Members of the 2018 Academy: Fiona Dodsworth, Marina Gomes, Luke Kimball, Claire MacMaster, Brady Madsen, Kelli-Anne Maycock, Quinlan Shearer, Suzanne Wilkie, Isabella Wolder and Kevin Matthew Wong. Photo by Sarah Kirby at Imagine Photography

Festival Players Education Initiatives

This is a new arm of the company and is growing to support and build bridges with the communities in Prince Edward County, the broader communities and its schools. PIC in PEC is an active way to bring the youth of the area into the creative spheres of the Festival Players with rare and purposeful work that allows the voice of the young people in the region to be heard and celebrated.

Play Incubator Camp in Prince Edward County is a project that gives a small collective of 10-15 interested students the chance to work alongside experienced theatre devising artists to create an original play. The group will stage their piece as a performance for an invited audience at the Festival Players Studio Theatre and it will be followed by a talkback. There will be two stagings of the play on the 24th with all families receiving complimentary tickets.

The goal is to introduce a play-creation process to the group, giving them an opportunity to develop the skills to channel their inquiries towards generating art that builds their capacity as citizens and artists. Our initial provocations come from Water Week and would be used alongside the lived experiences of the young people.

We welcome students Grades 8 to 12 with a range of artistic and theatrical interests, whether they passionate or curious about playwrighting, acting, directing, or designing (audio, video, projection, or stagecraft). We also welcome students with a range of skill levels, from those looking to try these things out for the first time to more experienced artists.

The collective would be guided by two practitioners who have extensive experience devising with groups of students. Together in their collaborative work as educators and artists, Amanda and Brendon have devised a number of productions with groups of up to 90 students, grounding their work in provocations from archival materials, current events, social media, student lives, family experiences, buildings, and landscape. The resulting productions engaged students in presenting in a traditional theatre setting as well as in traveling and site-specific ways. Amanda and Brendon have presented their devising work at a variety of conferences, including Teaching for Justice (Linden School, Toronto), Deeper Learning (High Tech High, San Diego), and at the upcoming Children, Youth and Performance (Young People’s Theatre, Toronto).

Ultimately, the work will give the collective a variety of ways to engage with a provocation including movement, scriptwork, writing and improvisation. The experience would culminate with a public showcase of this new community-based collective creation on stage at the Studio Theatre. The talkback to follow will expand on their creative journey and give voice to their thinking on the topics.

Future dates for PIC in PEC will be announced at at a later date.

Registration Fee
Successful applicants are asked to pay $300 for this 2-week program ($150 per week), participants bring their own lunch,  snack and water bottle. If participants would like to seek financial assistance, they can indicate this on their application and will be contacted on a case by case basis.

Application Process
Applicants are required to fill out a form as a statement of interest. After the deadline, there may be some email follow up from the Cultivate team (Brendon Allen and Amanda Merpaw) and once we have settled on the collective you will be requested to submit the participation fee ($300 total per applicant for the two weeks) to the Festival Players via there website.

Demand for this program will be high, so we will be promptly responding to applications and following up with the next steps.

All applicants need to be between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age. All participants arrange their own daily transportation, as we do not arrange accommodations. Applicants will also be required to arrange for daily bag lunches and snacks. If there are allergies that we need to alert the group of, there is room to share that on the application form.

Financial Assistance
There is the possibility of applying for financial assistance for this experience. There are a few questions in the survey at the end to address, if you would like to be considered as a candidate for financial assistance for PIC in PEC.

Artist/Facilitator Biographies

Amanda Merpaw is a poet, playwright, and educator. Her poems have appeared in the Literary Review of Canada, Prairie Fire, and Room, and her essays have appeared in Pathways. She is a member of Toronto’s 2019 Emerging Writers Reading Series and an assistant editor at The Temz Review. Amanda holds an MA in English from Ryerson University and an MT from OISE/University of Toronto.

Brendon Allen is a playwright, theatre-practitioner and educator. His plays, devising projects and theatrical adaptations have been staged throughout North America, Europe, Oceania, and Africa. He has worked with companies like CanadianStage, Theatre Smash, Buddies in Bad Times and Why Not Theatre. He holds an MA from the Drama Centre at UofT, an MEd equivalent from HTH School of Graduate Studies (San Diego).

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