric, further supporting actresses, and often the crew is largely women. The theatre has become the top thing to doin Baddeck according to Trip Advisor, providing economic growth to their familial town. Of Theatre Baddeck’s nineteen shows to date, approximately nine have been written by women, and twelve shows have been directed by women. Not coincidentally, subject matter is often female-focused: two sisters reconciling, two elderly women escaping their retirement home, two Moms untangling their teenagers’ romantic life. All productions (bar two) were written by Canadians and support PGC members.

Chair & Jury Bios

CHAIR – Kanika Ambrose is a playwright, librettist, screenwriter, and Associate Artistic Director of Necessary Angel Theatre Company. As a playwright, her work has been presented at Toronto Fringe, Cahoots Theatre, Obsidian Theatre Company, and Rhubarb Festival to name a few. Her play our place will premiere at Theatre Passe Muraille this November. As a librettist, her works have been presented by Tapestry Opera, Curtis Institute of Music and Opera Philadelphia. She is developing a new opera, Of the Sea, with composer Ian Cusson, Tapestry Opera, and Obsidian Theatre Company. 

Chris Lam is director and actor working on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Director: Dogfight (Awkward Stage Productions), The Nether (Redcurrant Collective/Firehall Arts Centre), I, Myself and Strange and Unusual (Studio 58), Frankenstein: Lost in Darkness (Pacific Theatre). Actor: Marcellus in The Music Man (Gateway Theatre), Owen Meany in A Prayer for Owen Meany (Ensemble Theatre Company) and Quang in Vietgone (United Players) He is currently the associate artistic director of Ensemble Theatre Company, and founder of West Moon Theatre both based in Vancouver, BC. Awards: Ray Michal Award for Emerging Director, Ovation award CTC for direction.  Upcoming: Drewe and Stiles’ Three Little Pigs (Carousel Theatre). Follow him on IG and Twitter: @phildashil 

Josh Languedoc is a proud member of Saugeen First Nation and lives as a guest in Treaty 6 Territory as an Anishinaabe playwright, producer, storyteller, and teacher. Since 2018, Josh has been touring his solo performance Rocko and Nakota: Tales from the Land to theatres and festivals all across Turtle Island. Some of Josh’s other plays include Feast (University of Alberta, Fringe 2021), CIVIL BLOOD: A Treaty Story (Thou Art Here Theatre), The Eyes of Spirits (Rubaboo Festival, Native Earth Performing Arts, Citadel Theatre), and IN-COR-RI-GI-BLE: The Legend of Thundervoice (Blyth Festival, University of Alberta). Josh also teaches around the Edmonton area with the Citadel’s Foote Theatre School, Edmonton Public Schools, Artstrek, Northern Alberta YMCA, and runs the teen playwriting program #WritesOfPassage at Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre. Josh has most recently worked as the Director Indigenous Strategic Planning at Edmonton Fringe Theatre providing strategic planning guidance for the Indigenization of the company as well as curating the all-Indigenous pêhonân Series at the Festival. Josh is currently finishing his MFA in Theatre Practices at the University of Alberta where he will be the third Indigenous person in its history to graduate from the program. Catch Josh on tour around Turtle Island in the hit Indigenous parody musical Bear Grease where he plays the role of Sonny Boy. 

CHAIR – Avery-Jean Brennan (They/She) is an award-winning Transfeminine actor, director, music director, teacher, playwright, and producer who is dedicated to Trans-inclusive storytelling and community building through live performance. Recently, she completed a year as RBC Apprentice Artistic Director with The Musical Stage Company and was nominated for the Bra d’Or Award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada for their work advocating for Trans & Non-Binary artists in Canadian theatre. They have studied writing & creation under dramaturg Christopher Weddell, composer/ lyricist Leslie Arden, and through The Musical Stage Company’s NoteWorthy program. Avery-Jean’s first original musical, The Pansy Craze, was the recipient of Queer Theatre Toronto’s inaugural LGBTQ Fringe Award for pushing boundaries in representation for Queer and Trans characters in musical theatre. Other recent writing works include No Country for They/Thems, the book for Mind the Light with award-winning songwriter Gabrielle Papillon with support from Neptune Theatre, and an upcoming collaboration with Camila Diaz-Varela. Over the last 16 years, Avery-Jean has worked professionally in a variety of positions as a multi-hyphenate arts worker with organizations such as Neptune Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, Sheridan College, The Musical Stage Company, Tarragon Theatre, Bad Dog Comedy Theatre, Chemainus Theatre Festival, and more across Turtle Island. 

Lindsay Kyte is a playwright/performer originally from Reserve Mines, Cape Breton. She has a Masters of Acting from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in England (LIPA), where Sir Paul McCartney gave Kyte her degree. Kyte has performed on many stages and screens, and her play Tompkinsville won two Robert Merritt theatre awards after its two tours (“Outstanding Score” and “Best Production From a New or Emerging Theatre Company”). Tompkinsville has been declared “a classic — an important addition to the canon of Cape Breton theatre.” Kyte’s play Toronto Adventures has also been produced across the East Coast to sold-out audiences. Most recently, Rita MacNeil’s son chose Kyte to create Dear Rita, with Mike Ross, premiering at the main stage of the Charlottetown Festival in 2021, with Kyte a-singin’ her heart out with it. In 2022, Dear Rita came home, with its Cape Breton premiere at the Savoy Theatre, the start of many performances to come. Kyte has exciting new projects in development for 2023 as well! lindsaykyte.com. 

Amanda Trapp (she/they) is a Cree and Saulteaux/Austrian artist, member of the White Bear Band, who calls Saskatoon home. An actor and composer, selected credits include: The Invisible: Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Catalyst Theatre; It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Persephone Theatre; The Other Side of the River, Sum Theatre; exempt, Native Earth Performing Arts; Lady Macbeth and the Not Quite Dead, Musical TheatreWorks; The Penelopiad, Ferre Play Theatre (composer, SATA nominated). Amanda is a graduate of Sheridan College with an Honours Bachelor in Music Theatre Performance. 

CHAIR – Deb Williams is an award-winning actor, director, playwright, producer, and one of the co-creator/stars of the Mom’s the Word plays, enjoyed by 2 million people in nineteen countries. She has written other plays for TYA and adult audiences. Deb is the Artistic Producer of The Flame, Vancouver’s storytelling event, beginning its 14th season. For over a decade Deb has been a personal storytelling teacher, coach, facilitator and consultant, supporting nearly 1000 tellers of all ages, genders, sexual orientation, cultural identities, mental and physical abilities, as they find their voice and share entertaining and meaningful stories from their fascinating lives. Deb’s students are now also teaching her methodology to classes from seniors to school children, and in multiple languages. 

Amanda Cordner is a Toronto-based creator and performer. Within her company Madonnanera, Amanda and creative partner David di Giovanni developed and toured the award-winning solo show Body So Fluorescent (BSF) across North America. BSF will be a part of the Buddies in Bad Times’ upcoming season. Madonnanera’s second show, Wring the Roses, was featured in Why Not Theatre’s RISER Project in 2019 and will be presented at the High-Performance Rodeo in Calgary in 2023. In 2020, her company adapted Body So Fluorescent into a short film, which was presented at the Inside Out Film Festival and was awarded the Emerging Canadian Artist Award. TV credits include Sort Of, The Expanse, and Baroness von Sketch Show. 

Breton Lalama (he/they) is an internationally published writer and award winning multi-medium performer who has worked across North America. Currently acting in Queen Goneril and King Lear at Soulpepper; currently working on his plays, The Last Show on Earth! Trademark Symbol (Groundswell 2021; featured in Playwrights Canada Press’ upcoming 2SLGBTQIA+ Monologue Anthology) and The Entire Hamlet (ATP Playwrights Unit). A gift to get to read and experience all these playwrights’ worlds. IG: @bretonlikethecrackers 

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.

CHAIR – Franco Boni is a recognized cultural innovator, facilitator, and community builder with a demonstrated track record of restoring financial stability and artistic credibility for local art organizations and festivals for over two decades. He is currently the Executive and Program Director for The Regent Theatre, leading the design and restoration of a 600-seat theatre in Toronto’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. From 2003 – 2019 Franco served as Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre, leading the company in the restoration of a former Carnegie Library into its new performance venue on Queen Street West. Past positions include Artistic and Executive Director of The PuSh Festival in Vancouver, Festival Director of the Rhubarb Festival and Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Festival. Awards include the George Luscombe Award for mentorship, the inaugural Ken McDougall Award for emerging directors, and was the Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award, recognizing his outstanding leadership in the development of arts and culture in the City of Toronto. 

C.E. Gatchalian – Born and raised on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Waututh peoples (colonially known as “Vancouver”), and currently dividing his time between Vancouver and Tkaronto (“Toronto”), C.E. Gatchalian (he/him/his) is a queer Filipinx diasporic author, editor, playwright, dramaturge, teacher, and consultant of Tagalog, Ilocano, and Spanish ancestry. The author of six books and co-editor of two anthologies, he was the 2013 recipient of the Dayne Ogilvie Prize and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist. His plays have been produced nationally and internationally, as well as on radio and television. Formerly Artistic Producer of the frank theatre company, he is currently Community Engagement Producer for CultureBrew.Art. His memoir, Double Melancholy: Art, Beauty and the Making of a Brown Queer Man, was published in 2019 by Arsenal Pulp Press, and he is currently co-editing Magdaragat: An Anthology of Filipino-Canadian Writing, to be published by Cormorant Books in Spring 2023. Fun facts: he parents a handsome black feline named Loki, loves the very white music of ABBA, just recently learned to not use the word “bicoastal” to describe living in both Vancouver and Toronto, and is delving into the living Indigenous Filipino tradition of Babaylan. IG: @ce_gatchalian T: @CEGatchalian F: @CEGatchalian TikTok: @ce_gatchalian cegatchalian.com 

 Yvette Nolan is a playwright, director, dramaturg, and educator, born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to an Algonquin mother and an Irish immigrant father. She was the first ever Writer-in-Residence at Brandon University in 1996, where she wrote Annie Mae’s Movement. Her plays include BLADE, Job’s Wife, The Birds (a modern adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedy), The Unplugging (Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for Outstanding Original Script), Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show (co-writer), and the libretto Shanawdithit. From 2003-2011, she served as the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto. Her book Medicine Shows, about Indigenous performance in Canada, was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2015. View Yvette’s Playwright Legends Library interview: https://theatremuseum.ca/vimeo-tag/yvette-nolan/ 

Thank you to our major sponsor, The RBC Emerging Artists Project!

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