LEAP Playwriting Intensive

Launching its 12th year in the fall of 2018, LEAP (Learning Early About Playwriting) is a dynamic, interactive program for young playwrights aged 16 to 25. Over 150 students have been mentored through the creation of original dramatic works since the program’s inception in 2006. Participants learn the basic principles of playwriting, share their work with classmates, and provide feedback for one another in a safe and supportive environment. Students also receive feedback from theatre professionals and have their plays workshopped and presented to the public in staged readings.

LEAP is a full-scholarship program, and is 100% funded by donors and sponsors. There is no cost to the student whatsoever.

Instruction is offered in three levels: Level 1 students are mentored through the creation of a short play (10 minutes), Level 2 students write one-act plays, and a Level 3 student is supported through the creation of a full-length play.

Watch this short video that documents the journey from classroom to workshop to reading, and hear testimonials from former students.

For more information about this program, please contact us at leap@artsclub.com.


Bonnie Mah, program patron
Kate Dahlstrom
Art Vertlieb and Bev Briscoe
Cadillac Fairview
Grosvenor Canada

Dates: Mid-November 2018 to May 2019

All students accepted into the program will be on FULL SCHOLARSHIP. There is no fee whatsoever for those accepted into the program.

Acceptance into LEAP is based on the strength of writing samples that form part of the application process. All students must have regular access to a computer with internet connection. Successful candidates must arrange for their own transportation to and from the Arts Club for classes, readings, shows, etc.

Ten classes at the Arts Club with playwright Shawn Macdonald. Includes a tour of the company, meeting theatre professionals who work on new plays, and field trips to select productions at the Arts Club free of charge.

Full, unlimited, and secure access to the program’s closed Facebook group. Includes lectures, online discussions, and group feedback on work posted, classroom follow-up, and access to playwriting resources online.

Workshops and readings of the student playwrights' original plays by professional actors in a public reading at the Arts Club.

Discussions on how to rewrite a play after a workshop or reading, how to submit a play to a theatre company, and information on youth playwriting competitions and opportunities.

Shawn Macdonald is an award-winning playwright and actor. His play Prodigal Son won the Jessie Award for Outstanding Original Script in 2006, and his play Demon Voice was produced by Touchstone Theatre in 2009. He co-wrote the comedies World's Greatest Guy and Fear Knot (with Gary Jones) for the Arts Club Theatre Company, and his newest play, Sister Judy, was commissioned by the Arts Club as part of the Silver Commissions program and premiered at the Arts Club last spring. Shawn is the Artistic Associate at Green Thumb Theatre for Young Audiences and produces and directs the annual collective creation for teenagers, The Edge Project.

Veronique West is a playwright, dramaturg, and educator of Polish descent, working on unceded Coast Salish territories. Her practice is informed by her lived experience of mental health issues and her interest in arts-based healing. She is an Associate at Playwrights Theatre Centre, the Resident Emerging Artist at Boca del Lupo, and the Devised Writing Teacher at Green Room Theatre. Previously, she has been the Literary Assistant at the Arts Club and a Playwriting Instructor at Gateway Theatre. Her plays include: Intrusion (winner of Tarragon Theatre’s 20/20 Playwriting Competition), Marrow (Resounding Scream Theatre/Alley Theatre), and Where the Devil Can’t Go (in development with PTC). As a dramaturg, she has worked for the Arts Club, Playwrights Theatre Centre, Neworld Theatre, South Asian Arts Society, rEvolver festival, festiVALT, Resounding Scream Theatre, and Alley Theatre. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from UBC. In addition to her artistic practice, she provides peer support to people recovering from eating disorders through the Looking Glass Foundation’s Hand in Hand program.

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Program Timeline

Application submission period begins: July 5, 2018

Application Deadline: October 26, 2018

2017/18 cohort announced: November 6, 2018

LEAP Launch and Orientation for all levels: Sunday, November 11, 2018 (1:30–4:30 PM)

Classes begin: November 19, 2018

LEAP Festival: May 10, 11, 12, 2019

LEAP Festival adjudication: May 12, 2019


Level 1 classes are on Monday evenings from 7 PM to 9 PM

Class schedule:

  • November 19, 26, December 3, 10, 17
  • January 21, 28, February 4, 11
  • February 25, March 4, 12
  • Workshops: April 6 and 7, 10 AM to 6 PM


Level 2 classes will alternate between Tuesday and Sunday evenings from 7 PM to 9 PM

Class schedule:

  • November 20, 25, December 2, 9, 16
  • January 22, 29, February 3, 10
  • February 26, March 5, 11.
  • Workshops: April 13, 10 AM to 6 PM


Level 3 sessions are monthly and are arranged according to the student’s schedule.
Presentation draft of script will be workshopped on April 20 from 10 AM to 6 PM.

Applications are now closed. Please check back next summer for information on how to apply.


  1. All applicants must fill out a registration form.
  2. 1–2 page sample of ANY writing you feel good about—a poem, essay, monologue, short scene, play, letter. It can be something you wrote a while ago or something brand new. Maximum 2 pages, 12-point font.
  3. A paragraph about you and why you'd like to participate in LEAP. Please include your age and where you go to school.


  1. All applicants must fill out a registration form.
  2. A scene or an excerpt from a play you've written. You can write a scene specifically for this application, or submit something that you've already written. Maximum 5 pages, 12-point font. Students applying for the Level II program must have some previous playwriting experience. Students who have completed Level I and are applying to Level II should NOT submit their Level I scripts as part of their application. Please submit new writing.
  3. A paragraph about you and why you'd like to participate in LEAP. Indicate your previous experience with playwriting. Please include your age and where you go to school.


Applicants must have either completed their college diploma or undergraduate degree OR must be on a leave or break from studies in order to be considered. No full-time students are eligible for this level. The successful candidate must agree to a proposed course of work including draft deadlines. There is a $1,000 stipend offered to the successful applicant to allow for dedicated writing time.

  1. All applicants must fill out a registration form.
  2. Applicants must have written a play before, either a one-act or a full-length play. Please submit a 10-page writing sample of a play, 12-point font.
  3. A paragraph about you and why you’d like to participate in LEAP. Please include details of your playwriting history and experience. Include your age and where you’re attending school, if applicable.