Write From The Hip Submissions

Call for Submissions: 2022-23 Write From The Hip Program

Nightwood Theatre is now accepting submissions to the 2022-23 Write From The Hip Program.

About the Program

Write From The Hip is a year-long script development program designed to support self-identifying emerging playwrights through mentorship, participation in a playwright’s unit, and one-on-one dramaturgy. Participants work towards the completion of a full-length play that culminates in a public reading with professional actors and a director as part of our Groundswell Festival. We are looking for intersectional feminist content by women (* including, but not limited to trans, cis), Two-Spirit, non-binary, and gender marginalized playwrights who are emerging in craft – there is no age limit to apply. Participants will receive a $2,000 CAD honorarium – $1,000 for starting the program, and $1,000 for the completion of their draft and participation at the Groundswell Festival.

Please note: We accept applications from all Canadian regions. However, if you are accepted into our WFTH unit, we do ask that individuals attend the live culminating day-long workshop and public presentation as part of our Groundswell Festival in Fall 2023 in Toronto, Ontario. Meetings throughout the year will be attended using Zoom technology and possibly in person.

We encourage those actively enrolled in a full time post-secondary programming to apply at the completion of their studies.

What is the time commitment of this program?

As a group, we typically meet up four times throughout the twelve months of the unit: SEPTEMBER 2022, NOVEMBER 2022, FEBRUARY 2023, and JUNE 2023. Outside of those times, you are writing, doing one-on-one’s with Donna-Michelle, seeing shows, living lives, etc.

When we meet, we read our plays together or pre-read and come with notes, to share supportive and constructive feedback and experience of the work. All members should be at all meetings. Each time we meet, we gather for two or three days to get through each play.

In Fall 2023, each participant has their play read publicly at Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival. All readings will be read and directed by local professional artists. Depending on where we’re at with the pandemic, this might be live or it might be an online festival.

This is a largely self-driven program and participants are expected to schedule their own time to write outside of the meetings.

Can I apply if I am currently a full-time student?

Write From the Hip is largely a self-driven program, meaning participants will be expected to find time to write outside of the scheduled meetings. For this reason, we usually encourage folks to wait until they have graduated from their post-secondary programs, as you can get more out of WFTH when you have more time / brain space to dedicate to it. However, this is up to you to decide! You are definitely still welcome to apply.

What level of experience should I have to apply?

Write From the Hip is a program for emerging writers – which means participants in the program self-identify as emerging. Everyone has complex and varied lives and careers that usually keep us doing all sorts of things. Some people are fresh into their careers; some people have been working in the field or elsewhere for decades. Diversity of life-experience is expected and encouraged.

What kinds of projects are usually accepted into the program?

We gravitate towards projects that match our values, and also do consider whether it is the type of play that Nightwood might consider programming in the future (though this isn’t make or break, as we often provide connections between WFTH playwrights and other theatre companies that would be a suitable match for production). You can see Nightwood’s programming history to get a sense of the kinds of shows we usually present. Projects can be anywhere from early stages to later in development, they just shouldn’t have had any professional productions yet (this means mainstage productions at a professional theatre company, so if your project has been in workshops or festivals, you can still apply with that project).

Can I submit my application in a format that is outside of the two options presented (10-page written application or 10-minute video application)?

Sure! Feel free to write Amanda at amanda@nightwoodtheatre.net to discuss alternate application formats. We just want to ensure an even playing field for all applicants, so as long as your alternate application contains roughly the same amount of content and will take roughly the same amount of time for the committee to review as other applications, we’re happy to accept alternate submission formats.

Should I submit my resume as part of my application?

No need to send along your resume – instead we ask that you write a 1-page letter that outlines your background as an emerging artist, and introduces your project and why it would benefit from the WFTH program. If there are particular items on your resume that you want to highlight to us, feel free to do so in that 1-page letter.

Is this program open to applicants from outside of Canada?

Write From the Hip is currently only open to writers in Canada. We accept applications from all Canadian regions. However, if you are accepted into our WFTH unit, we do ask that individuals attend the live culminating day-long workshop and public presentation as part of our Groundswell Festival in Fall 2023 in Toronto, Ontario. Meetings throughout the year will be attended using Zoom technology and possibly in person. Dates for the 2023 Groundswell Festival have not been confirmed yet but it is likely to take place in late October or early November.

Can I apply with a writing partner or with a group?

Yes! We welcome applications from individuals as well as collectives. In Write From the Hip 2017-2018, Andrea Scott and Nick Green co-wrote the play Every Day She Rose which was programmed in Nightwood’s mainstage season in our 2019-2020 season.

In addition to our script submission process detailed below, we hold a round of interviews with select applicants the week of June 20, 2022. This interview phase is an opportunity for artists to introduce themselves and their proposed script in whatever way best represents them.

If you are granted an interview, it is a conversation to discover if there’s a match between what the WFTH program can offer you as a writer, what your play needs in terms of development, as well as who you are as an artist and why you want to be a part of the WFTH program. Applicants who have applied (but not participated) in prior years are welcome to apply, but only with a new project.

Completed submissions must be received via electronic copy, no later than Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET. There is no submission fee for this program.

In order to be considered for an interview your package must include:

  • The completion of the online Google Form.
  • Choose Option 1 or 2:

1. A 10 page maximum PDF that includes: A one page letter outlining your background as an emerging artist, how you feel you/your project would benefit from WFTH, and a brief synopsis of your play, PLUS your script/writing sample (max 9 pages). Please note that the writing sample is a way for the selection committee to start to get to know your voice and writing style. It can be from any of your work(s) and does not necessarily have to be from the project you would like to pursue in the unit. Your application must be submitted as a single PDF document, saved in the following title format: “Last Name_Title of Play”. Please submit your PDF application to: submissions@nightwoodtheatre.net  


2. A video application – maximum 10 minutes: Your video application should outline your background as an emerging artist, how you feel you/your project would benefit from WFTH, and a brief synopsis and sample of your project. Please rename your video submission file to read “Last Name_Title of Play” and send the file via WeTransfer to submissions@nightwoodtheatre.net.

For more info or to access further supports please contact Amanda Lin, Development and Engagement Associate, amanda@nightwoodtheatre.net 

Nightwood is committed to creating spaces that are trans inclusive and that prioritize a multitude of intersectional identities, which include race, ability, sexual orientation, age, and gender identity among others.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 11:59 PM ET

Photo of Donna-Michelle St. Bernard by Graham Isador
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (aka Belladonna the Beast) is an emcee, playwright, dramaturge and agitator.  Her work has been nominated for the Siminovitch Prize, Governor General’s Literary Awards, SATA, Herman Voaden Playwriting Award, Enbridge PlayRites Award and Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play.  She has been engaged as a dramaturge for Pink Pluto, Native Earth Performing Arts, Factory Theatre, lemonTree creations and Humber College Drama Program.  DM is the artistic director of New Harlem Productions, emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, playwright in residence at lemonTree creations and coordinator of the ADHOC Assembly.

Program Support Provided By The RBC Foundation

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Nightwood Innovators Submissions

Call for Submissions: 2021-22 The Nightwood Innovators program (formally the Young Innovators) 

Build community and collaborate with the next generation of leaders in Canada’s theatre industry. The Nightwood Innovators program (formally the Young Innovators) is now open to emerging and/or new generation artists aged 18+, and delivers digital and in-person meet-ups to equip participants with the building blocks involved in running a theatre company and creating work on their own terms. Whether a Nightwood Innovator joins us as a born administrator, stage manager, designer, director, actor, playwright or production manager (or beyond), we aim to deepen their understanding of each dimension of professional theatre, opening them up to new complementary facets of their practice. Nightwood Innovators are given the unique opportunity to forge connections with one another in a pivotal time in their careers, and ignite a lasting personal and professional relationship with Nightwood Theatre.

We accept applications from theatre practitioners (directors, actors, designers, technicians, stage managers, arts managers, dramaturges, production managers, etc.) who are 18+ and self-identify as emerging. The program will run from September 2021 to the end of April 2022.

Please note, the deadline to apply is September 1st at 11:59 pm ET and applicants will be notified of final decisions by the week of September 13th.


  • Access to Nightwood’s digital and live programming
  • Numerous workshops by Nightwood staff on marketing, fundraising, grant writing, networking, directing/dramaturgy, artist health, and more
  • Programming and producing experience as the Nightwood Innovators curate and produce Fempocalypse, a fundraising event to benefit a charity chosen by the cohort
  • Observing a Write from the Hip new play development workshop before it’s publicly shared at the Groundswell Festival
  • Regular gathering points for socializing, connecting to future collaborators, and developing systems of support.
  • Invites to first day table reads and opening nights/dress rehearsals*
  • Access to Nightwood staff for consultation
  • A one-on-one session with Artistic Director Andrea Donaldson
  • A short, one-on-one dramaturgical feedback session with a Nightwood community member (intended for participants who have a work in progress)
  • A $500 honourarium for participation

*As possible given COVID-19

To apply, please fill out the below Google Form and submit your resumé via https://wetransfer.com to amanda@nightwoodtheatre.net. 

If you would like to view the application questions prior to filling out the form, click here for a preview copy of the application (please note this is just for reference).


Please note, the deadline to apply is September 1st at 11:59 pm ET and applicants will be notified of final decisions by the week of September 13th.

Program Support Provided By TD The Ready Commitment

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Play Submissions

Dear Theatre Creators,

We so appreciate all that you do and all of the necessary reach outs you make to companies in hopes of your work being seen and produced. We want to get to know you and your efforts are recognized and valued.

In order to do our best as an organization, with an emphasis on thriving while working within our means, we have articulated a process for unsolicited scripts that we hope will enable continued introductions and access, while acknowledging our limits.

If you feel your work fits our mandate, the best way to ignite or continue a relationship with Nightwood is to submit your project/play through one of three processes:

  1. Apply to our spring deadline for Write From The Hip. Please join us at Groundswell, our annual Festival of new works for the readings of these exceptional new works.
  2. Apply for OAC RGTC (Recommenders Grants for Theatre Creators) in the fall.
  3. Reach out to Andrea at andrea@nightwoodtheatre.net with a one-page letter that details who you are, what you’re writing about, and where your project is at, and include a five-page excerpt of your play.

If your piece strikes our interest, we will ask to be kept abreast of its developments. If your voice strikes our interest, we will ask to be kept abreast your future works.

Keep doing what you’re doing. Plays need theatres and theatres need plays.


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