Young Playwrights Unit
Tarragon’s Young Playwrights Units (YPUs) offer a paid training experience for young artists (aged 18-28) who are curious and passionate about playwriting. This program offers two groups of dedicated young creators a rigorous and supportive context in which to develop some of their first works.
If you have any questions about the Young Playwrights Unit, please don’t hesitate to contact the Education and Community Engagement Manager at email@example.com.
Meet the Playwrights!
Kelsi James (she/her) is a queer and asexual theatre creator, working alternately as a creator, producer and performer. Kelsi has a degree in Musical Theatre Performance (Sheridan) and a certificate in ASL & Deaf Studies (VCC). The questions that compel Kelsi as a creator are: how do I blend theatre with community gathering? How do I build accessibility and care into the bones of my work? How do I honour the queer ancestors, and how can I empower the next gen queers?
James B. Elloso
James B. Elloso (he/him) is an emerging writer and director based in St. John’s, Ktaqmkuk, or colonially known as Newfoundland. He received his diploma in stage and screen techniques from Memorial University in the spring of 2022. During the summer, he wrote his first short play, “Buried Treasure,” which premiered at the St. John’s Short Play Festival in the fall. This winter, he is continuing work on the script to turn it into a full-length play titled Children of Tomorrow.
Elizabeth Rodenburg (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist, actor, and writer from Guelph, Ontario. Elizabeth is a recent graduate of the University of Windsor’s BFA in Acting program where they had the pleasure of creating and performing their first complete original work entitled Shapeshifter. She is particularly interested in devising work that explores themes of community, belonging, and identity in a way that is accessible and enjoyable for both artist and audience.
Oprah Lemorin is an emerging performer, playwright, and director who recently moved to Toronto for new career opportunities. She’s really keen on introducing her talents as a multidisciplinary artist to Toronto’s theatre community. Her style of writing is absurd, witty, blunt, unexpected, and imaginative. She’s excited to take part in Tarragon’s local YPU program and looks forward to developing her writing skills, and exploring and broadening her voice as a playwright.
Jonnie (they/them) is a creator, performer, and decent baker based in Tkaronto. Their work seeks to find the ‘extra’ in the ordinary, the camp and the melodrama found in our everyday comings and goings, and the liberating silliness of a live performance space. They are so excited to be a part of the YPU this year, evolving their perspectives on playwriting, and exploring stories of queer self discovery for the legends that they are.
Donovan Hayden is a Black Canadian theatre creator, activist, and political organizer that tells stories intended to engage, challenge, and activate audiences. He strives to tell stories that center the dynamic lives of Black people and their everyday resistance. Calling both Pittsburgh and Toronto home, he is currently based in Toronto and an organizer at Progress Toronto. His goal is to blend activism and Blackness with theatre to create radical art that leads to liberation for all.
2023 Young Playwrights Unit Program Leads
National virtual YPU
Paula Wing is a playwright, translator, dramaturge, and teacher. She is currently at work on two original plays: Vox Lumina, in partnership with director/dramaturge Peter Hinton, is inspired by a real incident, and focuses on medieval mystic nun Hildegard of Bingen in the final year of her remarkable life. The Cabin, generously supported by Thousand Islands Playhouse, is about land and cottages. Paula is the librettist of Arriving at the Fire (composer: Kelly-Marie Murphy), in development at Calgary Opera, after a month-long workshop in February 2021. Paula teaches youth across the province with the Gryffon Trio’s Listen Up program, with Kick Start Arts in Toronto, and with TDSBCreates through the Toronto School Board, as well as in youth programs with Soulpepper and Young Peoples Theatres. She facilitated the Young Playwrights Unit and seasonal Playwriting Classes for more than 10 years at the Tarragon. Paula is a Sessional Professor at the University of Windsor. For the past ten years she has been the creative writing instructor at the Native Men’s Residence in Toronto.
Local in-person YPU
Nathaniel Hanula-James (he/him) collaborates on theatre performances as a dramaturg, actor, writer and administrator. Born and raised in Vancouver (the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations), he now makes his home in Toronto/Tkaronto. Nathaniel is Associate Dramaturg at Nightswimming, where he assists in the nurturing of new work. As an actor, performance credits include Iphigenia and the Furies (Theatre Passe Muraille), Towards Rebirth (Shakespeare in the Ruff), and Tiny Treasures (Manitoba Theatre for Young People). Creation projects include: Untitled Flamingo Play, a solo show about a queer child in search of a role model, which Talk is Free Theatre premiered in 2022; Flux in the City, a collaboration with Wesley Lincoln Reibeling about the future of Canadian cities; and a new play about a queer marriage of convenience in 1950s Toronto. Nathaniel is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada (Acting), McGill University (BA Drama & Theatre), and Humber College (Arts Administration). He is an alumni of Teesri Duniya’s Fireworks Playwriting Program and the Paprika Festival’s Creative Producers and Administrators program.
YPU Assistant Dramaturg
Sarah Miller is a queer dramaturg from Whitehorse, Yukon, in their fourth and final year at York University studying Theatre Performance Creation, specializing in Dramaturgy. Sarah’s own work explores girlhood, growing up queer, and how these things impact the people we become. Their most recent credits include dramaturg for “love in the time of werewolves” by David Yee (Theatre@York 2022/23 Season), and director for “Concord Floral” by Jordan Tannahill (Yukon Theatre for Young People, 2022).