Stage Door News

Toronto: Factory Theatre announces “The Bedrock Creators’ Initiative” for new play development

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Factory Theatre is thrilled to announce its bold new vision for the future of new work development, THE BEDROCK CREATORS’ INITIATIVE, beginning this 2020 / 2021 season and being launched with leading support from the Lindy Green Family Charitable Foundation. Playwrights Eva Barrie, Yolanda Bonnell, Matthew MacKenzie, Coleen Shirin MacPherson, Rachel Mutombo, and Sepehr Reybod will join the team at Factory this season as Bedrock’s first cohort of playwrights in residence. This team of excellent playwrights join an initial companyof projects already in development, including new works by Gary Mok, Colleen Wagner, Carmen Aguirre, and David Yee, that will continue workshops next year as well. This investment in theatre creators marks a significant shift in the way Canadian theatre is developed and ensures a rich selection of new Canadian works will be ready for audiences once in-person performances can safely resume. 

“The Bedrock Initiative affirms Factory's commitment that the best way to support playwrights is to produce their work. Too often in the past, Factory has partnered with playwrights to develop new work only to never have the opportunity to produce it. Moving forward, our commitment to writers is that if we develop your work, it's because we want to produce it - not at some unspecified time in the future, but on a clear timeline and with real support to make it happen. The support of the Lindy Green Family Foundation allows us to pay writers a living wage and ensure that we can support the workshops and creative collaborations that are crucial to the success of any new work. Writers are the bedrock on which Factory Theatre's work stands, and this initiative gives us the time and resources to create deep relationships with them and to pay them adequately for their work.” - Nina Lee Aquino, Artistic Director & Matt McGeachy, Company Dramaturg

THE BEDROCK CREATORS’ INITIATIVE is designed to address the disconnect between developing new work and producing it. The approach of this new initiative allows Factory to make a deeper and more meaningful investment in carefully selected projects, paying playwrights more for their work, and offering multiple workshops with a clear trajectory and commitment to produce the work. With this approach, Factory will be able to commit to producing all the works it helps develop, and the writers Factory supports will have greater financial security, which is a huge challenge across the entire Toronto theatre sector.

As part of this new approach, Factory will also be re-opening their script submissions program. Instructions on how playwrights can submit their scripts for consideration will be released in 2021. 

Since its founding in 1970 with a mandate to exclusively produce new Canadian plays, Factory Theatre has been at the forefront of bold new Canadian work and has nurtured the talents of some of our country's most significant theatre creators. Committed to telling stories by Canadians, for Canadians, and to tell them with all the complexity that exists in our country, Factory is very excited to announce this new initiative.

BEDROCK CREATORS’ INITIATIVE Playwrights include Eva Barrie (She/Her), a Dora Award-winning actor, director, creator, producer, and the Co-Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Ruff. Eva has been the playwright in residence at Theatrefront, in the Factory Theatre Natural Resources creation group, and her work has been commissioned by Tarragon Theatre. Her writing has been supported by Tarragon Theatre, The Theatre Centre, Theatre Smith-Gilmour, Theatre Gargantua, DaPoPo Theatre, Shakespeare in the Ruff, Theatrefront, Factory Theatre, the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Yolanda Bonnell (She/Her) is a Queer 2 Spirit Anishinaabe-Ojibwe & South Asian, European mixed performer, playwright and multidisciplinary creator/educator. Originally from Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, Ontario (Superior Robinson Treaty territory), her arts practice is now based in Tkarón:to. In 2016, Yolanda and Michif (Métis) artist Cole Alvis began manidoons collective; a circle of artists creating Indigenous performance. In February 2020, Yolanda’s four-time Dora nominated solo show bug was remounted at Theatre Passe Muraille. She was also a part of Factory Theatre’s The Foundry, a creation program for new career writers, where her play, Scanner continues to be developed towards production. Yolanda proudly bases her practice in land-based creation, drawing on energy and inspiration from the earth and her ancestors. 

Matthew Mackenzie (He/Him) is a multi-award winning and Sterling nominated playwright. Among his awards and recognition are the National Theatre School’s Lieutenant Governor’s award for excellence and community involvement, Tarragon Theatre’s Top Emerging Playwright Award (2012), and he was the 2010 Grand Prize recipient of the 44th Alberta Playwriting Competition. Matthew has had nearly a dozen of his works produced in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and New York. Since the 2014 theatre season, Matthew has had 8 professional premieres of his work across Canada.

Coleen Shirin MacPherson (She/Her)an international theatre artist based in Toronto, Canada. She trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Her play First Draft (Camden People’s Theatre, Mimetic Festival, London, UK) had a multilingual version produced in Cairo, Egypt at Falaki Theater with StudioZat. Coleen has worked with Tinderbox Theatre in Northern Ireland, Wet Picnic in the UK and has toured work to Egypt, Poland, France, UK, U.S.A and China. Coleen is currently developing a new play with Factory inspired by Toronto and Glenn Gould, and she is devising a podcast called Wild Women Podcast based on the paintings by Leonora Carrington with theatre creator, Martha Ross.

Rachel Mutombo (She/Her), is a Dora award-winning actor, and writer. She is an acting graduate of John Abbott College’s Professional Theatre program as well as the National Theatre School of Canada. Some recent theatre performance credits include Antigone (Young People's Theatre), School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian Theatre/Nightwood Theatre) and Selfie (YPT). Vierge is Rachel’s first full-length play and she couldn’t be happier about taking the development further at Factory Theatre. She is currently developing two other plays through Nightwood Theatre's Write from the Hip program and the IN DEVELOPMENT program at Studio180.

Sepehr Reybod (He/Him)is an emerging Iranian-born actor and playwright based in Toronto. Select stage credits include: The In-Between, Geordie Theatre; Territorial Tales, Canadian Stage. Sepehr was a member of Factory Theatre’s acting enhancement program, The Mechanicals, for their 2018-2019 season, and joined them again as a playwright in their Foundry unit for 2019-2020, where he developed his latest play, The Karkhaneh, about orgies and revolution in the Middle East. His first play, Saffron & Caviar, was presented at the curated Parkdale New Works Theatre Festival in 2019.