Development Series 2020/2021

Flying Girl is part of our Production Workshop stream, where the script is done and the artists get to test elements that can be carried into the full production. 
This piece is testing its Digital capacities and your feedback is very important!

Flying Girl is about stories. As a species, we make and consume them; it’s the way we synthesize the world. Narrative is our common compulsion. But there are realities that cannot be synthesized: what happens to the compulsion then?

Anderson works in an Edmonton bookstore, but after 10 years’ selling books, they’re just a job: he hasn’t read one in years. He lives in an apartment built into the steep slope of the city’s river valley. On winter mornings before the sun comes up, he watches the lights come on in the apartments in nearby buildings and wonders about the people living in them. One morning, 10 years ago, from the balcony of one of those apartments, his sister jumped to her death. Or maybe she fell—she left no note.
And now early one morning, while he’s watching, he sees a woman come out onto her balcony and stand at the railing for a long time, looking down at the ground below. Later that day at the store, he finds a book called Flying Girl. Osman wrote it.
Osman lived through a civil war in Latin America. He did his best to avoid getting involved, but his sister fought, and because of that Osman was arrested and temporarily “disappeared.” In the end, afraid for his life, he betrayed her to save himself. She disappeared permanently. Her fate is unknown.
No one knows about Osman’s betrayal either, but, years later, guilt still haunts him. Flying Girl, the book Anderson finds, is his confession.

SKIN SONGS by Eleanor Crowder, Lola Ryan & Angela Schleihauf.

Female. Skin-deep? Or culturally acquired?

Lola Ryan shares selections of her story from her life-long catalogue of poetry exploring moments of denial, acceptance and heartbreak. Always dancing.

Eleanor Crowder looks at her struggles with fertility and respect. Words are her weapon.

Joined in audio conversation by Jacqui du Toit and Jessica Ruano, and accompanied by Angela Schleihauf’s sound-score, the quartet’s interwoven stories offer a multiplicity of perspectives on the female experience.

As an audience, you will follow two female figures on a journey through the park. Bring your own earbuds to follow an audio track, which carries their stories directly to your ears. An hour’s journey through the park brings you inside the skin of other lives and invites you to reflect on your own story.

This presentation happened on Zoom.

Date: June 26th, 2021 at 4PM EDT


During a total war with the United States over natural resources, Nina, a spy, and Patrick, a soldier, meet by chance in an abandoned house on the curve of the Rideau river. Patrick has deserted his regiment, walking the long kilometres between Kingston and Ottawa. Nina has vital information, the missing puzzle piece in her long efforts to ascertain what exactly brought this cataclysmic war about. Through a harsh winter landscape, Nina and Patrick make a perilous voyage from the rural south into the city proper, all the while hunted by a hostile force. In Act II, Nina and Patrick arrive at different times in the safer climes of Germany. Nina is hot on the trail of Patrick, whom she suspects of being a double agent. After linking all the proof, Nina realises the war has been fomented by a small group of traitors, including Patrick, in collusion with the Americans for personal profit, and she must decide what to do with this knowledge. This play explores the tension between trust and self-interest in an extreme landscape which is uncomfortably close to home. The layers and complexities of Nina and Patrick’s relationship form a shifting plane of engagement, inviting the audience into intrigue and surprise. As much as it is about a personal relationship, it is also about international politics in an unstable and reckless time, disquietingly close to our own. Through this personal relationship, the audience should hear uncomfortable echoes of their own dis/comfort in our current political realm and what it might become. It is set across the landscape of a destroyed Ottawa Valley and the highly rigorous and cosmopolitan setting of Hamburg. The action of the play currently spans at least three years. Linked to the setting is the physical circumstance of the play: a deep, unyielding winter, suggesting a climate changed by human action.

A play by Kate Werneburg

Director: Mary Ellis

Actors: Jacqui DuToit & Ben Sanders

Sound Designer: Gloria Mok

This reading happened on Zoom.

Date: June 13th, 2021 at 7PM EDT


“Nobody wants to see a man die, but everyone wants to be there when it happens.”

——————-Harry Houdini

In Terminally Ill you will follow the story of Elvis “the Escape King”.

He chains and nails himself inside a coffin and lowers himself into the St. Lawrence River as an homage to Houdini, nearly a century after the great artist’s death. When Elvis fails to break free, Dr. Hope Sze and John Tucker struggle to smash open his coffin and restart his heart.

Who tried to kill Elvis? And why?

And so, Hope plunges into her most terminal adventure. Where the magical art of escape and the dastardly art of crime vie for centre stage, and the better man may lose. Forever.

A play by Melissa “Yi” Yuan-Innes
Director/Dramaturg: John Koensgen
Actors: Shirley Manh, Sheldon Parathundyil, Melissa Landry
and Ray Besharah