Thursday, 10 October 2013

PlayWorks INK 2013

Well, that happened!!!

It was a pretty amazing weekend of networking, exchanging ideas and being immersed in art and theatre making.

First of all a huge thank you to all of our sponsors, funders and supporters who helped to bring this conference to life.
  • Theatre of the New Heart - sponsor of Robert O'Hara's Masterclass
  • US Consulate - sponsor of Robert O'Hara's Masterclass
  • The Banff Centre - sponsor of Kelly Robinson's class
  • Environmental Refuelling Systems - Student Bursary Sponsor
  • Shell Theatre of Fort Saskatchewan - Student Bursary Sponsor
Where to begin?  

How about being in the presence of Mr. Christopher Plummer as he spoke eloquently and openly about his process and what it is to be an actor. Followed up by a stunning reading of "Last Chance Leduc" by Katherine Koller (winner of the 2013 APC). And that was a half day on day 1!!

I had the great fortune of being able to participate in our playwriting masterclass instructed by Mr. Robert O'Hara, called "Facing The Rewrite". His class was not about how to rewrite, but rather provided exercises and new ways of approaching the material, with an eye to breaking through those blocks. It certainly opened my eyes and has altered the way that I will approach the work from here on in. Through the two days, Mr. O'Hara gave each playwright a specific re-writing assignment which he assigned as a way of addressing a specific problem or as a way of forcing a writer to see the work in a new way. We will be publishing the list of rewriting assignments he took the writers through on our website. 

Robert admitted that he didn't have that much familiarity with Canadian playwriting, but stated to the group at the final wrap-up "If this [group] is an indication of the quality of writing and writer in this country, you guys are in good hands."

Saturday night, we were once again in the presence of greatness. Mr. Christopher Plummer performed some of his favourite pieces of Shakespearean text set to the music which was inspired by the writings of the Bard. The only way to describe it would be to state that it was like watching Beethoven play the harpsichord. A master effortlessly sharing his mastery. 

While I didn't have a chance to attend any of the other sessions, I heard nothing but great things about Kelly Robinson's Musical Theatre classes, Sharon Pollock's class on Storytelling and Narrative, Leah Cherniak's class on Director as Experimenter and Chris Craddock's sessions on Solo Creation. 

The Banff Centre was extraordinary as it always is. Not only is the setting unbelievable, but the staff and support they provided to APN and Theatre Alberta was second to none. A huge thank you to Casey, Allanah & Heloise and all of the other staff that make that center the place every artist needs to come to.

I would also like to thank Keri, Frazer, Aaron & Maura and everyone else from Theatre Alberta. They are truly the best partners one could hope to work with. And to Michelle and Tracy and all of the APN board who attended and assisted at the conference, the conference couldn't have happened without your work and brilliance. 

I had an opportunity to wrap up Robert's masterclass and asked everyone what they were going to take away from the weekend. When it came to me to speak, I shared the following; "As APN is facing some challenges, I've been asking myself 'What is it as an organization that we do and who do we do it for?'. Sitting in this room with this group of playwrights, I am reminded that you are who we do it for and this is what we do." 

You don't often get to see the fruits of your labours, but looking around that room I saw 18 playwrights that I have worked with and grown with, that APN has cultivated. The Banff Centre describes itself (accurately so) 'the largest arts incubator in the world'. If The Banff Centre is an incubator, APN is a cultivator. We prepare the soil and nutrients so that our members can plant themselves, take root and grow. This weekend reminded me why I'm holding the tiller.

Our organization has some challenges ahead and the support of our membership is going to be paramount to our continued success and growth.  We love working for you and we need you working for us. We encourage you to donate what you can, be that a financial donation, a donation of time or a donation of information. Fundraising is our major focus at the moment and if you have any thoughts on potential sponsors or leads, foundations or grants we can apply for, let us know. 

See you in 2015 for the 11th PlayWorks INK Conference...planning is already underway...

Monday, 7 October 2013

A Week in the Life by Marylou Gammans

Marylou holds a BFA with specialization in acting from Concordia University as well as a B.Ed. from University of Calgary. Having taken a hiatus from the theatre world for almost twenty years she is back in the form of a playwright. In an earlier rendition of her life she acted both on stage and for film/T.V. Her interest in teaching began when she taught mask work as a means of communicating with psychologically challenged children at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. She later continued this work as an Artist in Residence for numerous high schools. When not writing, Marylou is busy substitute teaching at the Francophone school Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys or simply enjoying family life with her husband and three kids.

Marylou recently had her play "Early Retirement" workshopped and read at Lunchbox Theatre, we asked her to share a few thoughts as a relatively new playwright experiencing the workshop/public reading process in a professional setting.

One early Friday morning in May the phone rang and I mentally prepared myself as I  answered it to  hustle into work as a substitute teacher.Increasingly playwriting had been on my radar moving slowly away from the hobby designation and toward, do I dare say it, the professional realm, yet not so seasoned was I as to expect a call. As I approached the phone I saw the words LUNCHBOX THEATRE dancing across the display ! I almost lost it, but then composed myself and casually picked up the phone. It was Glenda Stirling direct! “ I am calling with news to make your day……” I hung up the phone and then proceeded to lose it! I thought, wow! She chose my play, my words, my ideas for the Suncor Stage One Lunchbox Festival of New Work. Early Retirement was slated to be workshopped for a week in June with professional actors and a professional director. Hmmmm... I started thinking... what does that make me? Nahh!

Day One: I woke up on the morning of June 21st with optimism. Bearing a smile ear to ear  I walked down the hill  toward the train to go to work. I felt like I was really moving toward something great ; imagine going to your  “job” in downtown Calgary with your colleagues being theatre artists.Though I was trained as an actor and had worked professionally in the past, 20+ years had gone by. I had to pinch myself. I was reacquainted with Duval Lang,  met Darcy Dunlop and gave Val Pearson a great big hug. Glenda knew that the two of us went way back and felt it to be a good fit all round. She was right. It was like being with family but with all the lousy stuff removed. Comfortable, productive, respectful and purposeful. That was the sentiment each day we worked together. Structure, structure, structure and problems….that’s what I came home with to work on after the first day.

Day Two:  I knew the routine by now. Read, confusion, discuss, notes, read again. Script doubles back. Rework pages. Find the emotional arc.Transitions. Everything Trevor Rueger, my amazing dramaturg had taught me, but this was in double time. Daily deadlines rather than self imposed weekly or even bi-monthly! Realizations - I could meet the challenge with focus and effort and, I had no personal attachment to the piece. It was no longer mine but a collaboration. Everybody plays their part - how hokey is that! It’s true though. It was almost more exciting than writing the piece. Actually it was more exciting! Definitely. The knowledge that two fabulous actors would read my words the next day created the carrot I needed to make it through the many hours of intensive rewrites that night.  

Day Three: This is the day that all goes south. It also happened to be the day that Glenda listened to the entire script!  The reading was off, the timing, my patchwork quilt  of dialogue had many loose strings. The jokes were flat, the character Carol a shrew and I felt like I’d have to start from scratch! It was all good though. I didn’t lose my head because that’s not my nature and funny enough, my composure was noted. I was surprised, but I think it came back to realising that this is my job, a great and fun job, so get the job done. There was no emotion needed. Val helped by always giving very clear and precise notes as to what approach to take for the evening rewrite. She never wanted me to attack the script on too many fronts at the same time. I think her calm demeanor led to a very manageable rewrite every night and in turn a very productive following day.

Day Four: Scenes to cut and paste; lines to rearrange and some to say goodbye to forever. I had a scene that transformed from a romantic dinner for two, to a home renovation project. The need was for Simon to do something for his wife but also to be completely underfoot. Duval suggested it, I accepted it. The writing challenge became staging a reno project in a small space and time frame. This ended up being a much better choice for the play. More timing issues, and lot’s of rewrites which had me, for the first time during this week of intensive writing, staying up until three in the morning. I felt satisfied yet intensely nervous about Friday as I headed to bed that evening completely absorbed by this experience to the exclusion of almost everything else. I knew that there was flooding in Canmore but not the extent of it. No time for news, not this week!

Day Five: The phone rang at 8:20 am. Glenda was on the phone and informed us that Mayor Nenshi had just encouraged people not to go downtown in preparation for flooding. Glenda made the call to cancel the remaining three readings in a responsible choice that would have become in the hours to follow an inevitable choice as the downtown officially closed down  due to an unfathomable flooding event. It remained closed for almost a week yet with the devastation clean up  ongoing to this day.  

Summer rolled on by and Glenda met with me to discuss rewrites for the potential reading to come in the fall. I rewrote threading in various ideas through the play to create a more cohesive flowing script.I resubmitted and through the use of Glenda’s magic wand, she was able to get three readings, three playwrights, three directors and five or six actors along with technical staff together for a staging of these plays in September; three months to the day from when they were slated!  My play Early Retirement was met with resounding applause and post play discussion to the point where Glenda kindly asked if we could continue the discussion in the hallway so that the technical staff could go home! After getting home, my daughter Elise asked why I was holding my head the whole time. I didn’t think I was but I can say that I felt like I was with a child at the dentist.  I sat nervously not knowing what to expect yet knowing that no matter the outcome, it wasn’t life or death, just uncomfortable at worst. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all! My mantra. Turned out that my “baby” had no cavities; needed a good cleaning but no major dental work for now.

Not long after that incredibly fortunate experience, I met a woman who asked what I do for work and I caught myself saying , “ I’m a playwright and a teacher.” It’s been a great ride and I feel blessed to have had this opportunity and like anything good, it’s hard to stop at one! I’ll keep balancing the teaching which I love to do with what is becoming increasingly satisfying; creating dialogue.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Tom Form and the Speed of Love

by Gordon Pengilly

I’ll be going into rehearsals soon for my play Tom Form And The Speed Of Love which is being produced by New York’s Broad Horizons Theatre Company for the Edmonton Fringe. I haven’t had a fringe show for more than a decade, and though I’ve had several of them over the years I’ve never been involved in any of the productions. As for this one, I’m deeply involved.

My relationship with Broad Horizons goes back to 2010 when they workshopped my play Flesh & Ghost and showcased it at the Manhattan Theatre Club which was pretty exciting. It was one of those Who You Know situations. A close friend had become literary manager of Broad Horizons and gave my play to A.D. Lewis Magruder to read. Their mission is to develop and promote promising new scripts, and, while producing readings is at the core of their work, they will occasionally do full productions too. Like so many small theatres down there, they don’t mount seasons per se. They don’t receive any grants so they spend a lot of time raising money from investors and private donations toward the production of a single play which can take quite a while. The idea behind the reading of Flesh & Ghost was to attract a co-producer or some more development opportunities. It was an invited audience of theatre professionals and while it didn’t pan out, or hasn’t yet, it was still a great experience. Lots of good feedback. Good feedback builds belief and without belief you’re sunk anyway.

Meanwhile, I had this other play Tom Form And The Speed Of Love which I’d adapted from my own radio drama that Bill Lane produced in Toronto back in 1996. We workshopped the script ten years later at Factory Theatre and read it for Ken Gass, particularly, hoping he’d take it on, which he didn’t, and the project took a nap for another seven years. Actually, I’d pretty much given up on it until Lewis asked me what else I had going on and I showed him the script. Well, it just so happened he was coming to the Edmonton Fringe (this was two years ago) to do some research for a piece he was writing on fringes and their function in the development of new plays and we planned to meet there. After two or three conversations, we decided to target Tom Form for the Edmonton Fringe as a step toward a New York production in a year or two.

Producing a play for the fringe, I’m finding, is rigorous and time-consuming, made even harder by having a producer/director from out-of-town. We thought it essential to hire someone from Calgary with some fringe experience to help us pull it together and that became Jacqueline Russell (Evergreen, Urban Curvz) who’s been great. Soon after that, I approached my old friend and collaborator Jan Randall from Edmonton to compose the music for the show. This was followed by a blizzard of emails, Skypes and conference calls between Calgary, New York and Edmonton, then a workshop of the script in New York to get me going on a vital rewrite. On that note, I can’t say their workshop process or dramaturgy is much different than what we do in Canada: all the same questions are asked. If anything, for us anyway, it seems more intense than most of the workshops I’ve had up here because the stakes are so high. Every dollar and hour spent on the project is very meaningful and crucial. As I write this, we’re in really good shape. We have a great cast, designer, composer, stage manager, costumer and the script is ready for rehearsals.

If all goes as planned, it’ll be my third production in the Big Apple though this one would be much different. My first one, Hardhats And Stolen Hearts, a co-creation with Theatre Network, was at the tail-end of a tour and the second one, The Work Play, was part of a small one-act festival, neither of which I had anything to do with and the risks were low. As a direct result of that production, The Work Play was made into a short film which does say a lot for exposure down there, though. I don’t want to put a hex on Tom Form (but here I go anyway) if the play doesn’t do well at the fringe then this chance at a New York production probably shrinks a lot as nobody will invest in a show that doesn’t promise some returns. So I hope my play does well; I believe it will. After all is said and done, hope is all you have. Lots of hope is akin to belief and lots of belief is something like a promise. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. See you in Edmonton in August for our cool offering:

A scornful private detective decides to help a strange woman recover her memory. When the trail leads him into his own dark past he is forced to dig deep to let love back into his life while finding a way to win the impossible day. A film noir post-apocalyptic hybrid with original music and songs Tom Form And The Speed Of Love navigates the street-life of two teenagers and asks us to consider the existence of angels.

Playwright, Gordon Pengilly; producer/director, Lewis Magruder; associate producer, Jacqueline Russell; composer, Jan Randall; stage manager, Olivia Brooks; designer, Anton DeGroot; costume designer, Shannyn Dowsett; featuring Brian Jensen, Natascha Girgis, Andy Curtis, Cassidy Waring and Matt McKinney.

Tom Form and the Speed of Love performing at the EDMONTON FRINGE FESTIVAL.  Dates and ticket information can be found here.

Watch the TRAILER!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Flood Update - July 10, 2013

What a humbling and earth shattering experience the last few weeks has been. The APN offices and myself remained outside of the flood zone and while Michelle Kneale was also safe from the flooding, the power to her apartment building needed to be shut off for a number of days in a row and she was evacuated from downtown. Compared to the devastating losses suffered by others we experienced what could only be called a “minor inconvenience”.
 I just got off the phone with a member playwright who also resided out of the worst hit areas and we were both reflecting on the wave of feelings and emotions we went through in the early days of the emergency. We both were struck with feelings of helplessness and anxiety, as we knew that our city was being devastated and there was nothing we could do. Sitting at my home, looking at dry pavement knowing that 12 blocks away basements were being flooded, homes destroyed and lives were being drastically changed left me feeling guilty for being spared.
In the days that followed when people were able to move about the city and begin to provide assistance I was humbled by two things; the resilience of our city and the selfless spirit of Albertans. You have all heard stories of volunteerism and charity but I want to relate a personal account that made me really take stock of things. My wife Shari and I went into one of the worst hit areas to assist a colleague who was in one of the worst hit areas of town. I spent three hours in the basement assisting in pulling out furniture, carpet and personal belongings that had been destroyed beyond recognition. Someone was trying to lift a dresser and asked for help. I introduced myself to him and he told me his name was Joe. We couldn’t lift the dresser so pulled out the drawers to lighten the load when we discovered water in the top drawer. Joe, others, and myself continued pulling out the detritus overfilling two industrial refuse bins.  When the final task of removing the carpet was completed, there was nothing left for us to do. Joe and I stood around drinking water and I asked him how he knew the homeowner. Was he related? A neighbour? A friend? Joe said, “I don’t know them. Could you introduce me? I know a couple of great contractors who might be able to help them rebuild.” I introduced Joe to the homeowners; he gave them a couple of phone numbers, grabbed his tools and walked across the street to see if they needed a hand. 
While the clean up and restoration continues we are able to see the physical damages wrought by the flooding. But there are going to be intangible consequences brought about by this disaster that will continue to have a long lasting effect on Albertans and the Alberta arts community. There will be loss of revenues brought about by program cancellations, loss of venues and declining ticket sales as our audiences have been economically impacted as well. One has to expect that private sector and donor funding will also be impacted as many of our great corporate citizens and philanthropists devote resources to much needed flood relief.  Arts organizations whose resources were already stretched to capacity will need to reallocate resources to simply get back to business. Those that suffered physical losses or damage are the organizations that are most in need of assistance but in the longer term, even those not-for-profits that were not directly affected will feel an indirect effect.  The landscape has changed both literally and figuratively and will remain altered for many years to come.
As the immediacy of the events, like the flood waters, recede into memory, there will continue to be a need in this city and southern Alberta and we artists will be there to help by doing the what we do best, entertaining. Art provides us with the opportunity to escape, to reflect and to provide a voice to thoughts we are incapable of expressing. It gives us a place to commune and share and during the months and ahead, hopefully a place where you can leave the struggle behind for a few hours of unbridled enjoyment. You can’t spell “cathartic” without “art” which is why southern Alberta needs artists now more than ever. We will continue to support in whatever way we can and hope that eventually you can support in any way you can.

For more information on Calgary Arts Flood Rebuild, go to

P.S. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the citizens of High River as they begin the long process of recovery.

Also another thank you and shout out to all of the first responders, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Calgary City Council and anyone else who worked tirelessly and put their lives at risk in the early stages of the emergency.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

And the nominees are....

Congratulations to the following APN Members for their Sterling Award Nominations!

Outstanding New Play (award to playwright)
Let The Light Of Day Through, by Collin Doyle (Theatre Network)*
Flight of the Viscount, by David Belke (Shadow Theatre)

Outstanding Independent Production
The Passion of Mary (Passion Project)*

Outstanding Production for Young Audiences
Smokescreen (Concrete Theatre)

Outstanding Artistic Achievement, Theatre for Young Audiences
Mieko Ouchi, Director, Smokescreen (Concrete Theatre)

Outstanding Fringe New Work (award to playwright)
Von Mitterbrink’s Second by David Belke (ACME Theatrical Showcase)

Outstanding Fringe Director
Amy DeFelice, Mojo Mickybo (Orange Cat Theatre)

*denotes plays that have been developed with the assistance of Alberta Playwrights' Network

For the complete list of nominations, click here

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Congratulations to APN Members!

Writers' Guild of Alberta Literary Awards

Congratulations to these APN Members for being shortlisted for Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama. 

Col Cseke (Calgary) – Jim Forgetting, Verb Theatre
Dave Kelly (Calgary) – Dad’s Piano, Lunchbox Theatre

In addition, Julia Seymour (Stony Plain) has been shortlisted for the Amber Bowerman Memorial Travel Writing Award with her work “Professions of Love Across the Seine.” 


2013-2014 Season Announcements

Congratulations to APN Member Ellen Close whose work (co-written with Braden Griffiths) will be presented by Downstage Theatre

ENDANGERED SPECIES MY FAMILY AND OTHER by Ellen Close and Braden Griffiths
adapted from the novel Amphibian by Carla Gunn
directed by Simon Mallett

April 23-26 & April 29-May 3, 2014

Nine-year-old Phineas William Walsh has an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. What he doesn't understand, though, is why his parents can't live together - after all, when other mate-for-life animals have a fight, it's not like one of them just packs his bags and leaves the country. To make things to-infinity worse, Phin is worried sick about what humans are doing to the planet, and his mother is worried sick about him. So, when a White's tree frog ends up in an aquarium in his fourth-grade classroom, it's the last straw, and he stages an elaborate rescue. 


Congratulations also to Neil Fleming and Dave Kelly whose plays are part of the next Lunchbox Theatre season!

The After Party
By Neil Fleming
Directed by Aaron Coates
Nov 25 — Dec 21 2013
The only time worse than New Year’s Eve to be dateless is the office Christmas party. How can you “celebrate the season” when you have no family or partner to be with? The IT guy and the cleaning lady, both working late after the party, attempt to make a connection in this heartwarming tale of the madness and magic of the holiday season.
Dad, Day 1By Dave KellyDirected by Rebecca Northan
Mar 31— Apr 19 2014
Standing in the hospital parking lot after the birth of his first child, Dave realises that he has no idea where he parked, and no crib built for his new son at home! Dave explores the awe and terror of being a new father as he re-examines his own upbringing in a very conservative Catholic family.
And finally, congratulations to Mieko Ouchi whose play The Red Priest will be produced by Alberta Theatre Projects!

The Red Priest  (Eight Ways to Say Goodbye)
by Mieko Ouchi
Directed by Vanessa Porteous

April 29 – May 17, 2014
In the French court of Louis XV, an aristocrat in full bloom and a wilting Antonio Vivaldi must work together to impress the court. Can she learn to play the violin in only six weeks? Can Vivaldi teach her? Their lessons grow beyond the notes on the page as the unlikely pair discovers new inspiration in each other. Set to Vivaldi’s passionate music, with the beauty, fragility and barely controlled fervour of a French garden, this is the 10th Anniversary production of Calgary-born Mieko Ouchi’s romantic play.

The Red Priest was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Drama and winner of the Canadian Authors Association’s Carol Bolt Prize.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

In the year 2013...

If you are under 30, this will make no sense to you...but it's still pretty cool. I was born in 1970, which makes me 42 years of age. In terms of technological advances, here's what I have witnessed in my lifetime.

Cel phones - my dad had one of the first cel phones in the 80's. It weighed about 3 lbs., was the size of a Fiat, had a battery life of about five minutes and you couldn't save "contacts" (your phonebook was an actual phonebook.) In thirty years we now have cel phones that can do everything and have more memory than my first home computer.

Home computers - My first home computer was an Atari 800 with a cassette tape drive. I could program in basic and spent many hours writing code I could save to my tape drive. It would take about the same amount to program my computer as it did to save my program...and all I made was a square. It had 16KB of RAM (not MB, GB or TB) and a 1.7 MHz processor. Right now I'm on a two year old iMac with 4 GB of RAM and a 3.06 GHz processor capable of running the 12 programs I currently have open. My iPhone 5 looks like Big Blue in comparison of my first computer.

The Internet - I remember when the internet was first was called a fax machine!!! In the land before the internet and the Google search, a bar argument was not solved instantaneously. Sometimes it would take days, even weeks, to confirm if Sigourney Weaver ever made a movie with Pauly Shore. You can now stream movies online...instead of asking your mom to make a special trip to the video store in the hopes of being lucky enough to get the one Beta copy of The Dark Crystal. The reason I can quote every line from the original Arthur with Dudley Moore is because I was never lucky enough. ("You must have hated that moose.")

For those of you wondering "What the hell is Grampa is on about?!?", here it comes.

APN has gone digital. This year for the first time in its history, APN is sending the jury of the Alberta Playwriting Competition the entries on e-readers. Thanks to a generous donation last year by an anonymous donor, we were able to purchase Kobo e-readers for the jury and the staff at APN. What does that really mean? See below.

This is what we used to send to the 3 member jury.

That is over 6000 sheets of paper. Multiply that by three jurors and that's...I'll wait for you to open the Calculator app on your phone...that's right...18,000 sheets of paper that get read once and recycled.

This is what we are sending to the 3 member jury this year.

Tracy, Michelle and myself all have Kobo e-readers as well and as of January of this year, we are reading all of our script submissions on our e-readers. The only time we print/photocopy scripts anymore is for actors to read in workshops. Maybe it's the Chinook winds, but I like to think that the trees are bowing at us in recognition of our green initiative.

When I first proposed this initiative I thought it was going to be fairly simple. I pitch this great green idea and a sponsor would immediately step up. Not the case. I thought there must be grants for green initiatives and this would get selected outright. Not the case. There are a number of organizations out there that will certify your green initiative, but in my research there aren't any organizations out there interested in funding a green initiative.

It took three years until I finally found a private donor supportive of the idea and I thank her for her generosity and belief in the organization. She was a great supporter of the work we do here.

Now I am going to start working on getting APN a company car. I expect this initiative to take a while as well, but at least when we do get a company car it will be one of those flying cars we were promised in the 1970's.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

APN Member Profile: Michelle Kennedy

Michelle is director, writer, and producer from Edmonton. Recent writing credits include Apocalypse: A Period Piece (with Chris Craddock); The Tornado!: A Musical Prairie Tragicomedy (Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Mischief and Mayhem Theatre); The Flood: A Disaster Story (Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Mischief and Mayhem Theatre). Recent directing credits include: Apocalypse: A Period Piece (Edmonton Fringe); PornStar.USA (Sterling Award Nomination, Outstanding Fringe Production), The Tornado!: A Musical Prairie Tragicomedy, The Flood: A Disaster Story (Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Mischief and Mayhem Theatre); Shhhh! (Swallow-A-Bicycle) Coffee Dad, Chicken Mom and the Fabulous Buddha Boi (Guys Undisguised/Mischief and Mayhem Theatre, Sterling award for Best New Fringe Play) in both Edmonton and New York City; Willkommen in Spreepark (Mischief and Mayhem Theatre); and UBU ROI: A Grotesque Burlesque (Mischief and Mayhem Theatre). Michelle is in her fourth season at One Yellow Rabbit and had the pleasure to work with the OYR ensemble on: People You May Know, SMASH CUT FREEZE, Kawasaki Exit, Gilgamesh La-Z-Boy, Doing Leonard Cohen, and Sylvia Plath Must Not Die. Michelle holds a BA (Honours) Degree in Drama from the University of Alberta and a certificate in Arts and Cultural Management from MacEwan College. Most days she is the Programmer at Theatre Alberta. 

Who are you?
I'm Michelle Kennedy. Always have been, always will be. I think... 
(is this funny? should i say that?)  

What are you working on?
A lot. I write every day and am writing a ton of non-fiction and working on my "essayist" muscle. I am working occasionally on a one-woman show about John Cusack and I frequently go back to to an even older play called "The Golden Record". It feels really nice not to be stressing about starting a fringe show right now...  

What inspires you?
People I meet, books I read, coffee I drink, kissing, fighting, falling in and out of love, cooking, and working with collaborators who are GREAT writers. 

What is your favourite play?
I have a few: Val Paraiso by Don DeLillo, Drama by Karen Hines and Trout Stanley by Claudia Dey

Who is your favourite playwright?
Blake Brooker, MacIvor, Chris Craddock and Karen Hines. All equally and all for entirely different reasons. 

Mac or PC?
Mac. Only. Mac.  

Do you have any writing rituals?
I write by hand. When I am working on a play or a piece of fiction I find a pen and a notebook and I write. It keeps my thoughts flowing in a less stunted way, notebooks don't have the internet and when I do type it out I am writing a second draft. I write poorly on the computer. 

What made you want to become a playwright?
I sort of always did it. Even as a kid writing weird little stories I was moved to dialogue and all the things that were left unsaid. And I loved writing stage directions that were impossible and it made the whole process so much fun that I never really stopped. 

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever gotten?
The best piece of writing advice ever given to me was the best piece of advice about being an artist... "This life is a pursuit not an industry." I guess that isn't advice per say but the notion that we are working with passion and poetry rather than the goals and expectations of industry made me feel like anything is possible! 

Interested in being profiled? Don't hesitate to email us and let us know! We want to get to know you.