2023 Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work

Classified Categories: Archived

Lunchbox Theatre logo

2023 Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work

Lunchbox Theatre invites playwrights to submit one-act plays (45 – 60 minutes) for consideration for the 36th annual Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work.

Lunchbox Theatre presents one-act plays with a focus on celebrating human stories — creating engaging theatre that is accessible, inclusive, affordable and sustainable. We are committed to representing diverse voices and encourage playwrights of all backgrounds to submit. We acknowledge that Lunchbox has a history of programming a majority of white playwrights, and we are committed to continuing to build a more inclusive future. We are eager to hear from IBPOC creators.

New this year, we are pleased to announce that we are accepting pitches as well as submissions of workshop-ready scripts.

Stage One submissions must be suitable for an eventual production at Lunchbox Theatre. Scripts must be able to be performed by one to four performers (including live musicians for musicals) and the final running time must be under 60 minutes. While selection to participate in Stage One does not guarantee a future production, please note that certain complex technical requirements and excessive use of foul language or nudity may limit a project’s viability at Lunchbox. Applicants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with our mandate and recent programming to ensure their submission is appropriate.

For our 2023 Stage One Festival, we particularly invite submissions that reflect one or more of the following themes:

  • Joyful explorations of identity
  • IBPOC perspectives
  • Perspectives shaped by lived experience with disability
  • Hopeful looks at the future
  • The climate crisis, particularly stories that positively imagine ways forward
  • Connection across lines of difference
  • … and of course: comedies, love stories, musicals and plays for the winter holidays

All chosen playwrights receive a weeklong workshop including dramaturgical support, with a professional director and actors, followed by a public reading. Playwrights will also meet with Bronwyn for dramaturgical feedback before the workshop. Playwrights submitting a complete draft will have one meeting (in late February), while playwrights submitting a pitch will have two meetings (one in March and one in May).

Playwrights will receive a $1,000 development fee: $600 during the workshop process and $400 upon receipt of the post-workshop draft. 

Stage One will take place in late May/early June 2023. Funding dependent, up to six plays will be chosen for development. Successful applicants must be available to attend the full schedule of workshops and reading. Consideration of the playwright’s availability is given when scheduling the workshops, and playwrights who are not based in Calgary can attend virtually.


  • Submissions are open to all permanent residents of Canada who have been residents of the country for a minimum of 12 months
  • Scripts that have been professionally produced are not eligible
  • Maximum of one submission (either one draft of a script OR one pitch) per playwright

Submission process

All submissions should include:

  • Playwright’s resume
  • History of any development the play has received thus far
  • 50-word synopsis of the play (for marketing purposes)
  • Character list and descriptions
  • Setting description
  • A note about why your play would be a great fit for Lunchbox
  • One or two big picture questions, curiosities or goals you would like to explore during the Stage One workshop process

For Pitches – due January 15, 2023:

  • A one-page document that tells as much as you know about the story (beginning, middle and end).
  • Shortlisted pitches will be notified on January 30 and then required to submit a 5 – 10 page script sample due February 24, 2023.
  • Selected playwrights will be notified in early March.

For Scripts – due January 30, 2023: Minimum 25 pages of the script being submitted; a full script is preferred (page count should fall between 25 and 60 pages, depending on your text formatting.)

  • Selected playwrights will be notified by the end of February.
  • If the playwright chooses, you may include your pronouns and information about how you self-identify, if you feel it adds useful context to your application. This information will not be shared publicly or used to assess your work.

Applications will be read by Artistic Director Bronwyn Steinberg and Associate Artists Heidi Damayo (Dramaturge) and Maezy Reign (Playwright).

Please submit applications through our online form, visit Stage One Submission Form.

If you have any questions, or for more information, please contact Artistic Director Bronwyn Steinberg at ad@lunchboxtheatre.com.

Share this page