Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT
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.
Each reading date will be announced prior to the reading! Check below for more details.
Please be advised that Studio 180 productions are intended for mature audiences and frequently tackle challenging subject matter. If you have concerns about specific content in any of our presentations, please contact email@example.com.
Learn More: Our 2020/21 Season • Student Bookings • Past Years of IN DEVELOPMENT
Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT Partner
The Estate of J. Douglas McCu
Friday, November 20, 2020 @ 7:30 PM
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.
Cherish Violet Blood is an actor, storyteller,activist and Blackfoot woman hailing from the Blood reserve. Based in Toronto Cherish is a professionally trained and seasoned performer with active followings in the national Indigenous and international theatre community. Cherish has performed all over North America. Select credits include creator/performer in Material Witness (Spiderwoman Theatre La Mama,NYC), creator/performer in Making Treaty 7 directed by Michelle Thrush in Calgary, AB. The lead role in Deer Woman, a new play that has been touring internationally by Tara Beagan . As a natural comedian Cherish has hosted album release parties as well as community events and fundraisers.
Shandra Spears Bombay (Anishinaabe) is a member of Rainy River First Nations/Manitou Rapids, raised in Chatham, Ontario. Shandra’s stage credits include The Rez Sisters and Berlin Blues with Magnus Theatre, Biidaasige Kwe and Please Do Not Touch The Indians with Debajehmujig Theatre Group, and projects with Native Earth Performing Arts, Aluna Theatre and Studio 180. Shandra’s one-woman show, If This Is The End, has been supported by Aluna’s Caminos Festival, the SummerWorks Lab and Weesageechak 29. Shandra performed the work in progress at the High School Social Justice Forum in Windsor, and is gratefully continuing the script’s development through a commission with Blyth Theatre.
Samantha Brown is an Anishinaabe and European settler actor currently living in Tkaronto. Coming from Northern Ontario to study and graduate from the York University Acting Conservatory. Her past theatre credits include: Amy in the Arc theatre production of Oil, A Storyteller in the Soundstreams and Signal Theatre production of Two Odesseys: Gállábártnit/Pimooteewin, Joanna in the Soulpepper production of August: Osage County, Kilawna in the WCT, The Cultch, Persephone and Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre production of Kamloopa, among more.
Theresa Cutknife (She/her) is a Toronto based mixed queer Nehiyaw and Puerto Rican actor, writer, curator, storyteller, and director from Maskwacîs, Alberta located on Treaty 6 Territory and is a member of the Samson Cree Nation. Previous acting credits include: Father Penible – A Canadian Adventure of Tartuffian Proportions (Centre for Indigenous Theatre) and Tipi Confessions (Buddies in Bad Times). Theresa has worked as an assistant director for The Election (Common Boots Theatre) directed by Jennifer Brewin and After the Fire (Punctuate Theatre) directed by Brendnan McMurty-Howlett. Theresa is one of two new Creative Producers in Training at the Theatre Centre.
Ange Loft is an interdisciplinary performing artist and initiator from Kahnawake Kanienkehaka Territory, working in Toronto. She is an ardent collaborator, consultant, facilitator and mentor working in storyweaving, arts based research, wearable sculpture and Haudenosaunee history. She teaches Story Creation at Centre For Indigenous Theatre and is Artistic Director of the Talking Treaties initiative with Jumblies Theatre. Ange is also a vocalist with the Juno and Polaris nominated band YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN.
Monique Mojica (Guna and Rappahannock nations) Actor/Playwright/Dramaturg – is passionately dedicated to a theatrical practice as an act of healing, of reclaiming historical/cultural memory and of resistance. Spun directly from the family-web of New York’s Spiderwoman Theater, her theatrical practice embraces her artistic lineage through mining stories embedded in the body in connection to land and place. Monique has taught Indigenous Theatre in theory, process and practice at Brown University, the University of Illinois, the Institute of American Indian Arts, McMaster University and is a former co-director of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. She has lectured on land-based embodied research and taught performance workshops throughout Canada, the US, Latin America, New Zealand and Europe.
Allyson Pratt studied at the Randolph Academy (RAPA), and received the Triple Threat Award her graduating year. Allyson has performed memorable roles across the country, including Kawânihot Iskwew for Akpik Theatre, and Anne Shirley for The Charlottetown Festival. Allyson can be seen in the CSA nominated series Mohawk Girls in her recurring role as Iostha, and the award-winning web series Teenagers. Allyson starred in and co-created the short film Stephanie’s Room, which screened at the 2016 Cannes Festival. Allyson continually studies her craft in classes and intensives, including work with John Riven, John Boylan, and Angela Besharah.
Tyler J Sloane is a multidisciplinary performance artist. Their art emphasizes marginalized voices that intersect mixed-race and queer identity. Exploring these themes through various projects: Photography (Self In Response to Influence of Violence & Community, Light Our Bodies, and Fruit Basket ), Visual Art (Self in Response, Breath On One Land, and But When), Community Arts (It’s All Queer Pride (2018-2021)), Burlesque (as Tygr Willy (BoylesqueTO, HausBoat, Passion Fruit)), and Theatre (Hummingbird, Mx.)
Friday, December 18, 2020 @ 7:30 PM
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.
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?
Directed by Ann-Marie Kerr
Starring Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster, Thomas Olajide & David Storch
Ann-Marie Kerr is an award-winning theatre director, actor and teacher. Select directing: Concord Floral (Fountain School of Performing Arts Halifax); Secret Life of A Mother (Theatre Centre, Crow’s Theatre Toronto); One Discordant Violin (2b theatre company, Halifax, 59E59 St Theatre NYC); Bed and Breakfast (Soulpepper Theatre Company, Toronto); A Christmas Carol (Theatre New Brunswick); Daughter (Theatre Centre; Summerworks, Toronto, Battersea Arts Centre London; Intl tour); Snake in the Grass (Neptune Theatre); I, Claudia (Globe Theatre Regina, Neptune Theatre); Stranger to Hard Work (Cathy Jones Eastern Front Theatre, National tour); The Circle (Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary); The Debacle (Zuppa Theatre Company, Halifax); Invisible Atom (2b theatre company Halifax). A graduate of Ecole internationale de théâtre Jacques Lecoq and York University and is the former Artistic Associate of Magnetic North Theatre Festival.
Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster is a theatre maker from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and the current Assistant Artistic Director at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. Her acting credits include Cyrano de Bergerac and Man and Superman at the Shaw Festival, seven seasons with Soulpepper Theatre and credits with Public Recordings, Canadian Stage, Citadel Theatre, Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre, Cahoots Theatre, Native Earth, and Tarragon Theatre. She has directed radio play versions of Three Women of Swatow, 7 Stories, and upcoming productions of Shape of a Girl and Democracy (Tarragon/Expect Theatre). Her live theatre direction includes The Wolves (Howland/Crows, Toronto Theatre Critics Best Ensemble 2018 and MyEntertainmentWorld Best Production 2018), Cannibal (Scrap Paper/Next Stage), 52 Pick-Up (Howland, Best of Fringe 2013), Gray (Inamorata) and Three Women of Swatow (Tarragon). She is a graduate of the UBC BFA Theatre program, the Banff Citadel Theatre Program and the Soulpepper Academy. Courtney has twice been named a ‘Top Ten Theatre Artist’ by NOW Magazine, and is a grateful alumna of the Loran Award.
Thomas Olajide is a Dora Mavor Moore Award-nominated, Toronto-based actor and a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada. His screen credits include Inhuman Condition (CSA Nomination for Best Digital Program) and Mariner (TIFF Top Ten). In 2014, Olajide received the Stratford Festival’s Peter Donaldson Award for Great Promise in Shakespeare and the Classics. Thomas has since appeared in the film White Lie and can be seen in his recurring role in the television series Les Nomades II, in which Thomas was nominated for Les Prix Gémeaux.
David Storch has collaborated with Studio 180 a number of times, most recently directing Lynn Nottage’s Sweat for a co-production with Canadian Stage, and acting in The Nether in a co-production with Coal Mine Theatre. He is a director, an actor, and a teacher.
Friday, February 19, 2021 @ 7:30 PM
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 Playwrights’ 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.
Directed and Dramaturged by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Starring Marcel Stewart & Amaka Umeh
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard aka Belladonna the Blest is an emcee, playwright, director and agitator. As a director, her staging elevates culturally specific and rhythmically resonant stories, including Job’s Wife (Nolan), A Perfect Storm (Nolan), Oops! (Feld), Mx (Robinson) and Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers (Simamba), as well as collaborating with Cole Alvis and Nikki Shaffeulah on the direction of Lilies (Bouchard). DM is currently the emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, associate artist at lemonTree Creations and coordinator of the AD HOC Assembly, and of Nightwood Theatre’s Write From the Hip play development program.
Marcel Stewart I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams! Actor, writer, arts educator, and organizer who loves vacuuming the house while listening to the soundtrack to Waiting to Exhale. I am a Black man of Jamaican heritage, born in the UK but raised in Canada. I am a product of colonialism, actively working every day to decolonize myself. It is my responsibility, as a Black artist, to carry those who have come before me by affirming our contemporary stories, emotions, and ideas through art. My curiosity about history and lineage – within the context of colonialism – is at the basis of my art. I often return to the questions: Who am I? How am I? How did I get here? Who have I lost? What is my purpose?
Amaka Umeh (she/they) is a Toronto-based performing artist from Calgary, Alberta, and Lagos, Nigeria. A graduate of the Musical Theatre Performance Program at the Randolph College for Performing Arts, Amaka has had the incredible fortune of receiving many wonderful opportunities to collaborate with diverse artists in the community. Their work has been generously recognized with a Dora Mavor Moore Award, a Toronto Theatre Critics’ Association Award, and two MyEntertainmentWorld Critics’ Pick Award nominations. Amaka also completed the Stratford Festival Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, Factory Theatre Mechanicals and Toronto Fringe T.E.N.T. Programs.
Friday, April 16, 2021 @ 7:30 PM
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. The play was then workshopped at the Toronto Fringe Festival where sam said; “I liked doing that”. It was because of the experience at the Fringe (and the OAC Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators program) that sam began working with Studio 180 in 2019 and he is excited to continue that work this season.
Palestineman received an IN DEVELOPMENT reading in Fall 2019.
About the project:Part origin story, part familial archeology, Palestineman is a journey of discovery for its subject and its audience. Returning for a second season IN DEVELOPMENT, playwright sam Khalilieh continues to put together the pieces of a show that has been in his head for over 30 years. On April 16, sam will present an excerpt from the play, and chat with Studio 180’s Mark McGrinder about the evolving scope and potential of this exploration of identity, desire, heritage and rage.
by Jonathan Wilson
A Public Display of Affection will now be a part of our 2021/22 Season. We look forward to sharing it with audiences next year.
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.
Photo at top: Bria McLaughlin in the IN DEVELOPMENT reading of Mortified by Amy Rutherford (credit: Dahlia Katz).