2020/21 Season



Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT gives Canadian theatre creators a helping hand as they develop new works exploring provocative social and political issues. We provide creators the time, space and support required to bring burgeoning ideas to the stage.

All readings will take place online for the 2020/21 Season. Admission to public readings is free.

Yolanda BonnellAli Joy RichardsonSam Khalilieh • Rachel Mutombo Jonathan Wilson

Public Readings

Each reading date will be announced prior to the reading! Check back for more details.

Learn More: Our 2020/21 Season • Student Bookings • Past Years of IN DEVELOPMENT

Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT Partner

The Estate of J. Douglas McCullough


2020/21 projects

My Sister’s Rage

by Yolanda Bonnell

Yolanda Bonnell (She/Her) is a Queer 2 Spirit Anishinaabe-Ojibwe & South Asian, european mixed performer, playwright and multidisciplinary creator/educator. Originally from Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, Ontario (Superior Robinson Treaty territory), her arts practice is now based in Tkarón:to. In 2016, Yolanda and Michif (Métis) artist Cole Alvis began manidoons collective; a circle of artists creating Indigenous performance. In February 2020, Yolanda’s four-time Dora nominated solo show bug was remounted at Theatre Passe Muraille. She was also a part of Factory Theatre’s The Foundry, a creation program for new career writers, where her play, Scanner continues to be developed towards production. In 2018, Yolanda was invited to be part of the Banff Playwright’s Lab with her piece, White Girls in Moccasins, which is now in residency at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. She was also named one of NOW Magazine’s 15 stage artists to watch with Natasha Greenblatt, who she co-wrote The Election, which premiered at Theatre Passe Muraille co-produced by Common Boots Theatre in association with Nightwood Theatre in October 2019. Yolanda proudly bases her practice in land-based creation, drawing on energy and inspiration from the earth and her ancestors. 

About the project:

We come from a long line of m’iingan kwe”

With their Matriarch on her way to the spirit world, a family comes together on their reservation and in the hospital to be with her. A story about grief, love, laughter, rage and the brilliant strength of Indigenous women and their families, fighting to be seen and fumbling towards their healing.

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by Ali Joy Richardson

Ali Joy Richardson (she/her) is a writer and director in Tkaronto (Toronto), originally from Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia). She’s a past member of Nightwood Theatre’s Write From the Hip playwriting unit, has been an RBC Director in Development with Canadian Stage, and an RBC Apprentice Director with the Musical Stage Company. Her play A Bear Awake in Winter was recently published by Scirocco Drama. She’s the book-writer and director of One Deep Breath (Education Arts Canada), a trilogy of musicals about mental health for preteens which has toured to over 50,000 students since 2017. She was Artistic Producer of Toronto’s Paprika Festival from 2017-2019 (which provides professional mentorship and showcasing to young artists). Her current projects include: two solo plays (The Woman in the Wall, about a medieval female mystic, and Mall Santa, about a mall Santa) and developing Believers, a new musical about a Catholic youth group with composer/co-lyricist Kevin Wong. Ali has been an instructor and guest director at Sheridan College, Randolph College, and George Brown College. www.alijoyrichardson.com

About the project:

Roy, a revered theatre school teacher, falls from grace after his behaviour with a student comes to light. Mark, his past student (now colleague), has to make him understand. Vic, Roy’s daughter, desperately needs her Dad to do the right thing. Nobody’s giving up without a fight.  

Dad asks us: What does true atonement look like? What comes after the fall? And can we ever learn the hardest things?

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by Sam Khalilieh

Sam Khalilieh is an award-winning performer, who is now a writer. His first play, Palestineman, was originally developed as an unacknowledged self-loathing simmering just sitting in him quiet or loud it didn’t matter it was there, anyhow. It was then work-shopped at the Toronto Fringe Festival where Sam said; “I liked doing that”. It was because of the experience at the Fringe Sam began working with Studio 180. After last years in development at Buddies, Palestineman is now a fully realized 1st Draft.

Palestineman received an IN DEVELOPMENT reading in Fall 2019.

About the project:

Inspired by his work with Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT last season, Sam Khalilieh’s Palestineman returns in a wildly different form. Transitioning from an intimate solo show to an unpredictable 2 and ½ hander that’s part romantic comedy and part confessional, Palestineman ruthlessly examines the symbols and details that shape how immigrants and visible minorities “become Canadian”.

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by Rachel Mutombo

Rachel Mutombo is a Dora award-winning actor, and writer. She is an acting graduate
of John Abbott College’s Professional Theatre program as well as the National Theatre School of Canada. Some recent theatre performance credits include Antigone (Young People’s Theatre), School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian Theatre/Nightwood Theatre) and Selfie (YPT). Rachel is a member of the current emerging playwright’s unit at Factory Theatre, where she is actively developing a piece called Vierge. She is simultaneously developing another piece, called Better, through Nightwood Theatre’s Write From the Hip program. She is incredibly grateful to Studio 180, and all the theatre companies, who have supported her thus far in this new journey into playwriting.

About the project:

Isabelle and Jamal’s father was incarcerated for a violent crime. Though they’ve lived the majority of their lives without him, the stain of his actions has been on their lives ever since. Years of resentment and pain threaten to disrupt their lives when they learn of his impending release from prison. Despite the urge to continue to sweep it all under the rug, this pair of siblings is forced to come face to face with their complicated feelings and shared family trauma. 

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A Public Display of Affection

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson is an award winning playwright and actor whose plays include My Own Private Oshawa (Dora, Chalmer’s and Governor General’s Award Nominee), His play Well was produced as part of his tenure as Playwright in residence at The Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. Tarragon also produced the premiere of his play Kilt, (Dora and Drama Desk nominee). Other productions of Kilt include Off Broadway in New York City, Belfry Theatre in Victoria, B.C., Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Bluewater Festival in Kincardine Ontario, Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa and Prairie Theatre Exchange in Calgary. His play My Own Private Oshawa was filmed as a CTV Comedy Special (Gemini Nominee). Jonathan also worked as actor/writer/improviser/ with The Second City Toronto for seven productions (Dora Nominee). Other stage appearances include starring as Ned Weeks in The Normal Heart (Studio 180), My Night With Reg (Studio 180), Timon in The Lion King (Mirvish/Disney, Dora Award Winner, Best featured Actor in a Musical), Comedy Of Errors (Neptune) and The Clockmaker (1000 Islands Playhouse). Jonathan is also part of the long form improvisational group Not To Be Repeated that has performed theatrical runs at the Tarragon Theatre and was the basis for a comedy series on The Comedy Network.

A Public Display of Affection received an IN DEVELOPMENT reading in December 2018, Spring 2019 and a student reading in Fall 2019.

About the project:

On a drunken, late night return to Toronto’s queer Village, a middle aged man searches for the lost friends and landmarks of his youth only to find that they are all slowly disappearing and considers whether, at long last, so is he.

Jonathan Wilson’s scintillating solo show is part history lesson, part stand-up comedy and ultimately, as is all theatre, a public display of affection. The play questions whether a distinct queer culture still exists or if it has been consumed, whitewashed and rebranded for the larger dominant culture. A Public Display of Affection examines queer lives being erased. Erased by our families, erased by disease, erased by murder and even erased by ourselves.

Wilson, the writer behind My Own Private Oshawa introduces you to a cavalcade of well observed, heartfelt characters as he unpacks his personal past in an effort to illuminate our collective future.

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Photo at top: Bria McLaughlin in the IN DEVELOPMENT reading of Mortified by Amy Rutherford (credit: Dahlia Katz).