Write From The Hip is a year-long script development program designed to support new writers through mentorship, one-on-one dramaturgy, developmental workshops and readings, all working towards the completion of a full length play. We look for playwrights who self-identify as having lived experience that is touched by womanhood – this could include but is not limited to trans, cis, 2S and non-binary folks – and are emerging in their careers. There is no age limit, though playwrights are only eligible if you have never received a professional production. Playwrights may apply with a script at any stage in development.

Nightwood Theatre has a long history of producing socially relevant, provocative theatre. Our vision is to be a gateway for women in Canadian Theatre, propelling them to the top of their craft. 

The Write From The Hip Program is generously supported by the RBC Emerging Artists Project.

Meet the 2020/21 Write from the Hip Program Playwrights:

Anahita Dehbonehie is an Iranian creator and installation artist. Currently based in Toronto, her practice is founded on the principle that truths are communicated most powerfully through evocative sensory experiences. She is drawn specifically to work that questions form and content while creating space for contemporary conversation. The evolving relationship between participant, creator and the exchange of ideas is what draws her to the art of live performance.  She is inspired by community, rigor and deep gratitude.

Celia Green is a queer performer, performance creator, and choreographer working at the intersection of dance and theatre. Her solo show, Wah Wah Wah, premiered at SummerWorks 2019, where she received the Theatre Centre Emerging Artist Award, and was also presented at the 2020 Wildside Festival in Montreal. Her growth and learning has been greatly shaped by The Paprika Festival, the AMY Project and La Pocha Nostra. Celia’s work attempts to open up the space that exists between text and movement. She is a choreographer for adelheid dance’s re:research, and is part of Kaeja d’Dance’s Open Circuit mentorship.

First-generation Nikkei-Canadian settler Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 (they/them) is a queer, gender non-binary opera singer and multi-disciplinary theatre creator. They combine opera, theatre, and taiko in their artistic practice through their original works including the Butterfly Project and Yoru: 夜の奇妙, or The Queer* of the Night. Most recently praised as “an artist with extraordinary things to say” (The Globe and Mail) for over a decade Teiya has performed both traditional and contemporary operatic roles such as Madama Butterfly (Windsor Symphony) to their original work The Queen In Me, set to premiere in 2021. Teiya is a also a co-founder of Amplified Opera, Queer AF Collective, and founder of the Vocal Dōjō.

Breton Lalama is a queer, trans enbie human person who does lots of different things. They combine mediums to encourage sociopolitical dialogue and bring attention to the absurdities present in everyday “normality”. They really like tomato soup.

As a stand up, accordion playing comedian: Yuk Yuks Halifax; Comedy Bar Toronto; The Rivoli Toronto; Toronto Sketchfest.

As an actor: 2020 Merrit Award Nominee; 2018 Emerging Artist Award (Theatre Ontario); 2014 Broadway World Award; Neptune Theatre; Winter Garden Theatre; First Ontario PAC; Toronto Center for the Performing Arts; Hair National Tour. Upcoming: first transmasc human to play Riff Raff (Neptune Theatre).

Headshot of Kitoko Mai.

Kitoko Mai (Kit for Short) is a Black, Non-binary, disabled emerging multidisciplinary performance artist, media artist, and community artist.  They’re a  graduate of the Theatre/ Film studies and Multimedia studies at McMaster University (which they both love and regret) and the APT program at Generator (currently no regrets). Kit’s primarily interested in creating performance-based work that challenges the notion of binaries, and explores lateral violence and power dynamics within marginalized communities.  Their work is rooted in social justice, anti-oppression, accessibility, #femmeaesthetics, and the pursuit of messiness. It’s best described as a chaotic poetic collage. 

Nikki Shaffeeullah is a theatre-maker, director, writer, facilitator, equity worker,and community-engaged artist. Her work has included serving as Artistic Director of The AMY Project (2015-2019); Editor-in-Chief of alt.theatre: cultural diversity and the stage (2012-2016); Assistant Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre (2015-2017); and as a founding member of Confluence Arts Collective. She is currently part of Why Not Theatre’s ThisGen Fellowship, and is an alumni of Canadian Stage’s Director Development Residency. Nikki holds an MFA from the University of Alberta and is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. A queer Indo-Guyanese settler born and living in Tkaronto, Nikki’s work is informed by a family who loves music, puns, justice, and food. She believes art should disrupt the status quo, centre the margins, engage with the ancient, dream of the future, and be for everyone.

Our 2020-21 Write from the Hip Program Director: Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

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.

OUR 2020-21 Write from the Hip Program Associate:
Faly mevamanana

Headshot of Faly Mevamanana in front of a pink background.

Faly Mevamanana is a Dora-nominated actor and emerging dramaturge, currently splitting her time between Toronto and Vancouver. She began her career studying Musical Theatre at The Randolph College for the Performing Arts. Some of her favourite performing credits include The Dreamcatchers at The Charlottetown Festival, Peter Pan at Neptune Theatre, and starring as Juno in Juno’s Reward at the Grand Theatre.

In the last year, Faly has been developing her dramaturgical ability, on both the stage and screen. She has shadowed renowned dramaturges such as Stephen Colella at Young People’s Theatre, Mary Francis Moore with the Musical Stage Company’s Launchpad program, and is currently finding mentorship as a writer through BIPOC film.

Faly has a passion for uplifting mixed race and underrepresented voices. She is excited for the opportunity to work with the extraordinary leadership at Nightwood Theatre, and such an incredible cohort of writers.

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