Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Whirlwind Weekend

Well, then that happened...

This past weekend (Sept 23 - 25) I had the pleasure and opportunity to attend the Playwrights' Development Centres of Canada, annual meeting and conference, hosted by Maureen Labonte and the Banff Centre for the Arts. On hand were representatives from all of the PDCC's from BC to Atlantic Canada and every province in between. On the morning of the first day every centre was asked to give a report on what their organization was up to and what was happening in their region. I reported on the new initiatives (Prologue, Boot Camp) as well as our other programming (Act One, Act Two, Playwrights Circles) and spoke of our current trend of creating greater structure to all of our programming. Not to toot APN's horn, but honk honk, we have been one of the busiest centres in Canada over the past year both from an organizational standpoint as well as playwriting itself. I received many questions and inquiries about our programs and structures over the weekend ranging from how we work, what we do and how we do it.

Each centre (thanks to the Canada Council/Playwrights' Guild of Canada) was able to bring a writer with them to the conference and the afternoon was spent discussing the work that they were doing within their region. On the second evening we heard excerpts from plays the writers were working on, all of which were amazing and incredibly diverse. From Jenny Munday's new work called Bunk Beds about two young sisters fighting for space as they both grow older to a monologue by Atlantic playwright Ryan Griffith's about a married man who one night rolls over to look in his wife's eyes and falls in love with her. The readings led to a long discussion in the bar that night about how do we get the great plays being written in every region into the hands of producers outside of those regions. I feel that this is a conversation that is going to continue right up to the date of next year's conference.

We had information sessions from Canada Council regarding their new Operational Granting Streams and from the Playwrights' Guild of Canada regarding their new programs and policies. Both incredibly eye opening and interesting. Michelle and I then headed back to Calgary before the conference ended as we had to set up the Playwrights' Guild of Canada Meet and Greet event at the Auburn Saloon, where we were privileged to hear a reading from Brad Fraser of a new work he has in development.

All in all a busy, but fantastic weekend where I got my batteries recharged. I left the weekend thinking that the PDCC organizations are not all that different from the writers we serve. For a year we work in isolation and then emerge from our regional cocoons to greet each other and check in and talk about the work that we've been doing. I find it incredibly reassuring (as I've noticed most playwrights do) when you come out of the basement and chat with others like you and discover that we are all striving to do the same things...write the play or aid the play and that as regional as we may be, we aren't at all different.

Thanks to Heather Inglis our who organized a brilliant weekend.

And now, a nap!!!


Trevor, the ED

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