Clockwise from top left: Katherine Gauthier, Anyika Mark, Tabia Lau, Catt Filippov, Lara Arabian and Andrea Donaldson

Readings from our 2018-19 Emerging Playwrights program
Facilitated by Andrea Donaldson
September 23 – 28, 2019
Ernest Balmer Studio #315, The Distillery District
9 Trinity Street
Toronto, Ontario

Admission is Pay-What-You-Can at the door

Be the first to hear new work from some of the most exciting emerging female playwrights in the city. The 2018-19 Write from the Hip writers are Katherine Gauthier, Anyika Mark, Tabia Lau, Catt Filipovv, and Lara Arabian. Write from the Hip is a year-long script development program designed to support new writers toward the completion of a full-length play. Come hear what these talented playwrights have created.

Directed by Diana Donnelly
Happening in real time at a Love and Sex Addicts support group, The Meeting investigates the sexual and relationship holds that bind us. We meet five members struggling to break out of their obsessive and debilitating sexual patterns: an editor caught sleeping with his employee, a lawyer who cannot stop texting her married ex, a student struggling to be aroused without porn, a counsellor in training who would rather focus on everybody else’s problems and a man whose secret risks to ostracize him and ultimately, destroy him.

The play explores the real human stories behind the salacious news articles and exposes the queries that we reserve for late-night googling: What does healthy love look like? What do we do with our deviant sexual desires? Can we recover from abuse? What do we do when someone discloses their desire for a child, but vows not to act upon that desire?

Katherine Gauthier is a storyteller working across Canada in a variety of mediums. Acting credits include: A Doll’s House, SpoonRiver, Marat/Sade, Tartuffe (Soulpepper); King Charles III (Arts Club); Statu Quo (Théâtre La Seizième); 100 Saints, Godspell (Pacific Theatre). Education: Trinity Western University. Directing Credits include: [un]Boxed (ScarletSatin), OpenMic (Soulpepper).

Directed by Keshia Palm
A young girl is found dead in the water.  She is supposed to be in class, at the local college just four blocks away. Instead, she is found dead in the water. Tangled follows an investigator who enters a town, attempting to rebuild her last day from a series of interviews. What he finds instead is a community that is much more interested in keeping its own secrets hidden. As the residents grow increasingly less trusting, the threads between neighbours are tested, and the desperate search for the truth grows intricate. Do you remember where you were 152 hours ago?

Tabia Lau is a playwright based in Toronto. Her plays and musicals have been seen, read, and produced throughout North America. Originally from Montreal, she is an MFA Playwriting graduate of Columbia University, and currently a PhD candidate at York University’s Theatre & Performance Studies program.

Directed by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Making Moves delivers a day in the life of young, Black people in Toronto’s West-end. As they move through their day, it is impossible to ignore how political their social lives are, how they are all deeply connected, and that sometimes, there’s nothing more to do other than to keep making moves. Drawing inspiration from Trey Anthony’s Da Kink in My Hair and Spike Lee’s Do the Right ThingMaking Moves stands as an embodied emotional response to the playwright’s lived experience as a young Black Canadian.

Anyika Mark is going into her 5th year at the University of Toronto- St. George, studying Political Science and Caribbean Studies. Being a creator has always been a large part of Anyika’s life from writing to acting and then behind-the-scene work. She primarily acts and works for student productions which then led to the desire to pursue the makings of her own show.

Directed by Evalyn Parry
This one-woman show uncovers the life story of Siranoush, a pioneering 19th century Armenian female theatre artist who challenged a number of gender, class and ethnic barriers. As her story melds with the playwrights’s own 21st century story of immigration and identity, an exploration of the personal as political unfolds. Incorporating multimedia, heightened physicality and multilingual delivery (including English, Armenian, French, Turkish), Siranoush is a piece that examines displacement, motherhood, language and artistic drive, and how we all ‘perform’ our lives.

Siranoush has been created with the support of Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council

Lara Arabian is a Dora nominated artist who has worked on numerous productions in Canada and France as both an actor and director.  She fluently speak three languages (English, French, Armenian) which is a reflection of a life lived in many countries (Lebanon, Canada, US, France). 

Directed by Sadie Epstein-Fine
The Stray Sheep Cabaret tells the story of Moorka, a Russian-Canadian performance artist dying to be noticed both as an artist, and as a Russian. While scanning the radio waves for inspiration for her next piece, she intercepts a broadcast from Zoya – a member of a group of Russian writers who have faked their own deaths to avoid permanent muzzling by Uncle Vlad’s government. Zoya wants Moorka’s freedom of speech. Moorka wants Zoya’s notoriety. Both will stop at nothing to be heard. When Moorka travels to Russia to meet her counterpart, and the subject of what she thinks will be her breakthrough piece, her naiveté about her fatherland ultimately leads to her demise.

Catt Filippov  (Katia) is a Russian-Canadian actor and playwright working and playing in Toronto. Her work consists of true stories, family photographs, and real people she has encountered along the way. Recent credits include: All of Me (Toronto Fringe Festival), Macbeth (The Crowded Puppet Theatre), and Acid Test Toronto.

Directed by Andrea Donaldson

“Freedom needs daring…..if you want Freedom you need to have courage to go after Freedom….” (“Medya”, freedom fighter)

“What I see and hope for the future? Like a revolution…I might not be in that future. Our victory is if a woman like me, mothers like me, fight for girls like our daughters, our children can live in a free society.” (“Tinda”, freedom fighter)

Children of Fire is an intimate portrayal of the Kurdish female freedom fighters that hosted Shahrzad Arshadi and Anna Chatterton in the mountains of Kurdistan. Co-created with a mix of verbatim theatre and first-person confessional, the play follows the journey and layered relationship across cultures between Shahrzad and Anna, and asks what is at the heart of living bravely as a woman and an activist.


Shahrzad Arshadi is a Montréal-based multidisciplinary artist and human rights activist, and came to Canada as a political refugee in 1983. She is the winner of the 2017 YWCA Women of Distinction Inspiration Award.

Anna Chatterton is a Governor General Award-nominated playwright, a librettist and a performer based in Hamilton, Ontario. She is Nightwood Theatre’s current playwright in residence.

Connect and collaborate on the final day of Nightwood’s 2019 Groundswell Festival! Theatre practitioners are invited to listen, lead and unpack all things feminist at this hierarchy-smashing, participant-driven unconference. Join us afterwards for a celebratory cinq-à-sept to launch Nightwood’s 2019-20 Season!

Co-hosted by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard and Tanya Rintoul
11:30 am-4:30 pm (with a lunch break mid-way through)
Ernest Balmer Studio
Studio 315, 9 Trinity St. in the Distillery District
Join us afterwards for a celebratory cinq-à-sept (5-7 pm) to launch Nightwood’s 2019-20 Season!

This event is free to attend. As the studio has a capacity limit, please click here to RSVP for your free spot.

About the Co-hosts:

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (aka Belladonna the Blest) 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. St. Bernard has also been selected as the new Write from the Hip program director for Nightwood Theatre’s 2019-20 season.

Tanya Rintoul is a director, theatre maker, and dramaturge born and based in Toronto. She is currently developing a number of projects, mainly with her creative partner Rachel Ganz. Her most recent directing production credits include: assistant directing A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Soulpepper), THE QUEEN’S EULOGY (Toronto Fringe), THE NAILS (SummerWorks), THE LAST FIVE YEARS (Rural Stages Productions), DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS (The Storefront Theatre), THE LISTENING ROOM (NTS), GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES (NTS), FLESH AND OTHER FRAGMENTS OF LOVE (NTS). She is a graduate of the Humber College Theatre Performance program and The National Theatre School directing program.

Andrea Donaldson – Andrea almost exclusively directs and develops new works in Canada. Recent directing credits include Sequence (Tarragon), These Peaceable Kingdoms (NTS), and the following Dora-nominated projects: Quiver (Nightwood Theatre), Within the Glass (Tarragon), Mistatim (Red Sky), The Atomic Weight of Happiness (Theatre Direct), Montparnasse (TPM), Offensive Fouls (Theatre Direct), The Unfortunate Misadventures of Masha Galinski (National tour).

Other recent credits include Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare in the Ruff), Janet Wilson Meets the Queen (GCTC), Soliciting Temptation (Tarragon), Beautiful Man (Summerworks), Une Parcelle de moi… (Espace René-Provost, Gatineau), CLEAVE (NTS), Tyumen Then (Toronto Fringe). Andrea has been honoured with Stratford’s Jean Gascon Award for Direction, has been nominated for the Pauline McGibbon Award & the John Hirsch Directing Award and has received a Dora Award for Outstanding Performance & Production for performing in And By the Way, Miss (Theatre Direct). Andrea was Tarragon Theatre’s Assistant/Associate Artistic Director for four seasons, is going into her fourth season as the Program Director for Nightwood Theatre’s Write From the Hip and is co-Artistic Director of Groundwater Productions with GG Award winning playwright Erin Shields.

NOTE: Nightwood Theatre has made accessibility and inclusivity a top priority. The Groundswell Festival readings will take place at the Ernest Balmer Studio #315, accessible entrance and elevator access via 15 Case Goods Lane – cross the bridge to connect to 9 Trinity on the third level and follow signage to the studio. Please note that the bathrooms at 9 Trinity St. and 15 Case Goods Lane are not barrier-free as they are not automated. We apologize for the inconvenience. For more information, please visit our accessibility page.