Stage Door News

Toronto: Nightwood Theatre announces its new Write from the Hip Program Director

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Artistic Director Andrea Donaldson and Managing Director Beth Brown are delighted to announce the newest member of Nightwood Theatre’s creative team, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, who’s been selected as the new Write from the Hip Program Director for our 2019/20 season.

St.Bernard (aka Belladonna the Blest) is an emcee, playwright, dramaturge and agitator.  Her work has been nominated for the Siminovitch Prize, Governor General's Literary Awards, SATA, Herman Voaden Playwriting Award, Enbridge PlayRites Award and Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play.  She has been engaged as a dramaturge for Pink Pluto, Native Earth Performing Arts, Factory Theatre, lemonTree creations and Humber College Drama Program. DM is the artistic director of New Harlem Productions, emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, playwright in residence at lemonTree creations and coordinator of the ADHOC Assembly.

Nightwood Theatre’s incoming Artistic Director, and current Write from the Hip Program Director, Andrea Donaldson says: As Nightwood's new AD, it seems so fitting that my first task is to step aside from five years leading Write from the Hip to make space for a new leader. And I am honoured to have Donna-Michelle, one of our nation's most prolific and respected playwright–provocateurs at the helm. I have the deepest trust that Donna–Michelle will take our next batch of extraordinary emerging writers on the most individualized Write from the Hip experience, building on a strong legacy of play development and bringing contemporary works by women to the stage.

Donna-Michelle adds: “There is great fulfilment in new play development, observing the unfolding of stories from voices that are bold, willful, inquisitive.  Working "from the hip" is an invitation to honour the instinct, impulse and immediacy that drives each of us from experience into expression.  It is an offer of sanctuary to raw exposed nerves in the vulnerable state of evoking whole worlds from phrase or gesture. To those heading heart-first into this work with us, I extend my curiosity, my challenge, and my support.

Write from the Hip is a year-long script development program designed to support new writers through mentorship, one-on-one dramaturgy, developmental workshops and readings, all working towards the completion of a full length play. We look for female-identifying playwrights who are emerging in their careers. New Canadian works born out of the WFTH program include Rose Napoli’s Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells), Jordi Mand’s Between the SheetsGrace penned under the pseudonym Jane Doe, and Every Day She Rose by Andrea Scott and Nick Green, which will be presented as part of Nightwood’s 2019/20 season.

Photo: Donna-Michelle St. Bernard.