PTC Studio Workshop Series 2021 + Summer Training Jams

A circle of sleek modern chairs, all white except for one that is orange

Our workshop series returns for 2021! Led by PTC staff, these workshops will help hone your skills and move you deeper into your process. Whether you are an actor, producer, playwright, songwriter or all four, there’s a workshop that will inspire you, engage you, and give you some practical skills to move your practice forward.

PTC and New(to)Town Collective have teamed up for a Summer Training Jam Series, adding 4 more theatre workshops for you to access! Facilitated by N(t)TC Co-Founders, Davey Calderon, June Fukumura, Avyen von Waldenburg and Anjela Magpantay, along with guest facilitator Dawn Jani Birley. Offered online, these workshops welcome everyone to experience theatre-making in the moment with gifted artists who welcome you with a spirit of play.


Anyone can join the following 4 New(to)Town Collective’s TJs and register for free (donations encouraged, see their website to register or for more details). You may attend any or many of these workshops. All performing arts skill levels welcomed. All Summer Training Jams are ASL interpreted.

Training Jam #1: Life as Image by June Fukumura
Sunday, May 16, 2021 | 2 – 4 pm PT
June kicks off the summer Training Jam with a workshop all about image. What is an image? Where does it exist? How do you bring an image to life? And how can you consciously use it in your performance? Through physical theatre techniques, partner exercises, and self-directed explorations we will learn various methods to create a rich image life that can be used in your life and in your art practice. Open to all experience level, backgrounds, and artistic disciplines.

Training Jam #2: Mask It! with Davey Calderon
Sunday, May 23, 2021 | 2 – 4 pm PT
Find new joy and possibility within your own self and living space by letting your inner fool out. This class introduces clown, image work and a smattering of Viewpoints technique to realize your playable “mask” or “character” for performance online, especially while we’re all still stuck at home.  Open to all experience level, backgrounds, and artistic disciplines, and a great progression for those that do “Life as Image” with June.

Training Jam #3: Flexing the Imagination with Anjela Magpantay & Avyen von Waldenburg
Sunday, May 30, 2021 | 2 – 4 pm PT
 “The actor who will accept anything that happens seems supernatural; it’s the most marvelous thing about improvisation: you are suddenly in contact with people who are unbounded, whose imagination seems to function without limit.”  Avyen and Anjela are interested in “Form” and exercises that provide “Containers” so that our imaginations can experience boundless freedom in creativity. We will use the body as vehicles to test what we like, what we don’t like, and what makes us curious. Returning back to basic and simple exercises, in this Training Jam we hope to explore new aspects of ourselves or revisit old ones.

Dawn Jani Birley headshot - seatedwoman with blonde curly shoulder-length hair clasping hands loosely in front of herself, wearing a soft tan blazer and black pantsTraining Jam #4: Weave the Way with Dawn Jani Birley
Sunday, June 6, 2021 | 10am – 12 pm PT
What does it mean to think out of the box and why it is so important? The idea of the workshop is to take a look into the interrogation and expression of how stories are being told in the theatre.

Dawn Jani Birleywas born to a third-generation Deaf family in Saskatchewan and identifies herself as culturally and linguistically Deaf. She is a multi-award winning professional Deaf actor with more than 15 years of experience working all over the world. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Physical THeatre with Merit from London, it is her desire to continue creating work that challenges people’s perception of Deafness as well as rebutting ideologies and myths surrounding Deafness. Provoking the hearing world is one of the ways to push for positive changes for us as a society. Birley established 1S1 Theatre in 2019 with the goal of shifting the paradigm around the Deaf/hearing divide (more on Dawn on N(t)TC website).


May 1 & 8, 12:30-2:30 pm | 15 maximum (Suggested value: $100)
Learn to work from archival documents, family history, personal memoir, and other “real” texts in this workshop with Joanna Garfinkel. Two 2-hour sessions, offered digitally with some options for on-site work.

Joanna Garfinkel headshot: short brown hair, blue eyes, navy blouse with red collarJoanna Garfinkel (she/her) is co-founder of Universal Limited and the co-creator, with Yoshié Bancroft, of JAPANESE PROBLEM, a site-responsive piece about the Japanese Canadian Incarceration, performed in Vancouver, at Soulpepper in Toronto, and elsewhere. Other collaborative works drawn from unheard histories include: the pedicab adventure Tour for HIVE 3, Victoria (Theatre SKAM), and Toronto (SummerWorks). Berlin: The Last Cabaret (PuSh 2020), multi-award-winning Poly Queer Love Ballad, (QAF/Theatre Passe Muraille). Joanna has been nominated for 3 Jessie awards, winning 1; and has received a Pure Research grant from Nightswimming Theatre (Toronto), and the Sydney Risk award for directing. Upcoming: development of The New Canadians, dramaturgy for Moonwake with Sound the Alarm.  Joanna is the Dramaturg, Creative Engagement, at PTC.


June 14 & 28, 6:00-8:00 pm (Online) | 20 maximum (Suggested value: $100)
Explore processes, techniques and ideas to write, rewrite or finish song lyrics. For every level of songwriter, from beginners who have never written a song to experienced songwriters looking for inspiration. Two 2-hour sessions. Musical instruments not required for this workshop.

Jon Wood and Belinda Bruce performing a The Heatley in Vancouver 2020Belinda Bruce & Jon Wood have been creating and performing music together for 20 years, with performances in festivals and clubs across BC and Ontario, including onboard entertainment on VIA Rail. Belinda is a writer, editor, and singer-songwriter/musician. She has released two critically acclaimed albums, garnering nominations for 3 Canadian folk music awards, and has been a member of bands in an array of styles from folk-pop to swing jazz, including her partner Jon Wood’s band, Flophouse jr. Belinda sang in the Lost Gospel Ensemble in The Meal (PuSh Festival and Pacific Theatre), was musical director/performer in Save More (Theatre Conspiracy), and sang in The Events choir (Pi Theatre). A graduate of UBC (MFA, Creative Writing) and York University (BA, English), Belinda has published writing in Vancouver Review, Descant, Event, and more. Belinda is the Communications Manager at PTC.  Jon is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and music producer with over 30 years of experience in the industry. He has released five records and a handful of singles with his band Flophouse jr, played on and produced several albums with BC artists including Cam Penner, Sun Belt, Herald Nix and Robert Connely Farr, and has toured nationally and internationally for over 20 years. He performed in the rock performance piece Stray (Theatre Conspiracy), musical performance piece Sun Belt: Cabalcor (Push Festival) and gospel musical The Meal (PuSh Festival and Pacific Theatre).


June 21, 6:00-9:00 pm (Online) | 20 maximum (Suggested value: $75)
New to cold reads? Want to feel more confident in your cold reading skills? Whether you’re taping auditions for new or unpublished plays or prepping for podcast or online play reading recordings, Cold Reads and Fast Takes on New Material will give you tools to make the most of a text. How do you find meaning, use your voice, and make clear choices? Through practical analysis and repetition within the workshop, you’ll identify your blocks and how to get through them. You may even discover some new scripts you love…

Melanie YeatsMelanie Yeats (she/her) has over 20 years of performance and directing experience, most recently, casting actors for the popular fiction podcast The Apocrypha Chronicles, produced by re:Naissance Opera.  Melanie has extensive training in voice, text interpretation, and audition techniques with instructors such as Richard Armstrong, Karen Kohlhaas, Bill Peters, and Andrew McIlroy. Melanie loves to help performers of all backgrounds identify their unique strengths as cold readers.


July 19-22, 6:00-9:00 pm + July 25, 2:00-5:00 pm | 10 maximum (Suggested value: $375)
Do you have an idea you’d like to explore for one performer and an audience? Learn a dramaturgical approach that can be applied to text and movement, helping you discover your own voice and way of working. Five 3-hour sessions, offered digitally with some options for on-site work.

Heidi TaylorHeidi Taylor is a dramaturg, director and performer, and Artistic and Executive Director at PTC. As part of her work at PTC, she is dramaturg for VACT’s MSG Lab, developing new work by Asian Canadian writers, and with the Virago Play Series, working with emerging cis female, trans and non-binary artists. She makes sited, devised, and interdisciplinary work, developing performances from first idea through production. She has also dramaturged for dance, including an upcoming project with Amber Funk Barton. Recent projects include Carmen Aguirre’s Anywhere But Here, Tetsuro Shigetmatsu’s Kuroko and 1 Hour Photo, rice & beans theatre’s yellow objects and Chicken Girl, Kendra Fanconi’s Tinkers and Amber Funk Barton and Mindy Parfitt’s am a. Heidi received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Contemporary Art from SFU, where she taught acting for 15 years. Her collective, Proximity Arts, created cross-disciplinary projects including podplays, sited dance performance, a community-run side show, chamber opera, cabaret, sound installation and a digital gardening project from 2003 – 2011. Heidi is Board Treasurer of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and was the founding president of LMDA Canada.

All workshops will be Pay What You Will: suggested workshop values detailed above.

Registration is on first-come basis. 

*If you are taking one of our online workshops, please be in touch in advance to get set up on your electronic device.

To ask questions or register, email: Please mention the workshop you are interested in.