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What It Means To Reimagine Theatre

What It Means to Reimagine Theatre

Meet Our Members is a blog series cataloguing the breadth and diversity of artistic practice across our membership. Would you like to tell us about your company’s practice and what drives your creative vision? Contact Zachary Moull for details.

Playwrights Theatre Centre
By Belinda Bruce, Communications Manager

As we write this, PTC has just wrapped WrightSpace – our annual ten-day residency that provides emerging and established playwrights from across Canada the opportunity to focus on their work by connecting them with one another and allowing them the space to dive deeply into the writing process with actors and dramaturgs. This intensive program is a great window into the work we do.

Each year WrightSpace has a different focus. Last year we brought in Indigenous artists from four different nations in Western Canada with our guest dramaturg, Lindsay Lachance (Algonquin Anishinaabe). The year before we worked on inclusive design, collaborating with four artists with a lived experience of disability. This year we highlighted individual process design. We collaborated with four local theatre makers – Tai Amy Grauman, Robert Hamilton, Yvonne Wallace and Barbara Adler – and documented the unique development processes of their plays, with the assistance of our Dramaturgy Research Associate mia susan amir and Community Engaged Producing Intern Jess Amy Shead.

Playwright Tai Amy Grauman, Dramaturg Kathleen Flaherty (PTC) and actor Joel Montgrand. Photo by Belinda Bruce.

By focusing on my process needs instead of a particular product, the residency equipped me with a range of new ideas, perspectives and skills

Tai Amy Grauman’s play You Used to Call Me Marie moves a mythical/historical/fictional couple through history, as they live, love, and carry forward their cultural knowledge. One week in, following readings and thoughtful discussions with the actors, a puppet designer and dramaturg Kathleen Flaherty, of the themes, scenes and worlds in her work, Tai came back with twenty pages of new text. At the end of the ten days, she said: “I’m so thankful for my incredible team at Wrightspace and all the amazing conversations we’ve had throughout this residency.”

Barbara Adler’s piece explores the territory between poetry, performance and theatre through the figure of the Koiker, the Dutch word for Decoy Man, the one who lays the trap. After working with actors, projections and an interactive installation, Barbara said: “By focusing on my process needs instead of a particular product, the residency equipped me with a range of new ideas, perspectives and skills that were incredibly generative for Koiker. I was able to make material for my project that represents significant steps forward for me. But the real generosity of this residency was that it gave me what I needed in a much bigger sense, by offering insights into my own practice and helping me envision future directions.”

Portrait of mia susan amir from the workshop installation for Barbara Adler’s Koiker. Photo by Kellen Jackson.

We’re proud to work with artists who are changing the way we think about theatre and about the world. Through all of our programs and collaborations, we invest in playwrights with unique theatrical visions, providing them with the time, space and resources to reimagine theatre.

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