Block A is for playwrights who have written in class or in their kitchens, maybe had a short piece produced. And for theatre artists who have thought of themselves primarily as actors or as stage managers or directors, but have the itch to write for performance. It’s for artists who write for all kinds of performance from spoken word to performance art to songs, who primarily write for themselves or someone else to perform live in front of an audience. We’ve even had a few screenwriters who want to learn classic playwriting skills to help them build story and action. Each Block A cohort of six writers meets for ten weeks with a senior playwright mentor. The content and flow of Block A depends on the varied interests of the writers. Mentors integrate their own practices and inspirations into the sessions. The writers discuss the fundamentals of writing for performance in a variety of styles, and explore imagination-stimulating writing exercises to expand their craft. They learn from each other and get a sense of the collaborative nature of theatre making. We encourage writers of performance in all forms to submit to be part of Block A.
Playwright Mentor/ Winter 2017
Joanna Garfinkel started new play development collective Universal Limited in August 2011, after a dozen years of working in theatre creation. Previously, she co-created and directed the pedicab adventure Tour for HIVE 3 with the Electric Company, Universal Limited, and the Cultural Olympiad. That site-specific escapade went on to the Firehall, was award-winning at the Fringe, and has since been reinvented for Victoria (Theatre SKAM), and Toronto (SummerWorks). She is currently co-creating a site-specific piece about the Japanese Canadian Internment to premiere at Hastings Park in September 2017, in a collaboration between Universal Limited and the Nikkei Centre. Other credits include co-curating, dramaturging and directing the Northern Play Reading Series in Yellowknife, NWT (Akpik Theatre). She was awarded the Pure Research grant for Nightswimming Theatre (Toronto), was nominated for the Jessie award for Innovation (Letters from Lithuania/Mortal Coil), and has received the Sidney Risk award for directing. She often works as a freelance writer and dramaturg for playwrights and companies in Vancouver. She moved to Vancouver to get her MFA in directing at UBC, and her focus since has been primarily in new play development, multidisciplinary, and site-specific work. She has trained with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company in New York.