Being involved in Ergo Theatre's Pink Festival as an emerging playwright was a dream. From day one, the festival producers were organized, communicative and thoughtful. Not only was it an immense boon for me as a playwright to be provided writing deadlines with a tangible goal in mind (a public reading!), but Anna worked tirelessly to ensure that I was paired with the dramaturg I requested and that the actors who came on board to workshop my piece were perfect for their roles. My play, Duecentomila, went through three different drafts during the dramaturgy process, and I was incredibly well supported throughout the whole workshopping process.
Overall, I think Ergo Pink Festival really fills a gap in terms of the development of new work, not just by pairing playwrights with professional dramaturgs and directors, but by fostering a sense of community. I have never been involved in a development process before that not only focuses on workshopping a script, but also on nourishing professional working relationships and educating young artists on the ins and outs of the theatre industry.
Shelley M. Hobbs
When my play Monkey Wrench was selected for the 2019 Ergo Pinkfest, I was thrilled. I knew that Pinkfest provided not only a chance to see my play performed in a staged reading, but that I would have the opportunity to work with an experienced (and kind) dramaturge, director, and actors in the development of the work. This is a difficult thing for a playwright to find on their own, especially if one is relatively new to the field. Monkey Wrench went through rewrites with the assistance of dramaturge Marcia Johnson, then fine tuning after rehearsals under the direction of Chantal Forde, then even more adjustments after the reading. All of it was essential to making the play work. I am most grateful to Ergo Arts Theatre and Anna Pappas for this endeavour; my play has bloomed under their watch as it would not have done under my care alone.
Though it’s admittedly hard for me to tell at this point, I believe that being selected as one of the Ergo Pink Fest 2019 playwrights represented a turning point in my career as a theatre artist. As someone fresh out of school and new to the city, it can be difficult to find ways to get started, and even more difficult to find a place that you feel safe creating and learning in. I feel truly privileged to have participated in Pink Fest 2019, where I had the opportunity to learn from peers and mentors alike. It was also a great opportunity for me to meet people in the industry and have my work seen by them. Anna did a fantastic job of maintaining a positive and organized environment, and she put together an incredible team of people for the festival. I felt continuously supported throughout the entire process, and that support definitely shone through in my work.
The Ergo Pink Festival was a hugely impactful experience for me as an emerging playwright. The amount of support offered through this opportunity is huge, and rare, among other festivals in the city. It’s not often that a playwright is given a dramaturg, director, actors, and four workshops of their play in preparation for a public staged reading. This generous workshop period really allowed me to try new things and take risks in a way that I might not have, had I been given less time in the room to experiment. I was also so thrilled by the artists that were brought in to work on my piece. Anna puts a lot of thought and care into who she invites into the process, and I appreciated this endlessly. I really felt that I could trust her judgment, which alleviated my worries as a playwright, and allowed me to focus on my writing, knowing that it would be in capable, professional (and very talented!) hands when my reading came. The Ergo Pink Festival is a gift to the city, and should be funded for another season without reservation."
I was thrilled that my play was selected by the jury at the 2019 Ergo Pink Fest. The artistic director, Anna Pappas, was such a gem to work with. From the first warm welcome to assembling the artistic team to the workshop process and the final reading, Anna devoted tremendous amount of time, energy, and kindness to make sure everything ran smoothly. I received valuable feedback from my dramaturg, Marcia Johnson. The draft used for the reading was significantly better than my initial draft. She also gave me ideas to further improve the play after the festival process, and I had adopted many of her suggestions in my further rewrites to make the play stage ready. I highly recommend this festival to any female or non-binary emerging playwright who has a draft of a new play and wants to take it to the next level. The amount of exposure to the Toronto theatre scene through this festival was also incredible!
Anita La Selva
The Ergo Pink festival is an excellent ground for the development of new work by female identifying artists. I had the great pleasure of returning to the Festival for my second year as a director/dramaturg and found this experience to be even more rewarding than the first. Given my background in inter-disciplinary creation, Artistic Director Anna Pappas paired me up with Vancouver playwright mia amir to workshop her new inter-disciplinary creation Geologic Formations. This partnership proved so successful that mia and I have decided to continue to work together over the next two years to fully develop the work. Thanks to her keen insight into the needs and qualities of each individual associated with the festival, Anna is able to foster relationships and create opportunities for artists that move well beyond the parameters of a three-day festival. This is what I call visionary leadership.
Ergo Pink Fest provides a wonderful opportunity for emerging playwrights to develop their work and make vital connections with the theatre community. The entire festival is put together with an enormous amount of care and attention to detail, with the goal of fostering exciting now voices in Canadian Theatre. In the midst of the 2019 Festival, a wonderful meet-and-greet gathering was organized. This was a highlight for me; I looked around the room and saw such a glorious diversity of talents and voices, all coming together to cross-pollinate and support each other's work. Writers, directors, actors, all glowing with the excitement of making something brand new. The Ergo Pink Festival is an enormous gift to Toronto and Canada.
My experience with the Ergo Pink Fest was, in short, fulfilling. It was an exciting experience to be working on the development of a new piece, but it was even more special to be part of a festival dedicated to the underserved female identifying and non-binary playwrights. As a female PoC, playwright, and director, it was incredible to be in a room that was, in the full sense of the word, equal. The artists, the audiences, and the pieces presented were given a home where diversity and difference is celebrated.
I am so proud to have been a part of this incredible festival.
Not only does this festival give much needed room to female and non-binary voices, but it also, and this moved me so much, allowed for a great range of age and experience. Young writers, performers, directors working alongside those in mid-career and older experienced artists and ALL with the same desire: to have our voices heard and honoured.
This festival has been a wonderful opportunity for me as an actor to connect with female and non-binary playwrights who are creating work that resonates deeply with me. The two years I have participated I enjoyed being a part of such a rich process, even within a short period of time. The quality of the Ergo team, including direction & production is remarkable. I look forward to their growth and I’m thankful for how the festival has inspired and informed my development as an actor & theatre creator.
As a first-time participant as an actor in Ergo Pink Fest 2019, I was impressed by the scale and diversity of material. We were all very well taken care of, the schedule was intricately-planned out and organized, and you could feel the playwright benefiting from the opportunity to hear their play in the mouths of real humans, with time in between rehearsals to re-write. The audience sharing was also very informative. Such a gift of an opportunity to any playwright and work in its early stages. ~ Julie Tepperman (actor/playwright/co-artistic director, Convergence Theatre)
I'm so grateful to Ergo Pink Fest for my first-ever chance to perform a character written expressly for a non-binary trans performer like me! Such characters are pretty much absent from the traditional theatre repertoire, which means new writing showcases like Ergo play a crucial role in creating fresh possibilities for how gender can be represented on stage -- and in our imaginations. All the work I saw there by women and non-binary people was so thrilling. Long may the festival flourish!
Erica May Wood
Working on mia's play as part of Ergo Pink Fest 2019 was a rich experience.
The play was dense with meaning, beauty and insight; Geologic Formations, to me, is one of those plays that you learn deeply from - about the depth of human condition and humanity.
And the process was fantastic - to work with professionals with such heart and insight, to explore the text with Anita's wonderful movement framework and to be part of contributing the mia's continued work on the piece, was very rewarding.
I felt challenged and supported and the experience certainly continue to contribute to my ongoing work as an artist. Thank you!
Working with Anna Pappas and Ergo Pink Fest is a joy from start to finish. The fabulous, diverse, extremely talented group that Anna assembles for each workshop facilitates artistic freedom, inspiration, and delight—whether as an actor or as an audience member.
I love the collaborative combination of new artists and seasoned pros. I love telling—and watching—the surprising and moving stories of female and non-binary writers and performers. I so appreciate the safe, welcoming, creative space that Anna nurtures and provides for all.
Ergo Pink Fest is extremely well run and organized. Anna obviously values and respects artists and audience alike. Would do it again in a heartbeat.
I have been involved in new play development for many years now and have worked primarily (though not exclusively) with established playwrights. Ergo Pink Fest is such an important venue for emerging playwrights to get quality time in an incredibly supportive environment. I say "quality" because this Festival provides these emerging artists with really excellent, experienced actors, directors and dramaturgs. It also (and VERY importantly) allows all these people to have TIME to focus on the play at hand and affords the playwright the time to go away from the table, mull, think and rewrite - so important in the development process. And it really is a supportive environment for women and non-binary people to be vulnerable, open and honest - also so important for any artistic endeavour. As well, the public reading seems to me to give the playwright the chance to taste the other important aspect of any theatrical pursuit, which is to say the audience and their reaction to the play at hand. I was lucky enough this year to see all of these things come into play with "Mighty" by Kit McKeown. It was a pleasure and a very gratifying experience working with Kit, Bev, Courtney and Alex on this piece. And the audience reaction to Kit's play after the reading was so positive.
I hope I can be a part of all next year!
When Anna contacted me about becoming an advisor for the Ergo Pink Arts Festival, I agreed to become involved because I know that getting women's work developed and produced continues to be a challenge in Canadian theatre. The fact that the festival included dramaturgs and workshops told me that they were interested in supporting all kinds of women artists in a variety of processes. And when I spoke with Anna, her passion for and commitment to not just working on these plays, but supporting these artists made becoming involved with this festival an easy decision. The festival itself was well organized, had a really supportive atmosphere and I'm excited about continuing to work with them to support the work of women artists.
"I was honoured to be part of the second annual Ergo Arts Pink Fest, working as both juror and dramaturge. The festival has grown so much since its inaugural year, becoming a real hub of theatrical creativity. Anna Pappas takes great care in making sure the festival's focus is squarely on supporting women and non-binary playwrights. The readings, panels and events are all extremely well thought out and produced. It is a joy to work for and attend."
This year's Pink Fest represented the most diverse selection of playwrights of any theatre festival I have attended. This is particularly impressive considering the relatively small amount of plays. The casting further reflected the vision of these writers with excellent actors who were appropriate for their roles.
“I completely enjoyed the reading of Monkey Wrench. The panel on "how to talk about your play" was great. As an emerging writer, I have so many questions. The range of knowledge shared by the panel was really instructive. I have followed up on some of the advice and become aware of many more resources available to playwrights. I will definitely attend more of Ergo events next year.” – Lisa Randall
“The panel featured strong participants, and each had interesting and worthy things to say.” – Jeanette Lambermont, re:Theatre School 101 Panel
“Evening was well structured (i.e: having an hour break between readings). Monkey Wrench was a great piece.” – Mirka Loiselle
“Wonderful - beautiful work in a fun, open space”. – Audience member re: Lectured Demo Intimacy.