As if my life wasn’t full enough right now with work, family, and writing, I’ve decided to take on another writing project. This one involving the stage.
The Sudbury Theatre Centre has a playwright-in-residence, Matthew Heti, who has been leading a workshop for new playwrights for the past couple of years. I was interested in applying last year, but due to circumstances couldn’t commit the time.
I did attend last year’s presentation of the playwrights’ work they created during the workshop. Each playwright had a scene from their work read dramatically by actors in front of an audience. I was blown away by the variety of stories that were presented last year and the talent of the writers. I was also impressed with Matthew’s enthusiasm for the work and his support of the developing writers.
So when the call went out for participants for this year’s workshop, I happily applied. I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to see live theatre growing up in the Soo, but that all changed when I moved to Toronto. In addition to seeing some of the bigger productions hosted by hosted at the Royal Alexander and Princess of Wales, I was a frequent visitor of the theatres like Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muarille, Tarragon Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, and Harbourfront’s World Stage. I was fortunate enough to gorge myself on several seasons of The Toronto Fringe Festival, which was like a buffet of live theatre where you could sample different fare from all over. I owe a lot of my Toronto theatre education to my cousin Don, without who I would never have tried such a variety of performances.
I was exposed to so many great actors/playwrights/directors during that time far too many to name here. In my application to the Playwrights’ Junction I did single out a few playwrights, whose work I can’t seem to shake from memory. Daniel MacIvor and his fierce and minimalist one man plays (Henry Lies Here, House, Monster). John Mighton a mathematician who writes witty and thoughtful plays (Possible Worlds, The Little Years) that blends science fiction and human nature in creative and original ways. And finally I had to include Robert LePage (who I’ve seen more of his films than his stage plays), who’s grand visual designs for the stage are incredible.
While I haven’t made a lot of opportunity to see live theatre since moving to Sudbury (almost *cough* 7 *cough* years ago) I am hoping to change that now that my kids are getting older and I am more established in my job.
I received word last week that I was accepted into the Playwrights’ Junction and just last night I attended our first meeting. As Matthew said it was a bit like a first date, with the 8 participants getting to know a little about each other as well as getting a feel for what Matthew has in store for us over the next twelve weeks of the workshop.
It felt a bit like going back to school in a way. The nervousness, excitement, and oh, yes the anxiety. Having a group photo taken on the first day, certainly just added to that atmosphere. I am looking forward to stretching my brain in new ways and getting to work with and be inspired by a group of new artists that bring such a variety of talents and insight to the table.
I hope I’ll be able to share some of my progress with the workshop here on my blog so stay tuned.