Young Playwrights Unit

Applications Now Open!

Young Playwrights Unit Program Overview

The Young Playwrights Unit (YPU) is a paid training experience for young artists (aged 16-29) who are curious and passionate about playwriting. This program offers a group of dedicated young creators a rigorous and supportive context in which to develop some of their first works.

We are particularly encouraging people who come from Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color experiences, 2-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual/Agender and other gender and sexuality diversity experiences (2SLGBTQIA+), d/Deaf, Mad, Disabled, and Neurodivergent experiences, and people of working class, poor, and overexploited communities to apply. The program coordinator and facilitator, Makram Ayache, is an experienced anti-oppression and equity educator and his practise of theatre creation and education is actively in line with these values. We are committed to cultivating a brave space where we minimize the harms we see in the world in order to achieve success, joy, and excellence in our participants!

If you have any questions about the Young Playwrights Unit, please don’t hesitate to contact the Education and Community Engagement Manager at [email protected].

What the YPU Offers

– Playwriting sessions, with instructor Makram Ayache, will provide an opportunity for guided material generation and revision through creation, discussion, and critique.

– Explorations of plot, theme, character creation, scene study, dramatic action and beyond will take place over the course of the program.

– Guided prompts facilitating the completion of the first draft of your new play.

– Dramaturgical support will span the duration of the YPU.

– Participants will be connected with various theatre professionals and Tarragon staff.

– Participants will be given FREE tickets to Tarragon shows.

– Each play will receive a workshop with a professional director and actors.

– Each play will be part of a public YPU Program Showcase which takes place at Tarragon Theatre as part of our Play Reading Week.

Program Logistics

– Applicants must be aged 16-29 as of January 1, 2022

– Program runs February 2021 – June 2021.

– The program will take place digitally over ZOOM until rehearsals leading up to showcase at Tarragon Theatre. In person sessions will begin end of May.

– Applicants must be available to attend weekly sessions between mid-February and June of 2021 and meet regular deadlines with sessions taking place on the following dates (all sessions are Tuesdays at 1-4pmEST unless otherwise indicated):

  • Feb 15
  • Feb 22
  • Mar 1
  • Mar 8
  • Guest Facilitators: March 14 – 27
  • WRITING BREAK: March 28– April 11
  • Apr 12
  • Apr 19
  • Apr 26
  • May 3
  • May 10
  • PAPRIKA FESTIVAL – No Writing Facilitation: May 16 – 22
  • IN PERSON: FRIDAY, May 27
  • IN PERSON: Tuesday May 30

Weeks of June 6 & June 13

  • SHOWCASE REHEARSALS – Two 4 hour sessions with actors and director
  • SHOWCASE: Week of June 20 (date TBD)
  • June 28: wrap-up and reflection

What to Submit

– A letter of intent (max 1pg singe-spaced) including the following:

  • What is the project you hope to explore in the program?
  • What is your experience with playwriting and theatre creation?
  • How do you hope the program will support you in your artistic journey?
  • Please share anything else you feel is important about yourself.
  • Please include your name, pronoun, age and a phone number.

– An artistic sample that can be any of the following: 1 written sample (max ~5pgs double-spaced), or an audio sample (~3 minutes), or a video sample (~3 minutes), or up to 3 images of visual arts.

-Participants will be paid a $500 honorarium

– Please submit via email to: [email protected]

– If you have any questions or need support with the application, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the email above.

DEADLINE: January 5, 2022 at midnight

All applicants will be notified by January 24, 2022

    2022 Young Playwrights Unit Program Lead

    A headshot of Makram Ayache

    Makram Ayache 

    ARTIST BIO

    Makram Ayache is a Lebanese-Canadian community-engaged playwright, director, actor, producer and educator who splits his time between Edmonton and Toronto. His playwriting explores meaningful representations of queer Arab voices. He endeavors to bridge complex and interlocking political struggles to the very intimate and real experiences of the people impacted by them.

    Ayache has been nominated for four Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards for his plays “Harun” (2018) and “The Green Line” (2019). Most recently, “Harun” won the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada’s annual Tom Hendry Award in the RBC Emerging Playwright Category. In 2020, Ayache completed Factory Theatre’s Mechanicals Actors’ Enhancement Training in Toronto and co-created and performed in Azimuth Theatre’s “All That Binds Us” in Edmonton.

    Currently, his play “The Hooves Belonged to the Deer,” is commissioned by the Alberta Queer Calendar Project which has been recorded for online public viewing, directed by Peter Hinton, to be released in early 2021. Also 2021, he will spend his time at the Citadel Theatre developing his skills as a director and he is a participant of Generator’s Artist Producer Training program. He is also thrilled to be a part of Musical Stage Co. and Prime Mover’s NoteWorthy program where he will explore musical theatre creation.

    EDUCATOR BIO

    Ayache is trained as an educator from the University of Alberta and has extensive education experience working with children, youth, and adult learners in a variety of settings. Currently, he facilitates 2SLGBTQIA+ (2-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual/Agender) inclusion training through the 519 Church Street Community Centre in Toronto, Ontario. He also runs his own consultation and training organization, Shajara, which works with organizations and individuals to make meaningful change towards equity and anti-oppression. He has synthesized anti-oppression education with theatre education through the Queer and Trans Youth Theatre Project hosted by Soulpepper Theatre and the 519. He is also the Education Coordinator for Shakespeare in the Ruff. He has extensive experience in curricular design and development at the secondary, post-secondary, and community level of education. Much of his teaching philosophy is centered around an anti-oppressive and socially conscious pedagogy.