Applications are now open for Spring/Summer 2024 programs. For Fall 2024 progams onwards you can sign up to the Newsletter to receive an alert when applications open.
The Application and Payment systems will be closed from the 20th December to 3rd January as part of the Institutional Holiday Closure. SlideRoom will remain open for portfolio submissions.
Questions please contact the Admissions Office or call 403 762 6180.
Playwrights Lab - 2024
Celebrating over 50 years of supporting playwrights and theatrical storytelling!
Since its launch in 1973, The Banff Playwrights Lab has provided an inspiring, interdisciplinary, and inclusive environment for Canadian playwrights to work on their plays while surrounded by playwrights and performing artists from across the country and around the world. We are proud to gather on Treaty 7 territory to create, share, and explore theatrical storytelling.
The upcoming 51st edition of the Playwrights Lab encourages applications from established and emerging playwrights that are telling compelling stories and exploring new creative landscapes in this time of both deep challenges and great opportunities for the theatre world.
We invite artists developing new works for both adults and young audiences – especially artists that are new to the Lab – to join us in a dynamic conversation about storytelling and contemporary performance as we push Canadian theatre into the future.
What does the program offer?
Ten Canadian writers will be offered a two-week residency at Banff Centre. Accepted playwrights may invite a collaborator to attend for up to four days to work with you on your project; this may be a dramaturg, director, digital creator, actor, designer, musician, choreographer, or translator. We encourage writers to consider inviting a non-theatre artist or individual essential to their creation process. Details of your proposed collaborator should be included in your application.
The Lab’s dramaturgical team will support these projects throughout the Lab. Optional online sessions (pre or post-program) may be offered as a community resource and way to stay in touch.
Note: The 2024 Lab will not include a company of actors.
Applicants also have the opportunity to be considered for The Retreat, a two-week winter residency from February 18th to March 3rd, 2024. The Retreat offers four playwrights the opportunity to focus specifically on the writing for their individual project. The Lab Director and Dramaturg 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. No production support is available. Please indicate your interest at step 3 of the application process.
Who should apply for Playwrights Lab?
The Lab values strong storytelling, diversity (in form, discipline, experience, culture, and community), beautiful language, bold experimentation, and collaboration. We seek artists who are examining theatrical conventions, taking risks, and asking questions about our society; artists who demand that theatre have social and political impact, and who are writing plays that seek to challenge and change our world.
The Playwrights Lab supports writers and plays that tell stories not commonly told on Canadian stages; stories that embrace outrage and wrestle with wild ideas and images; and pursue challenging, multi-disciplinary, provocative approaches to telling stories.
We encourage applications from artists creating works that bridge theatre/dance and indoor/outdoor spaces; and projects whose goals reach beyond the theatre space to changing practices, systems and communities. As we consider the forms of new work that playwrights have engaged in during the pandemic, we want to acknowledge and examine approaches to storytelling that combine live and digital components.
Applications are open to Canadians and Permanent Residents only. Under the Jay Treaty in North America, Indigenous candidates are encouraged to apply. We welcome artists from all communities and encourage applications from artists working with Indigenous languages, incorporating multiple languages, and those working on projects with little or no language to apply.
Your program fee includes a single bedroom on the Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program.
Get connected with other artists on campus and focus on your projects in a creative environment while we take care of the day-to-day essentials.
Using a credit-based system to dine on campus, our flexible meal plans allow you to select meals according to your own needs during your stay. Banff Centre can accommodate most dietary requests.
The Full Flex meal plan is calculated at $70 credit per day, equivalent to breakfast, lunch and dinner at our Buffet service.
A financial award towards your travel costs to and from Banff. Regional maximums apply.
Enjoy special artist rates for ticketed performances or complimentary access to events.
Play readings and other activities may be available during the program.
Playwrights will be offered a work space suited to the nature of their creative projects.
Fees & Financial Assistance
Application fee: $65 for individuals or groups ($35 for applicants who identify as Indigenous).
Application Fees are non-refundable.
Individual group members must pay an additional registration fee of $35 on acceptance.
*Scholarship of 100% is available and will be applied to cover tuition, meals and accommodation costs. A travel allowance is available to help with travel costs (regional maximums apply).
If you would like to be considered, please complete the Financial Aid section when uploading your supporting materials.
Banff Centre will issue official tax receipts for eligible tuition fees and financial assistance and awards as required by the Income Tax Act. You will receive a T2202 (Tuition and Enrolment Certificate) for eligible tuition fees paid and a T4A (Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income) for applicable financial assistance and awards.
Help fund your experience at Banff Centre. View a compiled list of national and international opportunities here.
How to Apply
No more than two pages outlining:
• Your project status, what you would like to accomplish at the Lab, what you are striving to achieve with the story, and your developmental goals.
• Whether there is a collaborator you wish to attend the Lab, and their name, and relationship to the project (note: full collaborator details collected in collaborator section).
• Include a list of readings, workshops and presentations, plus relationship with play development centres and/or producing companies or collaborators.
• If previously produced, articulate why you are returning to a developmental/writing process on the project.
Note: You may apply with written materials as outlined, or with a video (maximum duration of 7 minutes), or a combination of written/video materials.
Acknowledging the Banff Playwrights Lab
In recognition of the Lab’s contribution to the development of each writer's work, writers are required to include Banff Centre’s logo and credit on the title page of all future readings, workshops, productions, recordings, and publications of their projects.
All applications will be reviewed by the Lab's dramaturgical team, and additional adjudicators as required. The Lab does not provide feedback on applications. Please be aware that this is a highly competitive national program that often receives 100-plus applications.
Invitations to attend the Lab will be extended by January 15th, 2024, and the selected writers announced by April 2024. Final decisions are made by the Lab Director.
- Applications are open to Canadians and Permanent Residents only. Under the Jay Treaty in North America, Indigenous candidates are also encouraged to apply.
- We do accept plays that are commissioned by other theatres or producers, however, you must obtain written permission from the commissioning organization stating that they support your application.
- We will consider projects that have been produced. The writer, however, must make a compelling case for a process of revising the project based on what they gleaned from the production, with the goal of making the play more prepared for future productions. A produced project is defined as a project that has been reviewed by critics. We do consider plays that have had a previous workshop, or developmental opportunities.
- We will consider plays that are already scheduled for a production. Please include information on the production, including dates and creative team. In your artistic statement, please articulate your developmental goals for the project prior to rehearsal.
- The Lab is unable to accept applications for projects that have been declined in previous years.
- Applicants must be ages 18+ at the time of the program start date.
- Playwrights who have attended the Lab or Retreat in the last 2 years are not eligible to apply.
- Playwrights who have attended other Banff Centre Theatre Department residencies in 12 months preceding the Lab are not eligible to apply.
Please ensure that you have reviewed these important FAQs about Banff Centre before applying.
All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is 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. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.