Groundswell Festival

Write from the Hip Reading Series
September 24 - 30, 2018

Top Column left to right: Ali Joy Richardson, Meghan Greeley, and Intisar Awisse
Bottom Column left to right: Co-writers Andrea Scott & Nick Green,  Chelsea Woolley, Monica Garrido, and Andrea Donaldson

Readings from our 2017-18 Emerging Playwrights program
Facilitated by Andrea Donaldson
September 24 – 30, 2018
Dancemakers Centre for Creation Theatre Studio #313, The Distillery District
9 Trinity Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 3C4

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

Be the first to hear new work from some of the most exciting emerging female playwrights in the city. The 2017-18 Write from the Hip writers are Intisar Awisse, Monica Garrido, Meghan Greeley, Ali Joy Richardson, Chelsea Woolley, and Andrea Scott in partnership with Nick Green. 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.

NOTE: Nightwood Theatre has made accessibility and inclusivity a top priority. The Groundswell Festival readings will take place at Dancemakers Centre for Creation Mainstage Studio #313, accessible via entrances at 9 Trinity Street and 15 Case Goods Lane. Elevator access to the third floor is possible via 15 Case Goods Lane. 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.

Monday September 24, 6-8PM

We’re kicking off the Groundswell Festival with a 2018-19 Season Launch Party on Monday, September 24th at 6-8pm! Join us for an evening of social revelry in the Dancemakers Centre for Creation Theatre Studio #313, The Distillery District. Free entry and open to all - come discover the highly anticipated upcoming work of Canada’s flagship feminist theatre!

NIGHTWOOD THEATRE’S 2018-19 Groundswell Festival Schedule

Every Day She Rose

Co-written by Andrea Scott and Nick Green
Performed by Amanda Cordner and Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski
Stage Direction by Rochelle Richardson and Assistant Direction by Leah Pritchard

Tuesday, September 25 7:00PM

In a diverse, metropolitan city, two best friends, following their annual tradition of attending the Pride parade, discover they’re no longer on the same page when identity politics and civil disobedience crash the party. Pride goeth before the fall couldn’t be more apt as the personal becomes political with heartbreaking results.


Andrea Scott is an actor, playwright & producer whose play, Eating Pomegranates Naked, won the RBC Arts Professional award at SummerWorks where it was named Outstanding Ensemble, Production. Two years later Better Angels: A Parable won the SummerWorks award for Production and recognized as Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production by NOW Magazine. Don’t Talk to Me Like I’m Your Wife, won the Cayle Chernin Award for theatre in 2016, followed by a successful run at SummerWorks.  Andrea will be the resident artist at bcurrent this season and her collection of plays, Better Angels: A Parable will be published this Fall.

Nick Green a Dora and Sterling award winning playwright whose work has been seen across Canada and in New York. Nick’s recent plays include Body Politic (2017 Dora Award - Outstanding New Play, General Theatre; Buddies in Bad Times/lemonTree Creations); Undercovered (Edmonton Exposure); Poof! The Musical (Capitol Theatre, Sterling Nomination Outstanding New Play); Coffee Dad, Chicken Mom, and the Fabulous Buddha Boi (Guys UnDisguised; recipient of 3 Sterling Awards); and Left Field (Concrete Sprouts Festival). As an actor, Nick has worked with companies such as Buddies in Bad Times, The Cabaret Company, Alberta Theatre Projects, Catalyst Theatre, and Concrete Theatre.


X Marks The Spot

By Monica Garrido
Performed by Arlen Aguayo Stewart, Sofia Rodriguez and Jillian Welsh
Stage Direction by Marina Gomes and Assistant Direction by Rochelle Richardson

Wednesday, September 26 7:00PM

Alex, a writer from Mexico who has just moved to Toronto, is trying to pen the perfect story for the love of her life in the hopes of mending their relationship. At the suggestion of her writing instructor, Alex turns to a Groupon deal on improv classes to help cure her writer’s block. Through her unlikely new hobby, Alex will not only break out of her comfort zone, but will be forced to face the decision that led her to leave Mexico.

Monica Garrido is a human. Her short films Diferente and the horror-comedy Love You to Death had been part of the Toronto LGBT Inside Out Film festival. Her first solo show The Cunning Linguist won the 2016 Queer Acts Audience Award. She is part of the Latinx Drag King Boiband the Boyband. Monica has had the privilege to work with companies such as Aluna Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and Bad Dog Comedy Theatre. She is a member of diverse improv troupes such as The LOL Word, The Kweendom and Kinsey Fail. She is currently part of the Write From The Hip program with Nightwood theatre and the 2018 Second City Diversity Fellowship.

Enormity, Girl, and the Earthquake in Her Lungs

By Chelsea Woolley
Performed by Philippa Domville, Ashley Botting, Sofia Rodriguez, Tamara Podemski, Elena Belyea, Ellie Ellwand and Bahareh Yaraghi
Stage Direction by Arielle Zamora and Assistant Direction by Jasmine Cabanilla

Thursday, September 27 - 7:00PM

Vic has just arrived in a women’s shelter. She has been told to sit on her bed and wait for the police. Sit and wait just eight minutes. Yet eight minutes is an intolerable enormity for a brain in crisis. Vic and the six personified parts of her traumatized brain, struggle to confront what has happened to them, and commit to the refuge offered from a system often designed to remove a victim’s personal agency over her legal, medical, psychological, and economic choices.


Chelsea Woolley is a playwright, theatre maker, and educator. Her work includes: The Mountain (Geordie Productions), These Peaceable Kingdoms (New Words Festival), The Exhibition of Extraordinary Oddities and Living Freaks (Major Matt Mason), The Only Good Boy (Theatre BSMT), and 1000 Names (TheatreXtra). Chelsea’s plays have earned recognition through: The PGC Tom Hendry Awards, The Alberta Playwriting Competition, the Toronto Fringe New Play Contest, and the Wildfire National Playwriting Competition. In 2016, Chelsea attended the Banff Playwright’s Lab and in 2017, the National New Play Network’s MFA Playwright’s Workshop at the Kennedy Centre, in Washington, DC. She is also a member of the inaugural New Creation Unit with Theatre Direct. Chelsea is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Playwriting Program.


By Meghan Greeley
Performed by Libby Osler and David Patrick Flemming
Stage Direction by Ellie Ellwand and Assistant Direction by Max Fearon

Friday, September 28 - 7:00PM

A young woman wants to go to Mars; in her mind, it’s the ultimate penal colony. As she barricades herself in a cottage by the sea and prepares her submission video, she begins to examine her past transgressions, sexuality, shame, and her role in the unravelling of one important friendship –– all to prove that she is the perfect candidate. But there’s a problem: her jaw’s been wired shut for a long time, and she’s having trouble speaking.

Meghan Greeley is originally from Newfoundland and holds a BFA in Theatre (Acting) from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. She currently resides in Toronto, where she is completing an MFA in Screenwriting at York University. She was a 2016 nominee for the RBC Tarragon Emerging Playwrights Prize, and was later a resident of the Tarragon Playwrights Unit, which culminated in a public reading of her latest script, China, in May 2017. Past playwriting credits include Hunger (2015) and Kingdom (2012), which were both produced by White Rooster Theatre and premiered at the LSPU Hall in St. John’s, NL.  Kingdom toured to the Stages Festival in 2013 and was later published in The Breakwater Book Of Contemporary Newfoundland Drama, Vol. 1. Kingdom was later produced by CONTRA, of which Greeley is Co-Artistic Director, at the Tarragon Theatre Workspace in 2016. Her short play Brother, Brother, a winner of the InspiraTO Playwriting Competition, premiered at the Alumnae Theatre in 2015 and was published in the Playwrights Canada Press anthology Long Story Short. Her scripts have been chosen for the RCA Playwriting Series, Cultivate Playwright’s Colony, and twice for the Women’s Work Festival. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Stockholm Review of Literature, Ephemera, Metatron’s Omega, Riddlefence, and Humber Mouths 2. Awards include first prize in the Sparks Literary Festival Poetry Competition and the Magnetic North Playwriting Competition (Under 25).

Painting the Sea

By Intisar Awisse
Performed by Andrea Scott, Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah, Arlene Duncan, Amanda Cordner, Araya Mengesha, Joella Crichton and Shakura Dickson
Stage Direction by Haley Vincent and Assistant Direction by Amanda Lin

Saturday, September 29 - 4:00PM

Zeila is a proud Somali woman with a dream— a dream that will make her rich. When Zeila turns down a job offer in order to pursue her dream, her children think she’s irresponsible. Or that she’s losing her mind. Along with a chorus of aunties who help as much as they harm, Zeila and her fractured family must find their way together or lose each other in an indifferent world.


Intisar Awisse is a writer and editor who divides her time between Waterloo and Toronto. She studied english and publishing and works as a freelance editor. Intisar was member of the The Women’s Room playwrights unit in 2016/17 and her first play, Blackbird, was part of the Impact Theatre Festival in 2017. Intisar is also a proud member of Obsidian Theatre’s Playwrights Unit where she is developing Thing, a play about the failed Canadian peacekeeping mission to Somalia in 1993. In the Write from the Hip program, she is working on Painting the Sea, a new play inspired by Tom Stoppard’s Enter a Free Man that follows the experiences of a Somali-Canadian immigrant family in the early 90s.


By Ali Joy Richardson
Performed by Amanda Cordner, Rick Miller, Meghan Swaby, Richard Lee, Janet-Laine Green, Alicia Richardson and Herbie Barnes
Stage Direction by Max Fearon and Assistant Direction by Emma Welsh
Sunday, September 30 - 4:00PM

Inspired by the only female jester in recorded English history, Jane the Fool. After years of touring wagon plays and performing bar room stand-up comedy, Jane lands her dream job as the Royal Fool. Suddenly, as the King’s confidante, she discovers life in the inner circle is fraught with ethical nightmares. What is the role of the comedian when the world’s on fire? Fool is set in Medieval times, featuring a peasant chorus and thoroughly contemporary language.


Ali Joy Richardson is a director, playwright, and producer, originally from Nova Scotia. She’s the Artistic Producer of Toronto’s Paprika Festival, now in its 18th year of providing training and showcasing to young artists. Ali is in Canadian Stage’s 2018 Director Development Residency and works as a book writer and director with Education Arts Canada, creating touring musicals about mental health for ages 9-12. Ali has made theatre in Edinburgh, Vancouver, Berlin, Halifax, Edmonton, and Toronto, in museums, office buildings, hospitals, defunct record shops, abandoned schools, and harbours. Recent writing: A Bear Awake in Winter (Finalist for the 2018 Safe Words New Canadian Play Award) and How To Be FEARLESS! (With Roxy Roberts), a solo show about a motivational speaker/self-defense coach. Upcoming: Directing In Real Life (by Nick Green & Kevin Wong), a dystopian coming-of-age musical, for the Canadian Music Theatre Project. Ali has dreamed about working with Nightwood since she was a lanky teen on the east coast and is very grateful for the support of Andrea and the Nightwood team. More at:

Our amazing cast members for Groundswell Festival 2018/19:

Left to right:
Column 1: Libby Osler, Joella Crichton, Janet-Laine Green, Andrea Scott, Herbie Barnes
Column 2: Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah, Jillian Welsh, Araya Mengesha, Richard Lee
Column 3: Amanda Cordner, Tamara Podemski, Rick Miller, David Patrick Flemming, Philippa Domville
Column 4: Alicia Richardson, Bahareh Yaraghi, Shakura Dickson, Ashley Botting, Arlen Aguayo-Stewart
Column 5: Arlene Duncan, Ellie Ellwand, Elena Belyea, Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski, Meghan Swaby


Our 2017-18 Write from the Hip Program Facilitator: Andrea Donaldson

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.

Find out more about our new 2018-19 Write From The Hip playwrights here.



Groundswell Festival

We apologize if we have missed someone in the past years of Groundswell Festivals. Please reach out to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to let us know about the missing details.

Groundswell Festival 2017-2018

1st column, from left to right: Andrea Donaldson
2nd column, from left to right, top to bottom: Gitanjali Lena, Michelle Langile and Deanna Kruger
3rd column, from left to right, top to bottom: Hannah Rittner, Elena Belyea, and Lisa Ryder

Groundswell Festival 2016-2017

Top Column from left to right: Jijo Quayson, and Aviva Armour-Ostroff
Bottom Column from left to right: Marcia Walker, Tabitha Keast, and Meara Tubman-Broeren

Groundswell Festival 2015-2016

Top Column from left to right: Anusree Roy, Pearl Chan, Diane Flacks, and Heather Debling
Bottom Column from centre to right: Hillary Rexe, and Rose Napoli

Groundswell Festival 2014-2015

Top Column from left to right: Nicole Brooks, Celeste Percy-Beauregard, Matt Miwa, and Shelley Thompson
Middle Column from left to right: Susanna Fournier and Audrey Dwyer
Bottom Column from left to right: Sally Stubbs, Nicole Moeller, and Julie Tamiko Manning

Groundswell Festival 2012-2013

Top column from left to right: Jenifer Overton, Clara Pasieka, Suvendrini Lena, and Susanna Fournier
Bottom column from left to right: Judith Thompson, Leah-Simone Bowen, Mary Vingoe, and Carmen Aguirre

Groundswell Festival 2011-2012

Some of our Participating Artists:
1st column, from left to right, top to bottom: Mary Vingoe, Brenda Leadlay, and Erica Kopyto
2nd column, from left to right, top to bottom: Jillian Keiley, Maria Goyanes, Clea Minaker, Allegra Fulton, and Jennifer Tremblay
3rd column, from left to right, top to bottom: Susanna Fournier, Nina Lee Aquino, and Joanna Falck
4th column, from left to right, top to bottom: Ron White, Kelly Straughan, Carolyn Hetherington, Judith Thompson, Sarah Dodd
5th column, from left to right, top to bottom: Bahia Watson, Shelley Tepperman, and Kelly Straughan

Groundswell Festival 2010-2011

Left row from top to bottom: Aisha Sasha John, Jordi Mand, and Rose Cullis
Middle rowfrom top to bottom: Aisha Sasha John, Radha S Menon, and Lisa Codrington
Right row from top to bottom: Meghan Swaby, and Natasha Greenblatt

Groundswell Festival 2008-2009

From left to right: Lisa Codrington, Beatriz Pizano, Florence Gibson MacDonald, Madeleine Blais Dalhem, Natalie Meisner, and Sally Stubbs

Groundswell Festival 2007-2008

Top Column left to right: Dennison Smith, Anna Chatterton, Niki Landau, and Stacey Engels
Bottom Column left to right: Erin Sheilds, Marjorie Chan, Sonja Mills, and Lisa Codrington





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