This year we launched Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT, a new project that offers Canadian playwrights and theatre creators a helping hand as they explore provocative social and political issues. Through this artist-driven initiative, our support is tailored to the individual creator’s needs, offering resources like work space, a writer’s fee, dramaturgy, actors for workshops or a public reading.
Our 2015 participants were
2015 Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT readings
November 14, 2015 • Jenna Harris’s So She Said
November 19, 2015 • Hannah Moscovitch’s Later I Can Tell You About Jesus
November 21, 2015 • Sean Devine’s Daisy
November 27, 2015 • Paul Dunn’s This Great City
Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT Partner
J.P. Bickell Foundation
by Jill Andrew
PhD candidate Jill Andrew, an award-winning columnist and public speaker, is often quoted by the media on body image and representation. Her doctoral work focuses on women’s and girls’ narratives of fatness, blackness or both embodiments and their everyday experiences. Jill’s body positivity projects have included BITE ME! Toronto Int’l Body Image Film & Arts Festival, FatintheCity a FATshion lifestyle blog, Curvy Catwalk Fashion Fundraiser, the annual Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCAs), her TEDx York U talk on Fat Shaming & the Thin Epidemic and her ongoing invitations to guest lecture at post secondary institutions both local and international. Jill sits on various advisory committees and boards of directors representing arts & culture, community social service, human rights and social justice sectors. She has performed in over five charitable productions of The Vagina Monologues and also has her BEd (Social Studies & Dramatic Arts I/S) OCT teacher qualifications. For more about Jill, visit bodyconfidencecanadaawards.com, fatinthecity.com and bitemefilmfest.com.
About the project:
“Fat in the City: Monologues of Corpulent Proportions (also referred to as The FAT Monologues) will bring 10 self-identified women’s body stories to life onstage. The project provides an opportunity for participants to artistically demonstrate how they feel/live/love/work/experience/etc. in a body that is or is self-perceived as FAT. FAT/FATness has predominantly been vilified, discriminated against and labelled negatively in our society — a society that is thin-centric and obsessed with ‘obesity epidemic’ rhetoric. My ensemble/participants do NOT need to be professional actors. All too often fat bodies are being talked about… it’s time to hear fat-identified people speak for themselves!”
by Kate Cayley
Kate Cayley is a playwright, poet and fiction writer. She has been a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre since 2009, and has written two plays for Tarragon, After Akhmatova and The Bakelite Masterpiece. She is the co-founder and artistic director of devised theatre company Stranger Theatre, and her work with Stranger has been performed in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City and Istanbul, Turkey. She was the co-founder and co-artistic director of The Cooking Fire Theatre Festival from 2004 to 2012. Kate’s 2013 debut collection of poetry, When This World Comes to an End, was named one of the season’s best collections by The Globe and Mail, and was a finalist for the ReLit Award. Her young adult novel, The Hangman in the Mirror, won the 2012 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, and her first collection of short fiction, How You Were Born, won the 2015 Trillium Book Award.
About the project:
“Student is a solo piece in which a young teacher ‘confesses’ to the audience her obsession with a damaged and violent young girl in her classroom, and the disastrous consequences for her own life and her fragile marriage. I am fascinated by the solo figure as a rambling, iconoclastic and frustrating everyman, and I am also fascinated by how often this ‘universal’ figure is male. I want to write a play in which the storyteller is a woman who also embodies ‘universal’ themes – love, guilt, isolation, the ambiguity and humiliation of a physical body, desire and fear. Student is about a wildly inappropriate connection between a teacher and a student, and the unraveling of a marriage, while also unpicking some of the mythologies we cling to about our own institutions.”
by Sean Devine
Sean Devine is a playwright and theatre maker, as well as co-founder and artistic director of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre, a small company based out of Ottawa and Vancouver. More recently, Sean is also the federal candidate for the NDP in his home riding of Nepean. Sean’s first play, Re:Union, premiered in Vancouver in 2011, was published in 2013, and was presented by the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Ottawa in 2015. Sean’s second play, Except in the Unlikely Event of War, premiered in Vancouver in 2013. Sean’s newest work, Daisy, was commissioned by NYC’s Ensemble Studio Theatre, will have its world premiere at Seattle’s ACT Theatre in June 2016, and is under consideration for its Canadian premiere at Ottawa’s GCTC, where Sean is currently a playwright-in-residence. Sean was also commissioned by the University of Lethbridge’s Fiction at Fifty program to write a new piece called Kiev/Alberta.
About the project:
“It’s the Fall of 1964. Bloody turmoil over Civil Rights is spilling onto the streets. A fearful ideology is growing from the conservative right. The threat of nuclear war is palpable. And a little skirmish in the far-off nation of Vietnam just won’t go away. With a Presidential election looming, a group of advertising men working for Lyndon Johnson unleash the most devastating political commercial ever conceived, the ‘Daisy ad’… Based on true events, Daisy explores a moment in television history that forever changed how we elect our leaders. It’s the story of the ad that terrified a nation, and the national betrayal that was the result. War was the objective. Peace was the bait. Everyone got duped.”
by Paul Dunn
Paul is a playwright, actor and instructor. In 2007 & 2008, Studio 180 produced his play Offensive Shadows (NOW Magazine Audience Choice Award winner, SummerWorks 2007). His other plays include Outside (Dora Award nomination for Outstanding New Play – TYA), The Gay Heritage Project (co-author, Dora Award nomination for Outstanding New Play), Memorial (Herman Voaden Honourable Mention), Dalton and Company and BOYS. His play High-Gravel-Blind was the first play produced at the Stratford Festival’s Studio Theatre when it opened in 2002. As an actor, Paul has spent seven seasons at the Stratford Festival, and worked with Buddies in Bad Times, the Thousand Islands Playhouse, Driftwood, The Grand, Tarragon, Canadian Stage, YPT, NAC, MTC, the Citadel and TNB, as well as in television, radio and film. He has been a guest instructor at the National Theatre School in the Acting Program, and he is a graduate of the Theatre Arts Program at Grant MacEwan College and the Acting Program at the National Theatre School. Paul is currently Studio 180’s Playwright in Residence.
About the project:
“In This Great City, something terrible is happening. Daily, the news is filled with the scandals, criminal associations and bigotry of the city’s right-wing Mayor. Not only is there no way to remove him from office, but all signs point to his re-election for another term. Within City Hall, all semblance of reasonable discourse and progress has vanished. Another four years and the damage could be irreparable, to the city at large and to the hearts and minds of its citizens. We meet a small group of left-wing activists who decide to take matters into their own hands. They agree to play dirty in order to rid the city of its problem Mayor once and for all. But will that cure the city? And the angry voices that he has awakened and encouraged… will those just go away? How far are we willing to go, when we think we know what’s best for other people? I’m creating a fantasy of liberal extremism and a meditation on urban rage, told in direct address, flashbacks and three-part harmony.”
by Jenna Harris
Jenna is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Theatre Conservatory Program in New York City. She is an actor, writer/creator, arts educator and dancer, and is the Founder and Artistic Producer of Discord and Din Theatre. As an actor, Jenna has worked in both the United States and Canada, with such companies as b’current, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille. Jenna has written everything from radio shows to animated shorts, webseries to feature films, site-specific work to full-length plays, and is also the Editor-in-Chief of City Voices: A Book of Monologues by Toronto Artists. Most recently, her play Mine was selected as a finalist for the 2014 Safe Words New Canadian Play Competition and, in January 2015, was part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival. Jenna holds an Honours B.A. in Anthropology and International Development from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is a member of Tarragon Theatre’s current Playwrights Unit, and is Studio 180’s Director of Production.
About the project:
“For as long as I can remember, my grandmother has always been vocal about her opinions and willing to go to bat for them. I remember the exact moment when I realized that my grandmother liked to debate. Over the past number of years, her need to vocalize her opinions has been steadily increasing; from issues surrounding death and dying to gay marriage, from Israeli politics to municipal politics, my grandmother has written letters to newspapers, phoned into CBC radio shows, spoken up to Rabbis, joined activist groups and even had articles written about her… Recently, my dad wondered aloud if she, whether conscious of it or not, is trying to say all that she has to say before she dies. So She Said will be a full-length fictional play inspired by my relationship with my grandmother and the concept of legacy – what we leave behind in this world, and that which is passed down generation to generation through our familial genes, that which shapes who we are, what we say and how we interact with our world.”
by Hannah Moscovitch
Hannah Moscovitch is a Toronto based playwright who has risen to national prominence in the last few years. She has been dubbed “an indie sensation” by Toronto Life magazine; “the wunderkind of Canadian theatre” by CBC Radio; and “the dark angel of Toronto theatre” by Toronto Star. Hannah’s writing for the stage includes East of Berlin, This Is War, Little One, infinity, What a Young Wife Ought to Know, The Russian Play and In This World (for teenage audiences). Hannah’s plays have been produced across the country, from coast to coast, as well as in the United States, Japan, Britain and Australia. In 2014, Hannah became the first playwright to win the Trillium Book Award. She’s won the Toronto Critic’s Award for Best New Canadian Play, Toronto’s Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play and the SummerWorks Performance Festival Prize for Production. She’s been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the Siminovitch Prize and the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Hannah has been a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre since 2007.
About the project:
“Loosely inspired by a story close to home, the play explores how the tension between freedom and culture can turn violent. The story is a domestic tragedy: a headstrong, rowdy girl and her traditional father battle it out in Toronto’s West End.”