RBC Emerging Artists Program
Studio 180 Theatre’s RBC Emerging Artists Program provides three early-career playwrights or directors with the opportunity to advance their skills, gain exposure and accelerate their career trajectory by spending one year working with and being mentored by Studio 180 Theatre’s artistic team. This barrier-free initiative is designed to help artists bridge the gap from emerging to established by providing them with the experience and resources they need to succeed.
Thanks to the RBC Foundation, all three emerging artist positions are paid and feature both mentorship and public showcase opportunities.
Photo Above: Students experience an IN CLASS Reading of The Election by RBC Emerging Playwrights Yolanda Bonnel & Natasha Greenblatt. Photo by Dahlia Katz.
Studio 180 Theatre is excited to announce that the RBC Foundation has extended its support of our RBC Emerging Artists Program over the next two seasons. Their funding will support the mentorship and development of six emerging artists through our 2021/2022 season.
This season, Studio 180 is proud to support three RBC Emerging Playwrights: Yolanda Bonnell, Rachel Mutombo and Ali Joy Richardson. All three playwrights will receive a public reading of their work in our 2020/21 IN DEVELOPMENT Program.
2020/21 RBC Emerging Playwright – 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.
2020/21 RBC Emerging Playwright – 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.
2020/21 RBC Emerging Playwright – 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.
STUDIO 180 THEATRE’S RBC EMERGING ARTIST ALUMNI
2019/20 RBC Emerging Director – Sabryn Rock
“As a result of this entire experience, I feel respected
and confident that I can be taken seriously as a
budding director…. They’ve made space for me to solidify my voice as a director and foster my talent.”
2019/20 RBC Emerging Director – Rebecca Gibian
“This kind of opportunity, to choose a play, cast it, rehearse and direct it all within a short window of time, was an incredible concentrated lesson in
leadership, process, and taught me so much about the kind of director I hope to be, and about what kind of work inspires me most.”
2019/20 RBC Emerging Playwright – Sam Kalilieh
“Studio 180’s faith in me, as an artist and as a human being, means it feels safe to share, not just my work, but also myself with them. I am an immigrant one step closer to producing a fantastic piece of theatre — a lifelong wish coming true… Writing my family’s journey has opened me up.”
2018/19 RBC Emerging Playwrights – Yolanda Bonnel Natasha Greenblatt
“Having the support of Studio 180 and the RBC award was invaluable to the development of our show. Opportunities like these are vital to the development of new voices, nurturing the artistic leaders of the future. Thank you so much for believing that I am one of those voices.”
2018/19 RBC Emerging Director – Kerry Ann Doherty
“The RBC Emerging Director position gave me the start I needed and the confidence to pursue the next step in my directing career. I have felt like a valued member of the team and have established myself as a professional in this field.”
2017/18 RBC Emerging Playwright – Cynthia Jimenez-Hicks
“The incredible opportunity I had to develop Apple with Studio 180 gave me a new way to express my voice. Before this workshop with Studio 180 I hesitated to call myself a playwright; now I hold the title with confidence.”
2017/18 RBC Emerging Director – Sarah Orenstein
“Being linked and presented by Studio 180 as director to the theatre community has changed my profile. I’ve noticed the interest. And I feel that gives me the opening to approach other companies in that role as I look for the next step.”