LEAP Playwriting Intensive

Our 11th annual LEAP Festival is fast approaching! This festival is the culmination of months of hard work by emerging playwrights who have developed 10 minute long scripts, one-act scripts, or a full-length (three-act) script. Through this event, LEAP playwrights will have the opportunity to see their plays come to life on stage with performances by a group of professional actors in a staged reading format. The festival happens over three days with a final adjudication on Sunday, May 13.

While this event is free to attend, you must RSVP to receive a ticket!

2018 LEAP Festival
May 11–13
Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre
All shows begin at 7 PM and are free to attend!

Friday, May 11 – LEAP Level One
Saturday, May 12 – LEAP Level Two
Sunday, May 13 – LEAP Level Three and adjudication


Launching its 11th year in the fall of 2017, LEAP (Learning Early About Playwriting) is a dynamic, interactive program for young playwrights aged 16 to 25. Over 150 students have been mentored through the creation of original dramatic works since the program’s inception in 2006. Participants learn the basic principles of playwriting, share their work with classmates, and provide feedback for one another in a safe and supportive environment. Students also receive feedback from theatre professionals and have their plays workshopped and presented to the public in staged readings.

LEAP is a full-scholarship program, and is 100% funded by donors and sponsors. There is no cost to the student whatsoever.

Instruction is offered in three levels: Level 1 students are mentored through the creation of a short play (10 minutes), Level 2 students write one-act plays, and a Level 3 student is supported through the creation of a full-length play.

Watch this short video that documents the journey from classroom to workshop to reading, and hear testimonials from former students.


Bonnie Mah, program patron
Kate Dahlstrom
Art Verlieb and Bev Briscoe

Dates: Mid-November 2017 to April 2018

All students accepted into the program will be on FULL SCHOLARSHIP. There is no fee whatsoever for those accepted into the program.

Acceptance into LEAP is based on the strength of writing samples that form part of the application process. All students must have regular access to a computer with internet connection. Successful candidates must arrange for their own transportation to and from the Arts Club for classes, readings, shows, etc.

Ten classes at the Arts Club with playwright Shawn Macdonald. Includes a tour of the company, meeting theatre professionals who work on new plays, and field trips to select productions at the Arts Club free of charge.

Full, unlimited, and secure access to the program’s closed Facebook group. Includes lectures, online discussions, and group feedback on work posted, classroom follow-up, and access to playwriting resources online.

Workshops and readings of the student playwrights' original plays by professional actors in a public reading at the Arts Club.

Discussions on how to rewrite a play after a workshop or reading, how to submit a play to a theatre company, and information on youth playwriting competitions and opportunities.

Shawn Macdonald is an award-winning playwright and actor. His play Prodigal Son won the Jessie Award for Outstanding Original Script in 2006, and his play Demon Voice was produced by Touchstone Theatre in 2009. He co-wrote the comedies World's Greatest Guy and Fear Knot (with Gary Jones) for the Arts Club Theatre Company, and his newest play, Sister Judy, was commissioned by the Arts Club as part of the Silver Commissions program and premiered at the Arts Club last spring. Shawn is the Artistic Associate at Green Thumb Theatre for Young Audiences and produces and directs the annual collective creation for teenagers, The Edge Project.

Sasha Singer-Wilson is a theatre artist and writer. Her plays includes little tongues (Outstanding Production & Outstanding Ensemble, NOW Magazine), This Is It, (developed in the Soulpepper Playwrights Circle), My Ocean, and Inside (SummerWorks, honourable mention for the Theatre Centre Emerging Artist Award). She has trained and worked with companies including Jumblies, Convergence Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Soulpepper, Theatre Gargantua, One Yellow Rabbit, and PTC. As an educator, Sasha has led workshops for young people with Shakespeare In Action, Pleiades Theatre, The Toronto Public Library, New Shoots and the Arts Club. A graduate of the BFA Acting Conservatory at York University, Sasha has an MFA in Playwriting from the University of British Columbia.

JOIN US ON Facebook

Sep 1, 2017 Application submission period begins

Oct 27, 2017

Application deadline

Nov 7, 2017

2017/2018 cohort announced

Nov 11, 2017

LEAP launch and orientation

Nov 13, 2017

Classes begin

Dec 18, 2017–
Jan 15, 2018

Holiday break

May 11–13, 2018   

LEAP Festival

May 13, 2018

LEAP industry event and adjudication

Class Schedule

Level 1 classes are on Monday evenings from 7–9 PM

Level 2 classes are on Tuesday evenings from 7–9 PM, except for Sunday, December 10 and 18, 2017

Level 3 sessions are monthly and are arranged according to the student’s schedule

Submit the following via email by October 27, 2017.


  1. All applicants must fill out a registration form.
  2. 1–2 page sample of ANY writing you feel good about—a poem, essay, monologue, short scene, play, letter. It can be something you wrote a while ago or something brand new. Maximum 2 pages, 12-point font.
  3. A paragraph about you and why you'd like to participate in LEAP. Please include your age and where you go to school.


  1. All applicants must fill out a registration form.
  2. A scene or an excerpt from a play you've written. You can write a scene specifically for this application, or submit something that you've already written. Maximum 5 pages, 12-point font. Students applying for the Level II program must have some previous playwriting experience.
  3. A paragraph about you and why you'd like to participate in LEAP. Indicate your previous experience with playwriting. Please include your age and where you go to school.


Applicants must have completed their college diploma or undergraduate degree, and must not be a full-time student. The successful candidate must agree to a proposed course of work including draft deadlines. There is a $1000 stipend offered to the successful applicant to allow for dedicated writing time.*

  1. All applicants must fill out a registration form.
  2. Applicants must have written a play before, either a one-act or a full-length play. Please submit a 10-page writing sample of a play, 12-point font.
  3. A paragraph about you and why you’d like to participate in LEAP. Please include details of your playwriting history and experience. Include your age and where you’re attending school, if applicable.

Deadline for applications is October 27, 2017. Applicants will be notified either way by November 7, 2017.