The 2021/22 Write from the hip playwrights

Omolola Ajao (self-portrait)

Omolola Ajao is a Nigerian-Canadian playwright and filmmaker. Existing in the realm of Black realism and magical Black realism, her priority in filmmaking and playwrighting is to create Black interiority and complex emotionality, carefully presenting the specific lives of people she knows and creates. Her first film Prodigal documented three young African women on their burgeoning conceptions of home and screened nationally. Her second film YYZ, was acquired by CBC Gem, and was awarded a Canadian Screen Award. Her third film Fufu, is currently on the festival circuit. From Across The Table is her first play.

Stephanie Fung by Paul Smith

Stephanie Fung (they/she) is an interdisciplinary artist and arts worker who falls somewhere  between their family’s first and second generations on this land, and flat on the understanding  that this land was not meant for her. Upon obtaining her BAH in Drama and Indigenous Studies  from Queen’s University, she joined the Kingston Theatre Alliance as a theatre critic, now Blog  Editor. Select performance credits include: Collider (Single Thread Theatre Company), The  Intangible Queer (YIKES a Theatre Company); Y2Kaper (6am Productions); Christina, the Girl  King (5th Company Lane); Between a Wok and a Hot Pot (Theatre Count); In This World (Theatre  Count); paper SERIES (5th Company Lane); and Concord Floral (Theatre Kingston) 

Juliet Jones-Rodney by Alejandra Deliz

Juliet Jones-Rodney is a Black playwright, singer, songwriter, poet, actor, and social activist born and raised in Toronto, Ontario.  In each project she allows her activism to inform her work and strives to centre identities of Blackness in her writings. Most recently Juliet was a part of the Lacuna Collective featured in the 2021 season of the Next Stage Theatre Festival. As well she was featured in the 2021 Paprika Festival as part of the Playwrights unit. 

Merlin Simard by Mark Binks

Merlin Simard (she/they/iel/elle) is a performer, playwright, dramaturge, and filmmaker originally from Tiohtiá:ke (Montréal) now based in Tkarón:to (Toronto). Her practice focuses on themes of access, gender euphoria, technology, and multilingual performance. They co-founded and co-run, bigT, a theatre collective seeking to uplift intersectional trans* voices. 

Select theatre performance credits: Orlando (Talk Is Free Theatre), E-TRANSFERS (Buddies In Bad Times/bcurrent/NTS), Curious Voyage (Talk Is Free Theatre/DLT), The Flick (Crow’s Theatre/Outside The March), Tape Escape (Outside The March).

TV/Film: Grand Army (Netflix), This Life (CBC). They are developing several projects spanning across theatre and VR with the support of  Theatre Passe Muraille (FEAR OF MEN), Théâtre Français de Toronto (ZADDY ISSUES) and the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal (E-TRANSFERS) amongst others. @limpvvrist 

Jillian Welsh by Dahlia Katz

Jillian Welsh (She/Her/Hers) grew up in Southwestern Ontario before moving to NYC at the peak of the “hipster” moment only to land in Toronto. This has led to a deep and unsettling fear that she will never know “plaid” to be unfashionable. Jillian is a current cast member of the Second City’s national touring company, a Dora nominated actor and cast member of Extravaganza Eleganza, winner of a 2019 Canadian Comedy Award. Selected TV credits include: Baroness Von Sketch Show, Working Moms, TALL Boyz, and Odd Squad. Selected Theatre: Ophelia in Hamlet (American Globe Theatre NYC), ENCORE! (USA National Tour), Sandra in Served (NOW Best Ensemble) and No Place (NOW Outstanding Performance).  Jillian’s stories can be heard on This American Life, CBC’s Love Me and RISK!

Write from the hip Program Director and Program associate

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard by Graham Isador

wfth Program director

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.

Max Cameron Fearon (self-portrait)

wfth program associate

Max Cameron Fearon (they/them) is a queer, non-binary, Mad, and multiply-disabled artist, facilitator, and administrator. Their work often explores how our identities, communities, and experiences help shape our understandings of self and others. Max was a Young Innovator in 2018-2019, and they’re currently collaborating with River Oliveira on a new piece with support from Nightwood and the OAC (“How the Wolf Says Goodnight”). They’re also interning in Artistic Directing with SummerWorks and coordinating Project: Humanity’s PH 1:1 arts mentorship program. Max is excited to continue learning from Donna-Michelle and the Nightwood team as part of WFTH!

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