Banff Playwrights Lab

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Banff Playwrights Lab

Experience an inspiring, interdisciplinary, and inclusive environment to work on your play while surrounded by performing artists from across the country and around the world.

The lab supports challenging, multi-disciplinary, provocative approaches to telling stories. We are proud to gather on Treaty 7 territory to create, share, and explore theatrical storytelling.

In 2022, the lab will investigate hybrid projects that are working across disciplines, landscapes and media. We are interested in all hybrids that playwrights are working within; examples could include projects incorporating multiple languages into new works; creating works that bridge theatre/dance and/or indoor/outdoor spaces; and projects whose goals reach beyond the theatre space to changing practices, systems and communities. As we consider the forms of new work that playwrights have engaged in during the pandemic, we want in particular to acknowledge and examine approaches to storytelling that combine live and digital components.

We invite participants developing new works for both adults and young audiences to join us in a dynamic conversation about storytelling and contemporary performance as we push Canadian theatre into the future.

What does the Program Offer?

Eight Canadian writers will be offered a two-week residency at Banff Centre; each writer may invite a collaborator to attend for up to four days to work on their project. For example, that collaborator could be a dramaturg, director, digital creator, actor, designer, musician, choreographer, or translator. We encourage writers to consider inviting a non-theatre artist or individual essential to their creation process.

The lab’s dramaturgical team—lab director, dramaturg, associate dramaturg, senior playwright-in-residence and Indigenous creator-in-residence—will support these residencies throughout the lab. As well, the lab may include online activities designed to bring artists together across distance, and opportunities for the lab community to stay in touch following the residency period.

Note: Due to the impact of the pandemic on the Banff Centre, the 2022 Lab will operate at reduced capacity and will not include a company of actors. International writers may be in residence to work on new plays and provide their perspective on theatrical creation beyond Canada, subject to resources and travel guidelines. Due to changes in timelines, the retreat component of the lab in February 2022 has been curated by invitation. If in-person residencies at the Banff Centre are not possible in April 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions, the lab may be conducted as an online program during the same time period.

Who Should Apply?

The lab seeks artists who are exploring theatrical form, taking risks, and asking questions about our society. We value strong storytelling, diversity (in form, discipline, culture, and community), beautiful language, bold experimentation, and collaboration. We seek artists who demand that theatre have social and political impact, and who are writing plays that seek to challenge and change our world.

We want to support writers and plays telling stories not commonly told on Canadian stages; stories that embrace outrage and wrestle with wild ideas, images, and individuals. We encourage artists working with Indigenous languages and those working on projects with little or no language to apply.

We invite playwrights to consider this year’s focus on hybrid projects when preparing their application. However, this is not mandatory—all applications will be considered by the adjudication committee regardless of whether they incorporate hybrid components.

Application Deadline: January 26, 2022
Program Dates: April 18 – 30, 2022

*Lab participants will receive 100% scholarship to cover the program cost, including accommodation and meals.

For more information and to apply online, visit

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