Young Playwrights Unit

2021 Young Playwrights Unit Showcase

June 25th at 6:30PM EST

Click Here to Register to Attend

Please join us for a presentation of this year’s Tarragon Theatre’s Young Playwrights Unit showcase! This year was a year like no other. Taking place digitally, Jordan M. Burns, Rose Goodwin, and Jameela McNeil have been meeting with program facilitator, Makram Ayache, in a process of developing three unique, spirited and powerful drafts.
Please join us for a sharing of excerpts and an opportunity for each playwright to discuss their work.
Play Overviews:
A Pineberry’s Past – a play by Jordan M. Burns
What would you do if half of you was drowning? Living in a perpetual fog, Mixed, half-white, and half-indigenous, attempts to share the story of their life over a home-cooked meal in their childhood kitchen. A place of joy, family, decay, and silence; Mixed is left gasping for a community of their own. Trying to navigate the present while negotiating the vicious memories of times gone by, Mixed finds themselves putting on a show one last time.”
Hermaphroditus – by Rose Goodwin
Hermaphroditus is an exploration of queerness, belonging, and visibility. It takes the Greek gods and puts them into our world, focusing on the relationships between the gods and gender. This play is an intimate look at what transness looks in relation to one’s relationships, life’s work, and belonging in the world. Hermaphroditus is found by Charlico and finally finds their place on earth with other queers. As they find themselves, they recognize that trans folks are under attack, leaving the safety of earth to take their rightful seat on Olympus. Will the pantheon have room for another Goddex? 
Orange Skies by Jameela McNeil
Samira is trying to move on. Engrossed in the frivolous tasks at her joyless housekeeping job, she distracts herself from a lost dream, her mother’s worsening condition, and the boy who stole her heart one hot summer night in 1957. When a new love comes knocking at her door she is plagued by memories of her first love and a night that changed her forever. As she relives the secret affair in her mind, she is confronted with a difficult decision. Rectify the past or continue to run from it?
Playwright: Rose Goodwin 
Director: Cole Alvis
Hermaphroditus – Avery-Jean Brenan
Charlico – Jacob MacInnis
Hera – Rachel Cairns
Zeus – Titus Androgynous
A Pineberry’s Past
Playwright: Jordan M. Burns
Director: Christopher Stanton
Mixed – Herbie Barns
Orange Skies
Playwright: Jameela McNeil
Director: Natércia Napoleão
Samira – Hillary Warden
Maria – Sarah Nairne
River – Oscar Dirkx

2021 Young Playwrights Unit Program Lead

Makram Ayache 


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.


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.

Introducing the Young Playwrights Unit

Jordan M. Burns 

Jordan M. Burns (he/they) is a Disabled, Indigenous, multidisciplinary artist mainly based in Tkaronto. As a proud honours graduate of Humber College’s Theatre Performance program, Jordan has explored many roles within the theatre industry. Working as a director, producer, puppeteer, actor, and playwright, Jordan always has a project they are itching to work on. Currently, Jordan serves as a co-founding artistic director with Third Wheel Theatre Co. Some of his favourite credits include The Cat in the Hat (dir. S. Prelletz), The Echoes II: Pigeon Pie (dir. M. Wodzinska)Vermilion (dir. G. Kosmidis), Not_ALL.? (dir. S. Robinson), and infinity Machine (dir. S. Moore). Committed to a comprehensive artistic practice, Jordan is currently pursuing his master’s degree in theatre at York University. Jordan is elated to be a member of Tarragon Theatre’s Young Playwrights Unit cohort for 2021.

Rose Goodwin 

Rose Goodwin (fae/they/she) is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and designer living and working in Toronto, Can. Fae are an actor, producer, model, playwright, game writer, illustrator, and dancer. After finishing a degree in performance arts at the University of Lethbridge and moving to Toronto, fae were featured in Gender Reveal Party (Summerwork 2019) and are producing a new show called Rose’s Buds, a virtual cabaret for the 2021 Paprika Festival. Faer passions include community building and game design, working with both Pieces to Pathways and DMG respectively in Toronto. Fae are working on a modern greek tragedy called Hermaphroditus.

Jameela McNeil 

Jameela McNeil is an Afro-Carribean Canadian performer based in Edmonton, Alberta. She is a MacEwan Theatre Arts Alumnus, most recently seen in: Here There Be Night (Workshop West), until the next breath (Catalyst Theatre), Freewill Shakespeare Presents: The Free Willies (Freewill Shakespeare/Thou Art Here), and Citadel Road Shows (Citadel Theatre). Other credits include: As You Like It, The Color Purple (Citadel/RMTC), Sister Act, All Shook Up, Soul Sistas (Mayfield), and John Ware Reimagined (Workshop West). Jameela is thrilled to be participating in the Young Playwrights Program. From a young age she has had a passion for storytelling and hopes to shift her creative perspective to writing. She hopes to explore her Jamaican heritage, Black identity, and womanhood throughout her playwriting. Jameela is looking forward to learning and developing her craft in the company of fellow emerging playwrights! 

Young Playwrights Unit Program Overview


The Young Playwrights Unit (YPU) is a FREE training experience for young people who are curious and passionate about play-making. We take a page from our professional play development programs to offer a group of dedicated young creators a rigorous 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 protected].

Announcing the YPU 2021 Extended Cohort

In 2021, we received an unprecedented amount of applications to our Young Playwright’s Unit. It was clear that the need for connection and creativity in our community is really strong. We also recognized that the online aspect of the program increases access in ways that we simply couldn’t offer before. As such, we have created the first ever YPU Extended Cohort in addition to our core Young Playwrights Unit. 


This group of 37 young artists were invited to join the central unit for six sessions of generative writing exercises, activities, lessons, and discussion about process, structure, the industry, and more! The Extended Cohort was also given the opportunity to listen to Tarragon’s Acoustic season, an opportunity to connect with each other through a dedicated Slack channel, and a framework for creation/exploration during this creatively challenging time.