New Play Development

Our greatest strength as a company has been, and continues to be, our vivid local identity. We hire and support local talent—onstage and off. Our commitment to fostering new works by local playwrights can be seen through our highly respected Silver Commissions Project. This priority is significantly aided by the New Play Festival.

The Silver Commissions Project provides funding for a playwright to complete a new play with the goal of producing it on one of our stages. The program has become a critical step in our creative process as we take these and many other new works from script to stage. This is where dreams come true for budding playwrights and it serves as an incubator of talent.

“Writing a play has at times felt a bit like leaving home with a pretty good idea where I’m going but no specific address. The direction and feedback I’ve been given through dramaturgical support, workshops, and readings, have been essential to my process and to the exploration and creation of the play. I have appreciated and learned from the collaboration, connection, and community I’ve experienced while working in this nurturing environment. New Play Development has been invaluable in helping me get the play to where it’s supposed to go. It’s been an absolute gift.”
—Dorothy Dittrich, playwright (The Piano Teacher) and Jessie award winner

We are immensely proud of this Arts Club initiative, which is made possible through the generosity of our Silver Commissions Patrons:
Stan and Kathy Hamilton
Bonnie Mah

View full list of past premieres (1970–2018)

Silver Commissions in Development

Mom’s the Word 4: the Mom-Cracker by the Mom’s the Word Collective (2019 commission)
We looked on as they coped with new motherhood, we saw their kids grow up, and we watched them deal with empty nests. Now they tackle the craziness of Christmas. All installments of the Mom's the Word plays have been outstanding audience favourites and we are excited to help build this hilarious saga.
About Mom’s the Word Collective

Redbone Coonhound by Amy Lee Lavoie and Omari Newton (2018 commission)
Redbone Coonhound weaves together several thematically-related micro-plays—connected loosely by the dog breed Redbone Coonhound—as a way to explore the intricacies of both the subtle and overt polemics of race, systemic power, and privilege. Redbone Coonhound will confront instances of daily systemic racism in the past, present, and future in surprising ways.
About Amy Lee Lavoie
About Omari Newton

Break Horizons by Kim Sənklip Harvey (2018 commission)
Break Horizons follows five Indigenous women and is set in a woman's Healing Lodge, which are correctional facilities for Indigenous peoples. In a time when justice is so deliberately being denied to Indigenous peoples, Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie who we failed abhorrently, Kim can't think of a more urgent time to be talking about judicial reform.
About Kim Sənklip Harvey

In My Country by Dave Deveau (2017 commission)
A contemporary black comedy set in a fast food restaurant that explores the lives of Canadian immigrants as they acclimatize to the Canadian mosaic.
About Dave Deveau

The Cull by Michele Riml and Michael St. John Smith (2017 commission)
While a forest fire rages out of control in the local mountains, a group of close friends gather for an anniversary celebration. But when an unexpected gift turns a civil conversation about the local wolf cull into a fierce personal argument, a secret is revealed that threatens the stability of the “pack.” Turning this particular dinner party into a night of eat or be eaten.
About Michele Riml
About Michael St. John Smith

(To Be Announced) by Ashleigh Giffen (2016 commission)
Ashleigh's play follows Kim, an Indigenous girl who was named after her mother's friend, who was murdered. Spirits, such as her grandmother and Coyote, help guide her. The play focuses on Indigenous youth, their truth, the love of ancestors, and how intergenerational pain, are at the forefront of their lives.
About Ashleigh Giffen

Forgiveness by Hiro Kanagawa (2019 co-commission with Theatre Calgary)
An adaptation of the novel by Mark Sakamoto, which is the story of his grandparents during the Second World War. Mark’s maternal grandfather was a Canadian soldier, who spent years as a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp. His paternal grandmother was one of thousands of Japanese–Canadians interned by the Canadian government during the war. But instead of being bitter about their experiences, they taught forgiveness.
About Hiro Kanagawa

To find out about supporting or sponsoring new play development, contact Kathy MacKenzie, Director of Development, at kmackenzie@artsclub.com or 604.687.5315, ext. 252.

Script Submissions

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we are not accepting unsolicited script submissions at this time. Thank you for your understanding.

Resources for Playwrights

The Arts Club only develops plays that are under consideration for production with us. If you are a playwright looking for development support or dramaturgy, please explore the links below to find an appropriate organization.

Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA)

Playwrights Guild of Canada

Playwrights Theatre Centre

Playwrights Workshop Montreal

Theatre BC