Press Release | Playwrights arrive for Stratford Festival’s sixth annual Playwrights Retreat

September 9, 2013… The Stratford Festival’s sixth annual Playwrights Retreat begins today and runs through September 29. The Festival is delighted to welcome eight Canadian playwrights this year: Keith Barker, Trina Davies, Erin Fleck, Amiel Gladstone, Don Hannah, Amy Lee Lavoie, Tracey Power and Bobby Theodore.

The Playwrights Retreat offers support to Canadian artists through writing residencies that give them time to work on writing projects of their own choosing away from the distractions of everyday life. Since its establishment in 2008, 74 playwrights have participated in the Retreat and individual residency programs. Several attending playwrights’ work has been produced by the Festival including John Murrell’s Taking Shakespeare, Judith Thompson’s The Thrill and Daniel MacIvor’s Best Brothers. The 2014 season will feature two past Retreat participants: Michel Marc Bouchard and Linda Gabouriau who wrote and translated Christina, The Girl King respectively.

“A vital part of our programming is the inclusion of new plays from contemporary theatre’s most distinguished playwrights that can sit alongside and complement our classical offerings,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Before a new play can make its debut on stage, however, it requires endless attention. The Playwrights Retreat provides the conditions for new work to thrive and for writers to immerse themselves in their creative process. I am thrilled to host such illustrious playwrights in a program that expands the opportunities Stratford offers Canadian artists.”

Participants are given a stipend and provided with housing, transportation to and from Stratford and a workspace at the theatre for the duration of the retreat. They attend Festival productions and are given the opportunity to meet Festival artists and staff. The Playwrights Retreat is hosted by Bob White, the Festival’s Director of New Plays.

“The presence of playwrights is central to the vitality of any theatre company,” says Mr. White. “They serve as constant reminders that theatre is a live, breathing, human-made activity and that tomorrow’s classics must be nurtured today to ensure the health of our institutions in the years to come”

2013 PLAYWRIGHT BIOGRAPHIES

Keith Barker is a Métis artist from Northwestern Ontario.  A graduate of the George Brown Theatre School, he was the Playwright in Residence for Native Earth Performing Arts in 2012. His play The Hours That Remain was recently nominated for five Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards including Best New Play, and Best New Production. The Hours That Remain is published through Playwrights Canada Press. His most recent play, This Is How We Got To Here received its first public reading at Stratford’s own Spring Works Festival. Currently Keith is hard at work writing his wedding vows for his upcoming wedding to the lovely and beautiful Catherine Butler. He will be premiering this new piece in front of friends and family on October 14, 2013.

Trina Davies is a Vancouver-based writer. Her award-winning plays include Multi User Dungeon, Shatter, The Auction and Waxworks. Her plays have been read and/or performed across Canada, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and every province in-between. Her last play, The Romeo Initiative, was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Drama 2012. She is currently a member of the Alberta Playwrights Network, the Playwrights Theatre Centre and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. For more information on Trina and her work, check out: www.trinadavies.com.

Erin Fleck is a graduate of York University’s Theatre program in Toronto as a member of the Creative Ensemble, with a focus in collective creation, performance and playwriting. Erin has written and performed her original work in Victoria B.C. with Intrepid Theatre’s UNO Fest, in Toronto with Theatre Passe Muraille (Those Who Can’t Do…), Mixed Company Theatre (Plastico: The Green Show), Theatre Passe Muraille’s BUZZ Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s HYSTERIA Festival (Tinker, Those Who Can’t Do…), the Toronto FRINGE! Festival (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Abortion), and the Tarragon Spring Arts Fair (Connect Four). As a playwright, Erin is an alumna of Factory Theatre’s Natural Resources, Theatre Passe Muraille’s Upstarts, TheatreKairos’ Writer’s Circle and Nightwood Theatre’s Write from the Hip program.

Amiel Gladstone is a West Coast writer whose plays have been produced by Alberta Theatre Projects, the Belfry Theatre, Touchstone Theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre, the National Arts Centre, Rumble Productions, Solo Collective, and Theatre SKAM. His plays have been done in the U.S., France and Romania.  A collection of his work, Hippies and Bolsheviks and other plays, was published by Coach House Books. He is also a director at Arts Club, Vancouver Playhouse, Vancouver Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Theatre Replacement, Theatre Conspiracy, Acting Up Stage, Factory Theatre and others.

Don Hannah is an award winning playwright and novelist. His pair of one person shows, The Cave Painter & The Woodcutter, were recently published by Playwrights Canada Press, and The Cave Painter received the 2012 Carol Bolt Award. He was the inaugural Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta where he wrote While We’re Young, which has been produced across the country. He has also had residencies at Tarragon Theatre, Canadian Stage, UBC’s Green College, UNB, the Yukon Public Library, and is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony. He has worked as a dramaturge at Playwrights Theatre Centre, the Banff Playwrights Colony, and Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre, of which he is a founding member. His books include Shoreline, a collection of his plays, and the novels, The Wise and Foolish Virgins, and Ragged Islands, both published by Knopf. Ragged Islands was awarded the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award.

Amy Lee Lavoie Recent Theatre Credits: Stopheart (Factory Theatre); Rabbit Rabbit (Infinitheatre); Rabbit Rabbit, Me Happy (SummerWorks); Tuning Venus (Montreal Fringe). Upcoming: Memento Mori is currently in development through the Tarragon Playwriting Unit. Amy Lee is a contributing writer for Ronnie Burkett’s latest project, The Daisy Theatre. Other: Rabbit Rabbit received two MECCA’S for Best text and the Revelation Award. Tuning Venus was the Best Text award recipient at the Montreal Fringe sponsored by Chapters. Amy Lee was a Canada Council Playwright-in-Residence at The Factory theatre in 2011-12 and was part of their Natural Resources Creation Group. Amy Lee has since participated in Cahoots Playwright’s Hothouse with her play Pacific and the Citadel Playwriting Forum developing her latest piece, Red Engine 5. Amy Lee is a graduate of the Playwriting Program at the National Theatre School of Canada. @amyleelavoie.

Tracey Power is an actor, playwright, choreographer and director. Tracey recently conceived, directed and choreographed Chelsea Hotel, featuring the songs of Leonard Cohen for The Firehall Arts Centre. As an actor credits include: UBUNTU The Cape Town Project (WCT, Theatre Calgary, TheatreFront), La Cage Aux Folles (Vancouver Playhouse), Blackbird (Citadel Theatre), Urinetown and The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (The Firehall), The Back Kitchen (Arts Club), The One That Got Away (Electric Co.), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry V (River City Shakespeare Festival). As a playwright her produced plays include The Great Mountain, Back to You, a bilingual play Garage Alec, The Big Sneeze, Living Shadows; A Story of Mary Pickford and an adaptation of The Jungle Book. Tracey has been the recipient of the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes and Jessie Richardson Awards for her work.

Bobby Theodore is a screenwriter, playwright, and translator.  Since completing the Canadian Film Centre’s TV Residency Program, Bobby’s worked on several TV shows, including Murdoch Mysteries, Cra$h & Burn, and Flashpoint. He’s also written episodes of the acclaimed CBC radio drama, Afghanada and webseries for The Listener and Played. A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, Bobby was nominated for a Governor General Award in 1999 for his translation of 15 Seconds by Francois Archambault. He has now translated over 20 plays from French to English and in March 2014, Bobby’s translation of Francois Archambault’s latest play, You Will Remember Me, premieres at Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary. Bobby also co-created 300 Tapes, a devised performance that premiered in 2011 at ATP and more recently, he wrote Swallow, a play set in the drama-filled world of minor hockey. Bobby never refuses a dinner invitation and he shoots right.

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