2018 HAT PLAYWRIGHTS UNIT

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In January 2018, we put out a call soliciting script drafts and ideas from playwrights across the country to be considered for our first ever Playwrights Unit. 

The goal of this Unit was to provide resources, guidance, and encouragement to playwrights over the course of a year as they develop a new draft of their play. The program is process based with individual plans specially designed to match each playwright and their given needs. 

The objective is to facilitate the creation of new Canadian plays in early development, with a special emphasis on Cape Breton Songs and Stories. 

In late 2018, we will host a Play Reading Series as a chance to air these new plays with the public. Stay tuned for more information!

 

MEET OUR PLAYWRIGHTS:

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LEON DUBINSKY

Leon Dubinsky is a songwriter, musical director, and actor was born in Sydney on July 5, 1941. He has produced a prolific body of work over the years including composition of "We Rise Again", which received an ECMA nomination for best song in 1994. Leon was the musical director of the Cape Breton Summertime Revue and Rise and Follies for twelve years. He was also the principal songwriter and producer of the annual album. He was a founding member of the band, Buddy and the Boys, 1977-1984 and has conducted numerous workshops for songwriters.

Leon has worked in film, radio and TV. He received a Genie nomination for his acting in the movie Life Classes and he was the principal actor in the TV series, Pit Pony. His theatre activities include work with The Mulgrave Road CO-OP, Theatre Antigonish, Theatre PEI, Factory Lab Theatre, UBC, St. FX Theatre, Southern Illinois University Theatre.

In 2002 Leon was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the East Coast Music Awards.

In addition Leon's interest in the environment saw him at the helm of the Save Kelly's Mountain Society.

Leon is married Beth MacCormick and they have one daughter, Ella Colleen. 

 

SUMMARY OF NEW PLAY - "REMEMBER THE MINER"

Inspired by the poetry of Dawn Fraser, "Remember the Miner" is a new musical play reminding us of a time gone by when men crawled forty-feet below the ocean's bed to carve out the essence of our beautiful island. Tales both personal and legendary interplay with the unforgettable music of Leon Dubinsky as a troupe of actors present their story. Featuring such iconic Cape Breton songs as: "Plain Ol' Miner Boy", "In the Pit", "Going Down", and of course... "We Rise Again".

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MICHAEL McPHEE

Michael McPhee is a Halifax based theatre artist, working as a writer, director and actor. He is the former creative director of the Doppler Effect Productions Society, as well as a founding member of Transitus. Produced writing credits include Logan and I (Merritt award nomination for best new play), CU2morrow (co-written with Annie Valentina, is now a feature film titled Lure by Ballistic films), Blood and Quick Silver (Fringe hit 2012 and winner of best director award), Whiteout (Fringe hit 2011), Wizard of Uh-Oz (best supporting actor Merritt nomination), In Pink and Class Act.  Other directing credits include Touch (The Doppler Effect), Lear's Daughters and Director's Cuts: 6 in under 60 (both for Left Foot First). He most recent venture The Cadimus Protocol launched a multiple disciplinary sci-fi universe, including his plays Tribe of One (Merritt award winner best script, nomination for best production, winner Fringe #1 Hit, best drama, best new script, Coast People's Choice Gold winner: Best Production) and The Contribution (Merritt award nomination best new script). He is also a co-creator of the puppet show 927 (Fringe hit 2013, Best Drama), and is a participant in the 2015 Animotion puppetry course at Mermaid Theatre. His most recent adventure has been working in the Canadian north.

 

SUMMARY OF NEW PLAY - "FROM THE INSIDE"

FROM THE INSIDE is a story about David, an average guy who is trying to be everything he thinks he's supposed to be: A progressive man in a changing world; A good friend; And, most of all, a good boyfriend for Michelle. But when a confrontation with a guy who grabbed her at a bar becomes physical, after she escalates it, he is unable to defend her.

The weeks that follow are a downward spiral as humiliation tears David apart. Plagued by nightmares of his bully, and unable to look himself in the mirror, his shame turns to micro aggressions against Michelle, endangering the relationship he now questions he deserves. His best friend Aaron can tell something is wrong, but David won't talk to him about it. Just like he won't talk to Michelle. Eventually this internalization of rage and self-disgust leads him to take drastic action.

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LINDSAY THOMPSON

Lindsay Thompson is a writer, actor, and occasional director. Some of her previous work includes writing and directing her own adaption of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice at the Boardmore Theatre, writing and directing Herstory: A Musical Guide for the Modern Woman at the Highland Arts Theatre, and writing and performing in Katherine’s Island (the Katherine MacLennan story) at the Fortress of Louisbourg, St. Pat’s Museum, and the Cape Breton Regional Library. She has also written a variety of one-act plays including The Top of the TreeBreaking the Tower, and Spear. Lindsay has also previously written several musical scripts for performance at The Fortress of Louisbourg.

 

SUMMARY OF NEW PLAY - "SEE JANE RUN (A Reluctant Musical)"

This is Jane. See Jane Run. See Jane …fall overboard? Meet Jane Porter, charismatic Victorian aristocrat, the eldest of four sisters, expert entomologist, engaged to be married to a certain William Clayton. Meet William, her fiancé, who happens to be taking credit for her life’s work. When this turbulent realization results in an unprecedented accident in the middle of the Atlantic, Jane finds herself washed ashore in an unfamiliar place. Enter Tarzan: the mysterious man from the jungle. Finding herself stranded and in a love triangle between man, woman and ape man, will we see Jane figure out the answer to her problems or witness the deterioration of her mental health as she descends to conversations with passing moths? Stay tuned to find out!

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RICHIE WILCOX

Richie Wilcox is a multi-talented director/singer/actor whose work has been seen across Canada and toured internationally. He is an Artistic Associate for Theatre Outré where he’s directed UNSEX’d, Castrati: An Electro Drag Opera, Late Company, How To Leave and more. Wilcox is an Artistic Co-Producer of Halifax’s live art company Heist where he most recently performed in Princess Rules and his original show New Waterford Boy: A Ceilidh.  Wilcox is part of the team that created the award-winning piece The Princess Show and the multimedia extravaganza that is Nation. 

He has spent almost a decade working at Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre as a director and performer and is currently an associate producer at Ship’s Company Theatre for the summer season of 2018. Wilcox recently became one of three co-festival directors of the Halifax-based performance festival Queer Acts. Wilcox is in the midst of writing two new plays at the moment - one about death (Good Grief) and one about a famous basketball tournament (Coal Bowl Week)
 

SUMMARY OF NEW PLAY - "COAL BOWL WEEK"

Coal Bowl Week is a play based on stories, events and characters obtained through interviews with participants, fans, and organizers of the Coal Bowl: a 35-year-old national basketball tournament hosted in New Waterford every winter. The play takes place over seven days and features the trials and tribulations of a cheerleader, a come from away basketball player, a hometown hero and a well-meaning teacher. Will the hometown team win? Will young love disintegrate over a week? Will the battle of practical jokes between teachers get out of hand? The answer is yes....and more. 

 

Interested in being considered for future HAT Playwrights Units? Send us an e-mail at: highlandartstheatre@gmail.com. We'll be soliciting submissions for the 2019 Playwrights Unit in December/January of this year...