Banff Playwrights Colony
The Retreat: February 23 - March 9, 2014
The Colony: April 13 - May 4, 2014
The Retreat: February 23 - March 9, 2014
Application deadline: August 28, 2013
"The Banff Playwrights Colony is an incredible gift for a writer...the gift of time, care, support, camaraderie, and above all a space of your own to confront and explore your work with an intensity we cannot manage at home."
About The Banff Playwrights Colony
The Playwrights Colony has since 1974 offered Canadian playwrights a powerful and inspiring environment to work on their plays amidst the natural environment of The Banff Centre while surrounded by performing artists from across Canada and around the world. The Colony celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013 by launching components to accompany its long-standing spring playwrights retreat. Demonstrating renewed commitment to The Colony by The Banff Centre, the new Colony approach offers playwrights a broad range of opportunities to develop their work, from a pure retreat experience focused solely on writing, to the fellowship of its centerpiece spring Colony.
The Colony is committed to hosting a dynamic conversation about storytelling and contemporary theatre during each creative residency and invites all accepted participants to push Canadian theatre into the future. The Colony seeks artists who are asking questions about our society, who are challenging form, who are taking risks, and seeking a safe place where they can take their play to unsafe places they could otherwise not reach.
Visit our Theatre Arts Photo Album for images from the 2013 Banff Playwrights Colony.
The Colony in 2014
"What a soul-changing experience. Building with playwrights and actors, dramaturgs and directors, creators and vision seekers, swaddled in the beauty of majestic mountains; this is a blessing that remains with me."
The 2014 Banff Playwrights Colony will comprise two components: The Retreat and The Colony. All applicants will be considered for The Colony. The Retreat is available by invitation only. (See Other Colony Activities below for additional information.)
Eight Canadian writers will be accepted into The Colony, and offered a two-week residency at The Banff Centre. Each writer may invite a collaborator to attend The Colony for up to four days in order to work on their project. For example, that collaborator could be a dramaturg, director, actor, designer, musician, choreographer, or translator, or a non-theatre artist considered essential to the creation process. A company of six actors will be available to read scripts aloud and explore texts, subject to availability. An international writer/dramaturg team selected by The Colony Director will also be in residence to work on a new play and provide their perspective on theatrical creation beyond Canada. The Colony staff will include the Director, the Senior Playwright in Residence, and an Associate Dramaturg.
The Colony looks for artists committed to using the theatre to make a difference, to telling unique and outrageous stories, and embracing innovation and ideas. We value strong storytelling, diversity (in form and community), beautiful language, bold experimentation, and collaboration. We seek artists who demand that theatre can have social and political impact, and are writing plays that seek to challenge and change our world. We want to support writers and plays that tell stories that aren’t commonly told on Canadian stages, that embrace wild ideas, images, and individuals, and are inspired by and seek to convey a sense of outrage. This year, The Colony is particularly interested in projects engaged with contentious contemporary political issues.
The Banff Playwrights Colony is interested in Canadian writers at all phases of their career, and in theatrical projects of all kinds. Please note that The Colony’s focus is text-based works, and it is primarily a creative retreat for writers and their core collaborators. However, the definition of ‘text-based’ is very broad, and The Colony will consider applications by theatre artists working in collaborative teams, including devised scripts and other alternative play creation methods. We will also consider playwright/translator teams; please submit artistic statements in English. The Colony is focused on individual creators rather than companies. If you are interested in a company residency, please see the Production Residencies page.
Applicants must be available for two consecutive weeks during The Colony period, April 13 - May 4, 2014. Only one application per artist.
Note: The Colony is unable to accept applications for projects that have been declined in previous years. Applications are open to Canadian writers only.
All applications will be reviewed by The Colony Director, Senior Writer in Residence, and Associate Dramaturg and additional adjudicators as required. Invitations to attend The Colony will be extended by mid-December 2013, and the selected writers announced in January 2014. Final decisions are made by The Colony Director. In addition to a script, we require an artistic statement from each applicant (see How to Apply), which will assist the selection team in determining the projects best matched to this year’s Colony.
What the Banff Playwrights Colony Provides
The Colony provides each writer with return transportation to The Banff Centre, single accommodation at The Banff Centre for two weeks, and a full meal plan for two weeks. The writer has access to The Banff Centre including its recreation facilities. The writer may invite a collaborator of his/her choice to attend The Colony for up to four days to work on the project; The Colony will provide that individual with return transportation to The Banff Centre (scheduled in consultation with The Colony Director), single accommodation for four nights, a full meal plan, and access to The Centre’s facilities. The acting company will be available for at least one reading of the project. The Colony hosts events each week to encourage discussion and debate, and to ensure that writers are able to network with other writers. The Colony will encourage interested writers to attend performances and activities presented by other disciplines at The Banff Centre during their residency.
Acknowledging the Banff Playwrights Colony
In recognition of The Colony’s contribution to the development of each writers’ work, writers are required to include The Banff Centre’s logo and credit on the title page of all future readings, workshops, productions, recordings and publications of their projects. This requirement, and other details of The Colony, are detailed in a letter of agreement signed by each participant.
How to Apply
Please see How to Apply page.
Other Colony Activities
The Banff Playwrights Colony is establishing three new components: The Retreat was added in February 2013, and has become a permanent part of The Colony’s annual activities. The Workshop will be established in 2015. Each program will invite playwrights to The Banff Centre for up to two weeks, including travel and accommodation. A third component may be established in 2014, subject to funding: The Showcase will be a week-long workshop of one recent Colony project. The process will culminate in a public concert-style reading during the Banff Summer Festival.
The Retreat includes a Leighton Artists' Colony writing cabin to enable each selected playwright to focus on an intensive, individual writing process on a specific project. The Retreat is available by invitation only; all Colony applicants will be considered. Please do not call or email to participate in The Retreat. The Colony Director will be in attendance for part of The Retreat to consult with the selected writers, but this is not a dramaturgical process; the focus is on writing and creation. The Retreat may be offered in tandem with an invitation to The Colony. Participants will be encouraged to connect with artists and activities occurring during this period as part of The Centre’s programming in other disciplines. Dates: February 23 - March 9, 2014.
The Workshop includes a residency at The Banff Centre, and the ability to invite up to two core collaborators to work on the project with the writer. The Colony will provide an acting company of up to six actors for six days to explore the project in detail. The Colony Director will be present to facilitate the process and consult dramaturgically when appropriate.
Above photo: Motion performs at the Playwrights Speakeasy in The Club. Photo: Don Lee.
All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of The Banff Centre.