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2014 Winners Announced

Alberta Playwrights’ Network and Theatre Alberta Announce the Winners of the

48th Annual Alberta Playwriting Competition

June 26, Calgary, AB – The Alberta Playwrights’ Network and Theatre Alberta are pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Alberta Playwriting Competition, the longest running provincial competition of its kind in Canada, offering the largest cash prize of any provincial playwriting competition.

Calgary & Lethbridge playwright James Wade received the Grand Prize Category honor for his one-act play Helmut’s Big Day. The Grand Prize winner also receives $3500.00.

Helmut's Big Day takes place on an ancient wall protecting the glorious empire from the savage barbarians on the other side. The problem arises when Sabir and Katar, two soldiers tasked with defending the wall, forget which side is which. When they see a rider approaching from either direction, they are given a chance to redeem themselves if they can correctly identify the soldier from the barbarian. Failure to kill the barbarian and salute the soldier will mean possible death and certain dishonour for the both of them. 

James Wade is a Calgary-based playwright, screenwriter and visual artist. He is a graduate of the University of Lethbridge where he earned a BFA studying Theatre and Visual Art. His plays Muse Control and Greetings From Sardineland have won awards including the U of L's Play Right Prize and The Ottawa Little Theatre's National One-Act Playwriting competition (2nd place). His work has been produced through the U of L's TheatreXtra program, Calgary Fringe Festival and through Red Phone Theatre, a collective where James serves as Co-Artistic Director. James will be attending the University of Calgary this fall to pursue an MFA in playwriting.

The jury had the following comments on Helmut’s Big Day:

"A short, surprising, dynamo of a theatre piece, packed with surreal humour. An exciting, existential read."

Calgary Playwright Ryan Reese received the Discovery Prize Category honor for his play Before the Night Takes Us. The emerging playwright will receive the $1,500 prize to help fund his future writing endeavors.

Before the Night Takes Us tells the story of Alison, a young musician whose gift for music has begun to reveal talents she never could have imagined. Desperate for answers, she accepts the help of a mysterious pianist and an icy detective, who know more about her than anyone should. As Alison hunts for the truth, no one will be able to predict who or what she will become. 

Ryan Reese is an emerging actor and playwright based out of Calgary. He is a graduate of the University of Lethbridge’s Performance program. In 2013 his play Ascending the Blue won the Discovery Prize in The Alberta Playwriting Competition. This summer Ryan’s latest play Rocks will be produced as part of The Common Ground Theatre Festival in Calgary.

The jury had the following comments on Before the Night Takes Us:

“Unusual, nicely surreal, with evidence of solid talent that should be encouraged.”

A huge thank you to the jury for the 2014 Alberta Playwriting Competition: Daryl Cloran, David Copelin and Hal Kerbes.  

Daryl Cloran is the Artistic Director of Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, BC where he recently directed Les Miserables, Fiddler on the Roof, Betrayal and Noises Off. Daryl has also directed at theatres across Canada, including: Tribes (Canadian Stage), And All For Love (NAC), Generous  (Tarragon), Afterplay (Shaw Festival), The Last Five Years (Manitoba Theatre Centre), Time Stands Still (Theatre Aquarius), This is How it Goes (Neptune), and Boeing Boeing (Thousand Islands Playhouse). Previous to moving out west, Daryl was the Founding Artistic Director of Toronto-based Theatrefront, where he directed 12 productions, including: THE MILL (Now We Are Brody)UBUNTU (The Cape Town Project) and RETURN (The Sarajevo Project). Daryl has been awarded the Canada Council's John Hirsch Prize for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Director, the Toronto Theatre Emerging Artist Award, and a Robert Merritt Award for Outstanding Director (Halifax). Upcoming, Daryl is directing the World premiere of Liberation Days at Theatre Calgary and the Canadian premiere of Peter and the Starcatcher at WCT.

David Copelin is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Dramatists Guild of America as well as a founding member and former President of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. David’s original plays include A Clean Breast, The Angel Capone, Bella DonnaHitler Goes to Heaven, Quite Contrary, The Rabbi of Ragged Ass Road, That Other Thing, and Wife Insurance (with Cat Delaney). His translation of Jarry’s Ubu Roi has been produced at the Shaw Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, and many universities. With John Van Burek, David adapted Carl Sternheim’s comedy Citizen Schippel for Pleiades Theatre, and he recently translated Stéphane Brulotte’s In Hemingway’s Shadow. David has worked as a dramaturg and story consultant for Arena Stage, CBS/Fox Video, the Mark Taper Forum, Marin Theatre Company, Midwest Playlabs, New Dramatists, the Phoenix Theatre, ScriptLab, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Warner Bros. Pictures. He has taught theatre at Brock University, the University of California, and Southern Oregon University. David is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Drama School. A dual citizen of Canada and the U.S., David lives in Vancouver, BC. He is represented by Michael Petrasek at The Talent House in Toronto.

Hal Kerbes –  Hal’s experience with the craft of writing includes a television series, a dance mystery for DJD, several plays, some 60 works of scripted improve for family audiences (including more than a dozen original musicals) and literally hundreds of interactive murder mysteries. He also spent a decade touring with the a cappella quartet GUILD, works as a director, designer & musician, and has taught musical theatre courses for both adults and children.  Onstage, Hal has regularly been seen onstage  at Theatre Calgary, Lunchbox Theatre, Sage Theatre, Ground Zero/ Hit and Myth, Alberta Theatre Projects, Vertigo Theatre, Stage West, the Mayfield, the Citadel, Edmonton Opera, Theatre North West, Western Canada Theatre and the Chemainus Theatre Festival,  and on screen in projects such Lonesome Dove, Johnson County War, September Dawn,  Heartland and most recently AMC’s Hell on Wheels.  Hal  received the Greg Bond award for contribution to musical theatre in Calgary, and with his wife, Kathryn Kerbes, was recognized with  the Harry & Martha Cohen award for sustained and significant contribution to theatre in Calgary for their work as co-artistic directors of Shadow Productions.

Alberta Playwrights’ Network gratefully acknowledges the support of The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Lottery Fund, The Calgary Arts Development Authority and The City of Calgary, The Edmonton Arts Council and The City of Edmonton, Edmonton Community Foundation and Theatre Alberta.

For further information about the Alberta Playwriting Competition, Alberta Playwrights’ Network, or to arrange interview opportunities, contact the APN office at 403.269.8564,

or toll-free at 1.800.268.8564.


Submission Deadline: 
March 1st, 2015

The Alberta Playwriting Competition is the longest running provincial playwriting competition and offers the largest cash prize of any playwriting contest in Canada. It is open to all playwrights who reside in Alberta, whether they are members of the Alberta Playwrights' Network or not. Winning plays and Honorable Mentions often receive additional dramaturgical support through APN's development Programs. 





Grand Prize Category - $3500
• Open to all unproduced scripts by Alberta Playwrights

Discovery Prize Category - $1500
• Open to all unproduced scripts by Alberta Playwrights who have not been produced in a professional setting.  Playwrights may have upt to two other plays produced in a non-professional or festival setting. This category is intended for "emerging" playwrights.

For the 2014 Rules and Entry Form, please click here.

Notable Winners:

  • Mary's Wedding by Stephen Massicotte (premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects' playRites in 2002/Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play)
  • Apple by Vern Thiessen (premiered at Workshop West in Edmonton/Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play in 2002)
  • The Last Train by Daniela Vlaskalic and Beth Graham (premiered at Shadow Theatre in Edmonton 2004)
  • Blood by Meg Braem (Canadian premiere at Sage Theatre in Calgary 2010)
  • Super 8 by Mark Hopkins and Charles Netto (Canadian premiere at Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary 2012)

The 2014 APC is presented in association with: