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.

Public and school readings will take place in October, 2019 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Admission to public readings is by donation.

Jenna HarrisSam KaliliehEmil Sher • Kate Cayley Jonathan Wilson


Public Readings

(self-)portrait by Jenna Harris – Friday, October 18, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Palestineman by Sam Kalilieh – Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Conviction by Emil Sher – Friday, October 25, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Promising by Kate Cayley – Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

All readings will take place at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. To reserve your ticket please email julia@studio180theatre.com.

The Buddies in Bad Times facility is fully accessible to audience members, and the cabaret stage is also accessible to performers. Both of the performance venues offer seating at floor level. If you have any seating requirements, please inform box office staff when purchasing your tickets. The entrance is accessed by ramp for all patrons. The washrooms are located on the lower level, which can be reached by attendant-operated elevator. Some stalls are equipped with bars and provide extra space, and there is also a single-user, universal washroom.

For more information on accessibility, please visit the Buddies in Bad Times website.

Learn More: Our 2019/20 Season • Student Bookings • Past Years of IN DEVELOPMENT

Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT Partner

K.M. Hunter Foundation


2019/20 projects

(self-)portraitJenna Harris

by Jenna Harris

Jenna is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Theatre Conservatory Program in New York City. She is a Dora-nominated actor, playwright /creator, dancer, producer and arts educator. She is the founder and Artistic Producer of Discord and Din Theatre, and a founding member of [elephants] collective. As an actor, Jenna has worked in both the United States and Canada, and as a writer has written everything from radio shows to animated shorts, webseries to feature films, site-specific work to full-length plays. Jenna was part of Studio 180 Theatre’s inaugural IN DEVELOPMENT (November 2015), the Tarragon Playwrights Unit (2015-16), the Thousand Islands Playhouse Playwright’s Unit (2016), was a Playwright in Residence at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (2016-2017), and is currently a member of their Artist Residency program. Jenna has taught at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Tech and the 92nd Street Y in New York, and numerous schools in Toronto. Her play Mine will premiere at Buddies in Bad Times in their 2019/2020 season.

About the project:

“Under this mask, another mask. I will never be finished removing all these faces.”

– Claude Cahun

Conceptualized as a one-person play, (self-)portrait will feature the life, work and philosophical musings of the radical queer feminist surrealist artist and activist Claude Cahun.

Born Lucy Schwob in France in 1894, she changed her name to Claude Cahun in 1917, choosing the name “Claude” because of its gender non-specificity, and “Cahun”, which was her grandmother’s maiden name. Among Cahun’s best known work was: a collection of self-portraits; a series of monologues entitled Heroines (written from the point of view of historic fictional and non-fictional female-identified figures); and Disavowels, which she refers to as her anti-autobiography autobiography.

Using Cahun’s own writing (monologues, autobiography, diary entries, letters written in prison on toilet paper, resistance flyers…) (self-)portrait will take inspiration from Disavowels in philosophy, tone and structure to take shape as an anti-one-person one-person play.

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by Sam Kalilieh*

Sam is a Toronto based actor and writer who previously participated in Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT as a performer in Paul Dunn’s This Great City. Previous credits include: For Studio 180: King Charles III, Stuff Happens. Elsewhere: Lo (or Dear Mr Wells) (Nightwood Theatre), ART (The Grand Theatre), The Enchanted Loom (Cahoots/Factory), Age of Arousal (Factory Theatre), Passion Play (Crows Theatre/Various), Facts (GCTC).

About the project:

My name is Mahfuz Sami Khalilieh. I have been an actor in Toronto for 25 years. If you haven’t heard of me it may be because I was using the stage name Sam Kalilieh. By strategically dropping an “i” from my middle name (my father’s given name) and an “h” from my surname, (my father’s surname), I believed I could whitewash my Middle Eastern- ness and be regarded by the industry and audiences as “just a guy”. That didn’t really work. Not only did it not work, it had some insidious results. Palestineman is a semi- autobiographical one-man play about the unforeseen predicaments that immigrants and visible minorities encounter when they “become Canadian”.

*This position is made possible through the RBC Emerging Artist Program

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ConvictionEmil Sher

by Emil Sher

Emil’s stage work for the young and the once-were-young include Sanctuary, Bluenose, Derailed, Beneath the Banyan Tree and The Book of Ashes. His acclaimed stage adaptations include Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine, Ian Brown’s The Boy in the Moon, and the musical theatre adaptation of Roch Carrier’s beloved The Hockey Sweater (librettist and co-lyricist with composer Jonathan Monro). The staging of The Boy in the Moon (Crow’s Theatre) was selected as one of the top ten productions of 2017 by The Globe and Mail and nominated for a 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play. Works-in-progress include The Boys of Vedem, a play commissioned by Seattle’s ACT Theatre based on the true story of imprisoned Jewish teens who created a secret magazine in the midst of the Holocaust; April, a new play Emil is developing for and with the divine Louise Pitre; and The Piper, a musical that puts a contemporary spin on the folk tale.

About the project:

Mo Gagnon’s daughter, Lianne Thibeault, was charged with killing her 11-month-old son.  Bill Mullins-Johnson spent twelve years in prison for allegedly murdering his four-year-old niece. Two families were destroyed by the findings of Dr. Charles Smith, who eventually admitted his training in forensic pathology was ‘self-taught’.

Mo Gagnon was tireless in his efforts to absolve his daughter Lianne of any wrongdoing. Laureena Hill never wavered in her belief that her son, Bill Mullins-Johnson, was innocent. Conviction weaves original interviews, testimonies and court transcripts into a new work of verbatim theatre that promises to be dramatic and damning. There is a poetry and power to words that are unvarnished and unscripted, all the more so in a play that casts a stark light on the searing consequences of a wrongful conviction.

We speak of justice delayed, of justice denied. In Conviction, notions of justice will be disassembled, with the audience left to put the pieces together again.

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by Kate Cayley

Kate Cayley’s short story collection, How You Were Born, won the Trillium Book Award and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. She has published two collections of poetry, When This World Comes to an End, and Other Houses. She was a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre from 2009-2017, and wrote two plays for Tarragon, After Akhmatova and The Bakelite Masterpiece, which went on to multiple American productions. She has been a frequent writing collaborator with immersive theatre company Zuppa Theatre, most recently on The Archive of Missing Things and This Is Nowhere, and has been writer-in-residence at McMaster University. She is working on a novel and a second collection of short stories.


About the project:

A young teacher, Eleanor, adrift in her life and in her marriage, moves from Toronto to the small town her husband is from and begins working at the local school. Searching for meaning, she forms a strong and secretive connection with a damaged and violent young woman in her classroom, with disastrous consequences for herself and everyone around her. Eleanor, wry and deeply unreliable, confesses a series of mistakes to the audience in this solo play that looks at boundaries, desire, belonging, and the dangers of believing you can save anyone.

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A Public Display of AffectionJonathan Wilson

by Jonathan Wilson
Directed by Chris Earle

An award winning playwright and actor, Jonathan’s plays include My Own Private Oshawa (Dora, Chalmer’s and Governors General’s Award Nominee), Kilt (Dora and Drama Desk nominee) and Well. My Own Private Oshawa was also filmed as a CTV Comedy Special (Gemini Nominee). Jonathan was also playwright in residence at the Tarragon Theatre and worked as actor/writer/ improviser/ with The Second City Toronto for seven productions. Other stage appearances include The Normal Heart (Studio 180), My Night With Reg (Studio 180), The Lion King (Mirvish/Disney-Dora Award Winner), Comedy Of Errors (Neptune) and The Clockmaker (1000 Islands Playhouse). Jonathan is also part of the long form improvisation 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 a reading in December 2018 and Spring 2019 and will receive 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: Courtenay Stevens, Joelle Peters, Anand Rajaram and Rose Stella at the Spring 2019 reading of The Election by Yolanda Bonnell and Natasha Greenblatt (credit: Dahlia Katz).