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Playwright Spotlight: Vancouver, Canada

06.30.12 | 9 Comments


CATEGORIES artistic home, new plays, playwrights, spotlight, talk about what's good, theatrical ecosystem

When I read Howard’s HowlRound article “What’s Wrong with Canadian Theatre” I chuckled to myself. Name five Canadian playwrights? I immediately rattled off five Vancouver playwrights, three of which had shows or workshops produced in the last 12 months that I had been a part of. But if my friends across the border have been unaware of their skill, it’s time to remedy that.

I present to you “Lois’ Quick Primer on Vancouver Playwrights You Should Know.”

Now, as I sat down to write this I became totally overwhelmed with the sheer number of playwrights in Vancouver and want to apologize in advance for anyone I’ve forgotten.Every time I thought the list was done I thought of more people who should be on it, and I’m positive there are still more missing. Please add those I’ve missed in the comments section below.

Sebastien Archibald – Co founder and co-AD of ItsaZoo, Sebastian has written over half the shows the company has produced. His most recent piece, Stay Away From My Boat, @$$hole premiered at the 2011 Vancouver Fringe. Other plays include Chairs: A Parable (2011), Robin Hood (2010), The Road to Canterbury (2009), Grimm Tales (2007/2008), and Casualties of Progress (2008). He is probably most well known for Death of A Clown, which toured from 2006 – 2010.

Peter Boychuk – Most recently, Peter’s play Shelter from the Storm was produced by Touchstone Theatre as a part of their Flying Start program for emerging playwrights. In 2011 his play Fortunate Son was part of the Vancouver Fringe. Other plays include Chainmail Bikini (2007), Afterglow (2005), and a number of 1-acts.

Aaron Bushkowsky – The co-AD of Vancouver’s new play driven Solo Collective, he is probably best known for The Project (2009), My Chernobyl (2008), Soulless (2004), The Dead Reckoning (2002), Strangers Among Us (1998), and most recently After Jerusalem (2012).

Dave Deveau – Although he’s originally from Ontario, Dave has made quite a splash here in Vancouver. Since arriving here he has written and produced Nelly Boy (2007), Map of the West (2008), My Funny Valentine (2009), Tiny Replicas (2010) and the musical Homecoming King which premiered at the 2011 Neanderthal Arts Festival.

Sean Devine – Sean is best known in Vancouver as an actor and co-AD of Horsehoes and Hand Grenades Theatre, but in fall of 2011 he made his debut as a playwright with Re:Union (which is being published in spring by Scirocco Drama). In the meantime, Sean is hard at work as playwright-in-residence at Pi Theatre where he is working on his newest play In the Unlikely Event of War.

Kendra Fanconi – Kendra is the co-AD of The Only Animal, for whom she has written numerous site-specific works including NiX (2010), The One that Got Away (2002), and Other Freds (2005).

Lucia Frangione – I’ve had the privilege to work on a handful of Lucia’s plays, but not with her yet. Some of her plays include Holy Mo! (1999), Christmas on the Air, Cariboo Magi (2001), Espresso (2003), MMM (2004), Paradise Garden (2010), and Fresco (2012). In spring 2013 her newest play, Leave of Absence will premiere at Pacific Theatre.

Megan Gardiner – Megan’s 1-woman show Dissolve has been touring North America since 2003. Since then she has also written Blind Spot, and Role Call, both commissioned by Green Thumb Theatre for Young People.

Anosh Irani – Anosh was born in India, but moved to Vancouver in 1998. Since moving here he has written The Matka King (2003), Bombay Black (2006), and My Granny the Goldfish (2010).

Hiro Kanagawa – Another import to Vancouver, Hiro is originally from Japan. He has written Tiger of Malaya (2003) and The Patron Saint of Stanley Park (2010).

Kevin Kerr – The co-founder and current AD of The Electric Company Theatre with whom he has written or co-written a number of plays including Brilliant!: The Blinding Enlightenment of Nikola Tesla (1998, 2003) ,The Wake (1999), The Score (2000), Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (2001); Flop (2002);The Fall (2003); Studies in Motion: The Hauntings of Eadweard Muybridge (2009); and Tear the Curtain (2010). In 2002 he won the Governor General’s award for Unity (1918) but my first introduction to Kevin as a playwright was 2007’s Skydive.

Shawn MacDonald – Shawn’s plays include Demon Voice (2009), Prodigal Son (2006 Jessie award for outstanding original script), and World’s Greatest Guy.

Sean Minogue – Sean has just left Vancouver for Toronto, but I’m going to lay claim to the two plays he wrote while here in Vancouver: Prodigals and Us & Everything We Own.

Ron Reed – Ron is the founder and AD of Pacific Theatre. His plays include Book of the Dragon (1997), Tent Meeting, Bright Particular Star (2006), Refuge of Lies (produced off-broadway in 2008), You Still Can’t, Dreams of Kings & Carpenters, and Remnant.

Michele Riml – Michele’s work has been seen on stages of all sizes in Canada and the US. Her plays for young audiences include Souvenirs, Cool, The Invisible Girl, The Skinny Lie, RAGE, & Tree Boy. Other plays include Under the Influence, Sexy Laundry (produced in Britain, South Africa, USA & Germany), Poster Boys (2008), and most recently Henry & Alice: Into the Wild (2012) at the Arts Club.

Marcus Youssef – Marcus is the co-AD of Vancouver’s Neworld Theatre and has written plays including True Lies (with Guillermo Verdecchia) (1993), The Adventures of Ali & Ali and the Axis of Evil (with Guillermo Verdecchia & Camyar Chai) (2004), A Line in the Sand (with Guillermo Verdecchia) (1996), Ali & Ali: The Deportation Hearings (with Verdecchia and Chai) (2010), Otherwise Occupied (2001). In Spring 2013 his newest play, How Has My Love Affected You will premiere at The Arts Club.

Lois Dawson

Lois is a freelance stage manager based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.Her work has taken her across Canada and to Zurich, Switzerland. She works with the Vancouver Fringe Festival, the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards Society, and is a youth mentor through the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. She can be found online at www.loisbackstage.com.
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  • http://twitter.com/LuciaFrangione Lucia Frangione

    xo Lois! I’m in good company! xo

  • http://adewade.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    Great write-up, Lois! We are indeed blessed with a lot of talent around town.

  • Heidi Taylor

    Thanks for the starter list, Lois – I’d like to add the PTC Associates: Tim Carlson, Jan Derbyshire, Jenn Griffin, Jordan Hall, Lisa C. Ravensbergen and Jeremy Waller. I would also add Kevin Loring, Adrienne Wong, Quelemia Sparrow, Chris Gatchalian, Sally Stubbs… and all of PTC’s local members. 

  • Heidi Taylor

    …and Carmen Aguirre! Also, just a note – Touchstone works with PTC as the development partner for Flying Start; and PTC has developed the work of nine of the writers in your first list! 

    • http://www.loisbackstage.com Lois Dawson

      Hey Heidi – Thanks so much for adding to the list! I was certain I missed people.

      Does PTC have a list or database of people that includes some information about the genres and styles of plays that our local playwrights write?

  • Jason

    Great list – would be nice to see some descriptors for the styles of each writer.

  • Star2be86

    I’m glad to see the names of the playwrights and their works so I may check them out but what the other article was stating was that we Americans hear nothing of these plays or playwrights. We need more of it in the USA.

    • http://www.davidjloehr.com/ David J. Loehr

      Exactly.  That’s why we’ve started this series.  And it’s not just going to focus on Canadian cities either.  But this is just a first step.  

  • http://rvcbard.blogspot.com RVCBard

    Holy crap! I might have to move.


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