New Play Development
Our greatest strength as a company has been, and continues to be, our vivid local identity. We hire and support local talent—onstage and off. Our commitment to fostering new works by local playwrights can be seen through our highly respected Silver Commissions Project. This priority was significantly aided by the creation of ReACT: New Plays in Progress.
The Silver Commissions Project provides funding for a playwright to complete a new play with the goal of producing it on one of our stages. The program has become a critical step in our creative process as we take these and many other new works from script to stage. This is where dreams come true for budding playwrights and it serves as an incubator of talent.
“Writing a play has at times felt a bit like leaving home with a pretty good idea where I’m going but no specific address. The direction and feedback I’ve been given through dramaturgical support, workshops, and readings, have been essential to my process and to the exploration and creation of the play. I have appreciated and learned from the collaboration, connection, and community I’ve experienced while working in this nurturing environment. New Play Development has been invaluable in helping me get the play to where it’s supposed to go. It’s been an absolute gift.”
—Dorothy Dittrich, playwright (The Piano Teacher) and Jessie award winner
We are immensely proud of this Arts Club initiative, which is made possible through the generosity of our Silver Commissions Patrons:
Stan and Kathy Hamilton
Silver Commissions in Development
In My Country by Dave Deveau (2017 commission)
A contemporary black comedy set in a fast food restaurant that explores the lives of Canadian immigrants as they acclimatize to the Canadian mosaic.
About Dave Deveau
The Cull by Michelle Riml and Michael St. John Smith (2017 commission)
While a forest fire rages out of control in the local mountains, a group of close friends gather for an anniversary celebration. But when an unexpected gift turns a civil conversation about the local wolf cull into a fierce personal argument, a secret is revealed that threatens the stability of the “pack.” Turning this particular dinner party into a night of eat or be eaten.
About Michele Riml
About Michael St. John Smith
House and Home by Jenn Griffin (2017 commission)
A subversive, comic take on our current real estate crisis. Hilary and Henry miraculously managed to buy a house before the market skyrocketed. Now, some years later, with both of their livelihoods at risk, they must abandon their values and plunge into the world of short-term rentals. How far will they go to maintain house and home?
About Jenn Griffin
It’s a Wonderful Holiday Miracle Carol by Marcus Youssef (2017 commission)
Chloe and Simon’s mom and dad have separated. Dad has a new partner and mom is rediscovering her Jewish roots. And then their dead grandma shows up. It’s a Wonderful Life meets Modern Family in this contemporary fable about a blended family just trying to make things work during a complicated season.
About Marcus Youssef
(To Be Announced) by Ashleigh Giffen (2016 commission)
Ashleigh's play follows Kim, an Indigenous girl who was named after her mother's friend, who was murdered. Spirits, such as her grandmother and Coyote, help guide her. The play focuses on Indigenous youth, their truth, the love of ancestors, and how intergenerational pain, are at the forefront of their lives.
About Ashleigh Giffen
You Are It by Deborah Williams and Sherry Yoon (2015 commission)
What does friendship mean, what is it worth, what does it cost us? How do we construct our relationships, and how do they serve us? What are the rules? You Are It looks at friendship between two disparate women, exposing the drama and comedy inherent in all our relationships.
About Deborah Williams
About Sherry Yoon
The Gathering by Anosh Irani (2015 commission)
About Anosh Irani
(To Be Announced) by Nicola Cavendish (2011 commission)
About Nicola Cavendish
(To Be Announced) by Mark Leiren-Young (2011 commission)
About Mark Leiren-Young
To learn more about our commissioning program, contact Rachel Ditor, Literary Manager, at 604.687.5315, ext. 265. Or to find out about supporting or sponsoring new play development, contact Kathy MacKenzie, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604.687.5315, ext. 252.
New and previously produced scripts submitted by or on behalf of professional playwrights by literary agencies, dramaturgs and literary managers, and directors and artistic directors of professional theatre companies are welcome. For musicals, please include CDs or attach mp3s.
Unfortunately, we are unable to respond in a timely manner to unsolicited manuscripts. You are welcome to submit a hard copy of your play with the knowledge that we will contact only those writers whose script we have an interest in.
The Arts Club programs new Canadian work on our stages on a regular basis. To gain more insight into the kind of new plays we are developing, please attend our free public readings during our annual ReACT: New Plays In Progress event.
Resources for Playwrights
The Arts Club only develops plays that are under consideration for production with us. If you are a playwright looking for development support or dramaturgy, please explore the links below to find an appropriate organization.