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Workshop: Playwrights Unit

Paprika Theatre Festival
September 21, 2022
Job Type
$600 honorarium



The 22/23 Playwrights Unit focuses on the process of developing a script for the stage, and building a career as a playwright. We ask that playwrights bring us a project they are passionate about, whether it is a clearly outlined idea for a play, a full-length draft ready to be workshopped, or anything in between. Paprika accepts playwrights at all stages, from first-time playwrights to already-produced! Three participants will learn about: character development, scene structure, creating honest dialogue and sustaining tension in writing, along with administrative skills — including grant writing, crafting playwright resumes, and how to pitch your project to a theatre. Many playwrights have gone on to have their scripts staged as full productions at Paprika and beyond as a result of the development support they received in this program.

We encourage new artists and artists located in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) in the first few years of their practice to apply. The Playwrights Unit public readings will be performed in person at the Paprika Festival May 2023.

* Indigenous artists who are interested in participating in the Indigenous Arts Program along with Playwrights Unit will receive full support through both programs, and will have the option to return for a second year of project development through IAP. You will only need to submit one application – please check the box to let us know you are interested in IAP when applying.

If you have any questions about the Indigenous Arts Program, please feel free to email Cheyenne Scott, the Community Programming Producer at

Playwrights Unit Facilitator 2022/23


Bilal Baig (they/them) is a queer, trans-feminine, Muslim playwright, performer and workshop facilitator. Bilal’s first play, Acha Bacha, had its world premiere in 2018 and was recently named a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ2S+ Emerging Writers. Bilal is a core team member at community-based organizations such as Story Planet and Paprika Festival, where they develop and facilitate workshops for youth in under-resourced neighbourhoods in Toronto focused on creative writing and literacy (Story Planet), and oversee the playwrights unit for young writers (Paprika). Bilal is the co-creator and lead of the Peabody Award-winning television series Sort Of.

Training Days + Company-Wide Meetings

All Paprika participants gather for four company-wide Training Days, with workshop topics ranging from accessibility design, to how to plan your festival tech, and building a career in the arts. These workshops are held online and in-person, and are a chance for participants to meet and work with one another (and find future collaborators!).

We gather as a festival for a Company-wide Orientation in the fall, a Technical Theatre Workshop in the spring, and a Post-Festival Debrief just after closing.


  • Attend four program-wide Training Days, a Company Meet & Greet, and Post-Festival Company Meeting (November 20, December 4, January 22, February 12, March 12, May 22)
  • Attend bimonthly group meetings on Saturday mornings online from 10AM-1PM ET and regularly scheduled 1-on-1 meetings with program facilitator between December 2022  – May 2023
  • Attend agreed-upon meetings with professional mentor
  • Create promotional materials for your project, including a show description and image
  • Attend an in-person workshop for your play with professional actors April 29-30, 2023 (Time TBC)
  • Attend a Technical Theatre Workshop with your Creators Unit collaborators (Date TBC)
  • Must be available during Festival Tech Week (May 8 – 14, 2023) and for Festival Performances (May 15 – 22, 2023)

Support You Receive

  • $600 honorarium
  • 5 hours with professional mentor
  • A development workshop with professional actors
  • A 30 minute public staged reading with professional actors, including Tech + Performance time in a professional theatre venue
  • Promotion of your project on Paprika’s social media and marketing materials
  • A section in the Festival Program and a professional headshot
  • The support of a Venue Technician, Production Manager, Lighting Designer, Assistant Festival Stage Manager, as well as Box Office, Front of House, and Festival Staff
  • Checking in with you regularly throughout your process
  • Professional archival photography and videography of your Festival presentation
  • Access to free tickets to theatre productions across the city (and beyond!)


Toronto + Online

COVID-19 Considerations

The health and safety of participants, facilitators, and staff is our greatest priority. All Paprika participants, staff, facilitators and guest artists are required to present valid proof of full vaccination, and must have received an additional dose/booster within the last 6 months as recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada before attending any in-person events. Masks will be worn by all attendees for all in-person program activities and rehearsals.


Paprika seeks to lower barriers for all its programs. This year, we are offering transportation support when requested, food and snacks at program events, as well as a $600 participant honorarium.

Indigenous Arts Program group meetings are held in a venue fully accessible to folks using mobility devices. Group meetings can be recorded and shared internally to accommodate schedule conflicts and emergencies.

The Paprika Festival tech and performances will take place at Native Earth Performing Arts’ Aki Studio, which is fully accessible for artists and audiences.

Company-wide Training Days take place in venues accessible to folks using mobility devices, with the exception of the Men’s Washrooms.

Paprika advocates for gender inclusive washrooms, and will negotiate for gender inclusive washroom signage whenever possible. We use and respect people’s pronouns. Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, LGBTQ2SIA+, Women, Trans, Non-Binary, Newcomer, Immigrant, Fat, Mad and Neurodiverse people are welcome.

Internet and a smartphone, tablet and/or computer are required for participation in Paprika’s programs. Our programs are not accessible to Deaf or Blind artists at this time.


Deadline to apply is October 3, 2022 at 11:59PM EST

Only registered members can apply for jobs.
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