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Banff Playwrights Lab

The deadline for this opportunity has passed.

Application Deadline: September 11, 2019
Dates: April 14 – May 3, 2020

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 2020, the lab will investigate projects that incorporate multiple languages, as well as the strategies playwrights use to tell stories across language and culture. We intend to foster an international conversation about how languages are used, methods of conveying multi-lingual content to audiences, and the power of languages to uniquely capture the voices of communities less frequently seen on Canadian stages.

The lab will also be collaborating with Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre to support Indigenous creators’ work, and examining devices such as surtitles, simultaneous translation, audio description, captioning via glasses and other technologies.

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 during the lab period; 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, actor, designer, musician, choreographer, or translator. We encourage writers to consider inviting a non-theatre artist or individual essential to their creation process.

In addition to the dramaturgical staff comprised of the Lab Director, Dramaturg, Assistant Dramaturg, and Senior Playwright-in-Residence, a company of actors will be on-site to read scripts aloud and explore texts on their feet, available for at least one half-day session to work on each project. International writer/dramaturg teams will be in residence to work on new plays and provide their perspective on theatrical creation beyond Canada.

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, culture, and community), beautiful language, bold experimentation, and collaboration. We seek artists who demand that theatre can 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 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 multi-lingual projects when preparing their application. However, this is not mandatory as all applications will be considered by the adjudication committee regardless of whether they incorporate multiple languages.

Lab participants will receive 100% scholarship to cover the program cost

For more information and to apply online, visit