New Play Development
Artistic programming is not simply a wide open field into which we drop fresh cut flowers, no matter how brilliant their petals…instead, it is a place where the hardiest stalks begin from roots deep below the ground. That’s where we start.
The Blyth Festival is hugely proud of its success in developing and producing new Canadian plays.
We have shepherded projects by celebrated and award-winning playwrights like Anne Chislett (Quiet in the Land, 1981; Another Season’s Harvest, 2006) and Michael Healey (The Drawer Boy, 2000; The Nuttalls, 2009), local and first-time playwrights like David Scott (There’s Nothing in the Paper, 1997; Ballad of Stompin’ Tom, 2006) and Denyse Gervais Regan (The Thirteenth One, 2005), as well as new works by Beverley Cooper and Paul Ciufo, both finalists for the Governor General’s Award.
Before a new play can make its debut on stage it demands endless attention from the playwright, as well as from the creative team that provides direction and encouragement each step of the way. The Blyth Festival New Play Development Program is designed to work closely with playwrights to prepare their scripts for full-fledged production at producing theatres, not exclusively for production at the Blyth Festival.
“It’s important to blow apart a process, or to singularize a process…Playwrights are wildly idiosyncratic creatures, and I think a process has to be wildly idiosyncratic in response” Gil Garratt
Due to the volume of submissions, the Blyth Festival does not accept unsolicited scripts.
However, the tenacious among you will likely want to submit anyway, or try to find a way to make contact and convince us to solicit a script from you. At the Blyth Festival, we applaud tenacity…truth be told, it’s what we’ve built the whole place on.
So, inquire away, but please be deliberate and discerning; before you submit an innocent query, please thoroughly consider the following and make it, all of it, an integral part of your pitch:
Why are you submitting a piece to the Blyth Festival?
What do you know about the Blyth Festival?
How does your work speak to Blyth’s mission and mandate?
What does your play offer the Blyth Festival’s audience; why do they need to see it?
What shows have you seen here? Or, what shows from here have you seen elsewhere?
Which artists from Blyth’s past/present do you admire/respect?
Much of our work to date is now in print; What works from the last decade at Blyth would you say your work aligns with? Or meaningfully contrasts against?
What does your play specifically offer to the discourse surrounding rural life and/or notions of nationhood and country?
Before submitting your project, please address these questions directly with the artistic director. Honestly, the more thoroughly you can answer these questions, the more likely we are to consider your work.
OAC Recommender Grants for Theatre 2020/21
Blyth Festival is pleased to announce that it has again been invited to participate in the Ontario Arts Council’s Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators program. Designed to provide funding directly to Ontario playwrights and playmakers, the Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators Theatre is a third-party recommender program, administered by the Ontario Arts Council. Through this program, a select number of Ontario’s professional theatres are given the opportunity to recommend writing or creation grants to professional theatre artists who apply. The minimum grant recommendation is $1000 and the maximum is $5000.
Blyth Festival is interested in narratives that embrace the complexity, enormity and diversity of rural life. Blyth is especially interested in work that interrogates questions of Canadian identity. Decisions will be made based on artistic interest and connection to Blyth’s mandate and mission. If you have any questions, please contact Gil Garratt at the Festival: 1-877-862-5984.
PLEASE NOTE: The Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators application process has changed. All applications must now be submitted via the OAC’s NOVA.
Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators program guidelines and applications are available on the OAC website.
Submissions will be accepted by the Blyth Festival until the deadline, January 15, 2021 at 1:00pm ET.