A couple embrace and kiss while confetti falls from around them.

Silver Commissions

The Silver Commissions program 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. A Silver Commission is offered by invitation only.

“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.

The Arts Club has premiered the following Silver Commission scripts since 2010:

Someone Like You, by Christine Quintana (2023)
The Cull, by Michele Riml & Michael St. John Smith (2023)
Forgiveness, by Hiro Kanagawa (2023)
Mom’s the Word: Talkin’ Turkey, by the Mom’s the Word Collective (2022)
Redbone Coonhound, by Amy Lee Lavoie & Omari Newton (2022)
My Father Is the Greatest Man in the World, by Tai Amy Grauman (2021, Listen to This: Audio Play Series)
Someone Like You, by Christine Quintana (2021, Listen to This: Audio Play Series)
It’s a Wonderful Christmas-ish Holiday Miracle, by Marcus Youssef (2019)
Thanks for Giving, by Kevin Loring (2017)
The Piano Teacher, by Dorothy Dittrich (2017)
Onegin, by Amiel Gladstone & Veda Hille (2016)
The Waiting Room, by Morris Panych (2015)
Farewell, My Lovely, by Aaron Bushkowsky (2015)
Sister Judy, by Shawn Macdonald (2015)
Helen Lawrence, by Stan Douglas and Chris Haddock (2014)
How Has My Love Affected You? by Marcus Youssef (2013)
Henry & Alice: Into the Wild, by Michele Riml (2012)
Scar Tissue, by Dennis Foon (2012)
The Patron Saint of Stanley Park, by Hiro Kanagawa (2010)
Tear the Curtain! By Jonathon Young & Kevin Kerr (2010)
Paradise Garden, by Lucia Frangione (2010)

Presenting Sponsor of New Play Development



Stan & Kathy Hamilton

By Ben Elliott and Anton Lipovetsky

The story of the Glunkus is a legend that Joe’s dad used to tell him as a kid about a mischievous gnome that hates Christmas. Once a heartfelt artist, Joe now exclusively makes corporate jingles and generic reality TV soundtracks. But when Joe’s niece discovers his unproduced musical in a drawer and stages a reading with his neighbours in the living room, Joe’s distaste for the holiday spirit goes big—and he starts to transform into a Glunkus (complete with pointy ears and an elf-like voice). With the help of Bella and his dad, he must open his heart before it’s too late! Beware the Glunkus: A Christmas Musical is a new holiday musical comedy that puts family—and holiday spirit—first!

Ben Elliott is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist living in Vancouver. When not working in the theatre, Ben writes, records, and performs his own music, animates his own music videos, and composes for film, TV, and radio. Anton Lipovetsky is a songwriter, actor, musical director, sound designer, and educator based in Vancouver. He has performed on stages nationwide and his original musicals have been shortlisted three times for a Playwrights Guild of Canada Tom Hendry Award. Together, Elliott and Lipovetsky have written the musicals The Park (with Hannah Johnson) and The Best Laid Plans (with Vern Thiessen).

By Colleen Murphy

Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People is about Dr. Thomas Stockmann, a medical officer in a small Norwegian spa town. Upon learning the water used in the spa baths, a major town business, is contaminated, he publishes an article exposing the truth. But instead of receiving gratitude for protecting his fellow townsfolk, like he expects, he becomes the target of a campaign in the name of preserving the town's reputation and prosperity. This new adaptation by celebrated Canadian playwright Colleen Murphy will re-imagine this narrative through the lens of climate change.

Colleen Murphy is a two-time recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, and the Carol Bolt Award for Outstanding Play, for both Pig Girl in 2016, and The December Man / L'homme de décembre in 2007. Other plays include The Society For The Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius, The Breathing Hole, I Hope My Heart Burns First, Armstrong's War, The Goodnight Bird, Beating Heart Cadaver, and The Piper.

By Jovanni Sy

In 1900, Victoria’s now famous Fan Tan Alley was a bustling hub. In addition to being the narrowest commercial street in North America, it was a hotbed of seedy activity: opium factories, brothels, and gambling made it a crime haven. In a single room of one of its flophouses, dozens of Chinese men live together, taking shifts sleeping, as they attempt to cut deals, have dalliances, hide from crime bosses, and try to find privacy in a setting where privacy is inherently impossible. Fan Tan Alley is a new farce with plenty of mistaken identities, narrow escapes, and crazy coincidences. The room has just one door and one window but they'll both get slammed quite a bit in this claustrophobic comedy.

Jovanni Sy is a playwright, director, performer, and the former artistic director of Gateway Theatre (Richmond) and Cahoots Theatre (Toronto). His plays include Salesman in China (co-written with Leanna Brodie), A Taste of Empire, The Five Vengeances, Nine Dragons (Jessie Richardson Award), The Tao of the World (PGC Comedy Award), and Kowloon Bay (PGC Drama Award). At the Arts Club he directed The Orchard (After Chekhov) and performed in The Great Leap, It's a Wonderful Christmas-ish Holiday Miracle, Noises Off, and Forgiveness.

By Bronwyn Carradine

Loren’s life has come to a screeching halt. A month ago, her days were filled with auditions, classes, newspaper interviews, and nights at the theatre. Now she’s in the witness protection program, living with her estranged 80-year-old grandparents in their Venice Beach retirement complex, desperately trying to figure out where she belongs in this sudden new era of bridge tournaments and church luncheons. Based on a true story, this play sheds light on love, family, friendship, loss, and what the road to bouncing back really entails.

Bronwyn Carradine is an award-winning writer, director, and arts administrator. Her stage work has been workshopped, produced, and developed by theatre companies across Canada, including the Arts Club (Unexpecting; Listen to This Series, 2021) where she was part of the inaugural Emerging Playwrights’ Unit in 2019. She's a graduate of Studio 58, a member of the Playwright's Guild of Canada, and currently works as the Artistic Managing Producer for Zee Zee Theatre.

By Amy Lee Lavoie and Omari Newton

On her way to the airport, a stage and screen starlet stops at a tiny town to smoke a cigarette in front of a community building that serves as a school, gas pump, convenience store, and clinic—and accidentally burns it down. As part of her community service, she has to direct a “big splashy play” that will double as a fundraiser to rebuild the community centre. Leading a team of miscast (but super eager!) community actors in a homegrown play proves to be the exact tonic she needs to understand herself and what truly matters.

Amy Lee Lavoie is an award-winning playwright and graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Playwriting Program. Her plays include Rabbit Rabbit, Stopheart, Genetic Drift, Doubletree, and C’mon, Angie! Omari Newton is an award-winning professional actor, writer, director and Head of the Acting Department at Vancouver Film School. His original hip-hop theatre piece Sal Capone has received critical acclaim and multiple productions, including a recent presentation at Canada’s National Arts Centre. Together, Lee Lavoie and Newton have written Redbone Coonhound and Black Fly.

By Frances Koncan

Nestled in time between the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and the beginning of World War I, Murder on the Pacific Spirit Express follows an unlikely group of characters from different geographical regions and cultural backgrounds who find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery on the luxury train the Pacific Spirit Express as it journeys across Canada from Montreal to Vancouver. Murder on the Pacific Spirit Express is a comedic investigation of both a (fictional) murder and the contentious history of a nation that was born on the back of a train.

Frances Koncan (she/they) is an Anishinaabe and Slovene playwright currently living in Vancouver. Originally from Couchiching First Nation, they grew up on Treaty 1 territory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and attended the University of Manitoba (BA Psychology) and the City University of New York Brooklyn College (MFA Playwriting). They are currently Assistant Professor of Playwriting at the University of British Columbia. Select plays include Women of the Fur Trade, Space Girl, and zahgidiwin/love.