Each year, Tarragon Theatre invites an exciting mix of theatre creators into its Playwrights Unit, where each creator develops a new play with the theatre over the course of a year. Originally founded in 1982 by Urjo Kareda, this successful play development program has been replicated in theatres across the country.
Tarragons artistic staff selects the members of the Unit and runs its quarterly meetings. The activities of the Playwrights Unit culminate in our annual Play Reading Series – free public readings showcasing the Unit members’ work.
Past members of the Playwrights Unit include Kate Cayley, Anna Chatterton, Susan Coyne, Brendan Gall, Andrew Kushnir, Michael Healey, Ravi Jain, Rosa Laborde, Hannah Moscovitch, Erin Shields, David Yee and d’bi young.
While admission to the Playwrights Unit is by invitation only, we welcome contact from interested playwrights and creators. Here are a few of the factors we consider when inviting a playwright into the Unit:
- The playwright writes dialogue and dramatic action (conflict) well.
- The playwright has a good theatrical imagination and understands how to tell a story through the medium of theatre, as opposed to the media of film, television, poetry or prose.
- The playwright writes plays that explore the complexity of the human condition, that examine what it means to be a human being in a particular place and time, and that avoid one-sided characters and easy answers to multifaceted problems.
- The playwright has worked on a production of his/her play outside of an educational setting. This production can be fully independent and self-produced, or take place in the context of one of the many new play festivals across the country.