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A workshop by Rachel Ditor for playwrights, directors, dramaturges, and any other theatre artist interested in collaboration with playwrights.

October 27th, 2018

11am – 2pm

St. Matthew’s Clubhouse
450 Broadview Avenue
Toronto, ON M4K 2N3


This workshop is free and open for registration to PGC members and non-members.


In play development of a script based work most theatre practitioners have got on board with the idea that the playwright is the Centre of the Universe and our focus revolves around giving the writer the support they need to get to the next draft.

But on the journey from play development to opening night of a premiere  production the role of the playwright shifts, from Centre of the Universe to…?

As exciting as premiere productions are, the lack of a shared vision about the role of the playwright in the rehearsal process of their premiere can lead any to artist in the room to feeling unsupported in their work and uncertain about how to participate.

In this workshop we’ll work together and in groups to create a list of shared expectations about the role of the writer in a premiere production.  To help us have a more global view of the dynamics of the rehearsal hall I’ve asked playwright/ Cahoots AD Marjorie Chan, and actor/director/Obsidian AD Philip Akin, to join us.

This workshop is for any theatre artist who wants to tackle the thorny issue of how we can turn the corner out of workshops and into production with more confidence and creativity and grace.  Come prepared to share experiences and together we’ll work towards a manifesto for the future role of the Canadian playwright in a premiere production.

Rachel Ditor has been a freelance dramaturg and director in new play development for companies across Canada since 1992.  Including work with: Playwrights Workshop Montreal, the National Arts Centre, Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre, Playwrights Theatre Centre, Electric Company, Theatre Replacement, Ruby Slippers, Gateway Theatre, a faculty dramaturg for the Banff PlayRites Colony, the resident dramaturg for Touchstone Theatre and Rumble Theatre.

For 17 years Rachel was the literary manager and dramaturg at the Arts Club Theatre (ACT) in Vancouver.  Under her guidance the company developed and produced 39 new plays. There she also launched the LEAP teen playwriting program, the Silver Commissions program, UBC/ACT theatre production student internships, the Play Club discussion group, and the annual ReAct public reading series of plays in development.   ACT dramaturgy highlights include: The Piano Teacher by Dorothy Dittrick, Onegin by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille, Thanks For Giving by Kevin Loring,  Poster Boys by Michele Riml, Helen Lawrence by Stan Douglas and Chris Haddock,  The Unplugging by Yvette Nolan, Tear the Curtain! by Kevin Kerr and Jonathon Young with Kim Collier, Paradise Garden by Lucia Frangione, The Patron Saint of Stanley Park by Hiro Kanagawa, How Has My Love Affected You? by Marcus Youssef, My Turquoise Years by Marion (MAC) Farrant, Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock, and The Men in White and The Matka King by Anosh Irani.

Currently Rachel teaches playwriting for the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria.  Prior to that she taught dramaturgy at UBC for 15 years and has been a guest lecturer in theatre at McGill University, Concordia University, University of Lethbridge, Emily Carr, and Simon Fraser University.

In 2013 Rachel was awarded the Bra D’Or from the Playwrights Guild of Canada for her work supporting women playwrights.  She has twice been a juror for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre and has served on numerous juries and panels speaking about the strength and vision of Canadian theatre artists.


Philip Akin has been acting and directing for over 40 years. In 2000, he was a founding member of Obsidian Theatre, Canada’s leading black theatre company, and has served as its Artistic Director since 2006. In this role, he has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities and guidance for emerging artists. In 2002, he was part of the team that launched the Obsidian Mentor/Apprentice Program, a one-of-a-kind program that has so far helped 61 black artists embark on exciting careers as directors, dramaturges, producers, production managers, lighting, set and costume designers with some of the most established performing arts companies nationwide.

His directing credits include Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize winning Ruined (Obsidian & Nightwood), Wilberforce Hotel (Blyth Festival), Whipping Man and Driving Miss Daisy (Harold Green Jewish Theatre),Topdog UnderdogThe Mountaintop and “Master Harold”…and the Boys (Shaw Festival), Toronto the Good & El Paso (Factory Theatre),  Intimate Apparel (Citadel Theatre, Canadian Stage, Obsidian Theatre), and Black MedeaBorn Ready and Pusha Man (Obsidian Theatre).

He is currently the Vice-President of the Board for the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre and has served on juries for Theatre Ontario, OAC, Canada Council for the Arts.


Marjorie Chan is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist based in Toronto. She made her Cahoots debut in 1998, performing in Noran Bang: The Yellow Room by M.J. Kang, and was Associate Artistic Director from 2006 – 2010. Her own plays produced and supported by Cahoots are Spring Arrivala nanking winter, and The Madness of the Square. As a writer, her works have been performed in the United States, Scotland, Hong Kong, Russia and across Canada. She has been artist-in-residence with Tapestry New Opera, Cahoots Theatre, Factory Theatre (with Njo Kong-kie), Theatre Centre (with the 6th Man Collective), Theatre Direct Canada, SUNY (Geneseo, New York), Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong) and the Banff Playwrights’ Colony. A 7-time nominee, Marjorie is the recipient of four Dora Awards, one as an actor, and three as a librettist. She has also received the K.M. Hunter Artist’s Award in Theatre for the breadth of her work, as well as a Harold Award for her community contribution to the theatre industry in Toronto. Other notable nominations include the John Hirsch Directing Prize, Governor General’s Literary Award for her playwriting debut, China Doll and the Canadian Citizen Award for her work with Crossing Gibraltar – a theatre program for marginalized communities. Most recently, she was awarded the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in Professional Theatre. Marjorie has been Artistic Director since 2013, with a focus on new play development, mentorship and accessibility. (Pronouns: She/Her)


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