Are you the next W.O. Mitchell or Daniel McIvor? If playwriting is in your blood, Workshop West Playwrights Theatre is inviting you to submit unpublished scripts for production consideration.
“This year, we’re expecting quite a lot of submissions,” said artistic director Heather Inglis. “We are one of the few theatres left in western Canada that specialize in developing mixed media work.”
She explains that in the last year or two, and especially since COVID-19 has financially decimated the entertainment industry, many live theatres have chosen to forgo developing new plays due to costs.
“Many theatres have moved away from developing plays with different leadership and different priorities taking place,” said Inglis.
“One thing this type of work involves is a high degree of risk. We’re committed to new plays, but it’s not everybody’s bag."
Workshop West pledges to support a playwright’s vision from inception to production, as well as building long-term relationships.
Within the last five years, regional theatre companies have made a concerted effort to produce plays that promote diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity.
“We are definitely looking to produce plays by Indigenous and Black playwrights. For me, that’s very important work. We’re definitely looking for artists who do not share equally in society. It’s definitely a priority for us to search for artists who have not had these opportunities.”
In-house dramaturg Beth Graham will give playwrights who tender scripts personalized one-on-one dramaturgical feedback.
“Beth will read and recommend scripts along with me. She will take notes and meet with everyone or videoconference them. A large component of what we do is to continue (to) support playwrights – especially during COVID, which has made it difficult for artists to get inspired,” Inglis said.
Graham, who was named to the position on July 17, is a respected actor, director and playwright in the Edmonton area whose large body of work encompasses both traditional as well as new approaches to creating theatre.
“She understands what new playwrights are going through. She challenges them, but leaves them inspired to write more. She’s a great resource.”
Workshop West is looking for one- or two-act full-length scripts, about 60 to 75 pages in length, running slightly more than one hour.
“It must be created in Canada and is original, new material, preferably unproduced. We are not accepting poetry or short stories. We are accepting adaptations of poetry or stories.”
There is no fee to submit scripts. The closing date for submission is Oct. 15. For more information, visit workshopwest.org.