2020/21 Season


Sarah Orenstein and Bria McLaughlin in a Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT workshop for Amy Rutherford's MORTIFIED, October 2017.PLAY READING SERIES

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.

Our 2017/18 participants were:

Paul Dunn • Cynthia HicksAlison LawrenceStephen Orlov • Amy RutherfordNorman Yeung

Thank you to our 2017/18 IN DEVELOPMENT supporters:

RBC Emerging Artists Project


2017/18 projects

This Great CityPaul Dunn

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.

This Great City was previously workshopped in 2015 and 2016/17 iterations of Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT.

About the project:

This Great City examines the intersection of the personal and the political, set in Toronto, during the years of the Ford mayoralty. The play has morphed significantly from its initial Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT outing, moving from an exploration of a city at large to an intimate portrait of the divisive power of politics in a familial setting.

Lydia and Jonathan are grown siblings, both adopted and raised by the same set of left-leaning foster parents, in Toronto’s Annex. Jonathan has built a life for himself, while Lydia has made a bit of a mess of hers along the way. Her child has been living with Jonathan and his wife Jackie as Lydia tries to clean her life up. As the political tension in the city builds, it enters the home, and the characters’ ideological differences threaten to tear the whole family apart.

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AppleCynthia Hicks

by Cynthia Hicks

Cynthia Hicks is an Asian-Canadian actor and emerging playwright whose play Apple was initially developed as part of fu-GEN’s Kitchen Playwriting Unit. Cynthia read the role of Becca in Marie Beath Badian’s Common during Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT (Fall 2016), and we are proud to be working with her once again as Studio 180’s first RBC Emerging Playwright in 2017/18.

We are grateful to the RBC Emerging Artists Program for their support of this project.

About the project:

Based on the playwright’s real life experience growing up attending and leading annual youth abstinence retreats, Apple explores critical themes of consent, choice, sexuality, and faith. Framed theatrically by a “Right to Wear White” retreat, Apple explores these issues through the young characters of Faith and Cain as they grapple with questions of faith, identity, and parental pressure, and struggle to make their own choices.

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The RightAlison Lawrence

by Alison Lawrence

Alison is a writer, actor and independent theatre producer. She co-wrote the play bittergirl, the book Bittergirl: Getting Over Getting Dumped (published by Penguin Canada, Plume U.S. and in Brazil) and Bittergirl – the musical all with her creative collaborators Annabel Fitzsimmons and Mary Francis Moore. Bittergirl – the Musical premiered at the Charlottetown Festival in 2015 and has since been produced across Canada at the Citadel Theatre, RMTC, the Arts Club in Vancouver and on tour, the Globe Theatre, and by popular demand again this summer in Charlottetown.

Alison’s other recent work includes Piece by Piece, which was produced as part of the Next Stage Festival in Toronto and in the New American Voices series in London, England.  Her play The Thing Between Us was shortlisted for PGC’s Carol Bolt Award, and she is currently workshopping a new romantic comedy for the Lighthouse Festival. Other plays include The Catering Queen, which she also starred in, and And All For Love, which was developed by and premiered at the NAC’s English Theatre in Ottawa. As an actor she has worked at theatres across the country, including in the Studio 180 productions of The Laramie Project.

Alison was one of our 2017 Theatre Creators’ Reserve recipients for The Right

About the project:

The Right is about the legally and morally murky world of Medical Assistance in Dying. Late last year I was told by a doctor that the defining term in the Medical Assistance in Dying legislation, Bill C-14, is that a person qualifies when death is “reasonably foreseeable,” which is “a statement of law that has no equivalent in medicine.” I began to realize that the general public for the most part misunderstands how Bill C-14 is applied and who qualifies. At the same time, the passing of the bill hasn’t ended the controversy over Medical Assistance in Dying. If anything, it has intensified it. So what does that mean for someone who wants to die? […]

“I would like to engage in these big ideas about physician-assisted end of life by placing the professionals who deal with the law in a complicated emotional situation where their own reactions might surprise them, and our audience.”

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BirthmarkStephen Orlov

by Stephen Orlov

Stephen Orlov is a Montreal-based award-winning dramatist whose plays have been showcased in such theatre centres as London and Chicago. Last fall, Guernica published his box-office hit at the Centaur, Freeze, and PLCN published his play, Sperm Count, in Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas, which he co-edited with Palestinian playwright, Samah Sabawi. Double Exposure, the first English-language anthology worldwide in any genre of drama, prose or poetry by Jewish and Palestinian writers, won the 2017 Patrick O’Neill Award for best Canadian play anthology of 2015 and 2016. Stephen has served recently on the Executive of Playwrights Guild of Canada and the inaugural Playwrights Unit of Infinitheatre.

About the project:

Birthmark, a dark-comedy-drama and political thriller, thematically explores the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on relations between two Montreal diaspora families, one Jewish and the other Palestinian, and how that seemingly endless battle abroad over birthright and homeland effects the complexity of youth radicalization in Canada.

“Birthmark, the sequel to Sperm Count, was inspired by events I experienced during the second Intifada a couple months after 9/11 and my reaction to the 2014 Israeli bombardment of Gaza. I greatly appreciate Infinitheatre for its dramaturgical support, Teesri Duniya Theatre for sponsoring Cole Foundation commissioning and production grants to premiere Birthmark in 2018-19, and Studio 180 for its further development this fall.”

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MortifiedAmy Rutherford

by Amy Rutherford

Amy Rutherford is an actress and writer who has worked for nearly twenty years with many of Canada’s leading playwrights and directors. She is a graduate of The National Theatre School and Stratford Festival of Canada’s Conservatory and has been nominated for several Dora Mavor Moore Awards. She has co-written and created many projects including Sad Object / Bad Object (The Toronto Festival of Clowns), The Public Servant with Common Boots Theatre (presented by The Great Canadian Theatre Company and Nightwood Theatre in Toronto) and Out of the Woods, presented by Why Not Theatre and Sidemart Theatrical Grocery. Amy was named one of Toronto’s Top Ten Theatre Artists by Now Magazine.

Amy was one of our 2017 Theatre Creators’ Reserve recipients for Mortified

About the project:

A woman runs into a man from her past and is surprised by the power he still holds over her. In an attempt to uncover the truth of what happened between them, she recalls her adolescent self: a 14-year-old synchronized swimmer, struggling to make sense of the world around her. Humorous and dark, Mortified explores sex, shame and transformation and how we reckon with the traumatic experiences that have shaped us.

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TheoryNorman Yeung

by Norman Yeung

Norman Yeung is an accomplished actor, playwright and visual artist who divides his time between Toronto and Los Angeles. An earlier draft of Theory won the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition in 2015 and was presented by Soulpepper at its inaugural Tiger Bamboo Festival of Asian-Canadian theatre.

Norman is a Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition winner. Theory will receive its premiere production as part of the 2018/19 Tarragon Theatre season, directed by Esther Jun. 

About the project:

Isabelle, a young tenure-track professor, tests the limits of free speech by encouraging her students to contribute to an unmoderated discussion group. When an anonymous student posts offensive comments and videos, Isabelle must decide whether to intervene or to let the social experiment play out. Soon, the posts turn abusive and threatening, leading Isabelle and her unknown tormentor to engage in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse that not only has Isabelle questioning her beliefs, but fearing for her life.

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Fall 2017

Public readings

Mortified by Amy Rutherford, directed by Anita Rochon, with dramaturgy by Jonathon Young
Featuring Paul Braunstein, Rachel Cairns, Bria McLaughlin, Sarah Orenstein, Liisa Repo-Martell, Amelia Sargisson, Margarita Valderrama and Sophia Walker

This Great City by Paul Dunn, directed by Mark McGrinder
Featuring Karl Ang, Laura Condlln and Jessica Greenberg

Student readings

Birthmark by Stephen Orlov, directed by David S. Craig
Featuring Valerie Buhagiar, Richard Greenblatt, Will Greenblatt and Cynthia Hicks

Apple by Cynthia Hicks, directed by Mark McGrinder
Featuring Gabriella Albino, Niko Oullette and Jennifer Villaverde

Spring 2018

Public & Student readings

Mortified by Amy Rutherford, directed by Jonathon Young
Featuring Paul Braunstein, Ellie Ellwand, Elley-Ray Hennessy, Bria McLaughlin, Amy Rutherford, Hilary Scott, Sherman Tsang and Margarita Valderrama

The Right by Alison Lawrence, directed by Sarah Orenstein (RBC Emerging Director)
Featuring Rebecca Auerbach, Trish Fagan, Allegra Fulton, Tom Hauff and Alana Hibbert

Theory by Norman Yeung, directed by Esther Jun
FeaturingBilal Baig, Sascha Cole, Audrey Dwyer, Asha James, Kyle Orzech, Anthony Perpuse and Gord Rand

Photo at top: Sarah Orenstein and Bria McLaughlin in the October 2017 reading of Mortified by Amy Rutherford. Photo by Annie MacKay.