Alberta Playwrights’ Network and Theatre Alberta Announce

Winners of the 49th Annual Alberta Playwriting Competition

Calgary playwright KEN CAMERON received the Grand Prize for his play THE BLOGFATHER. The Grand Prize winner also receives $3500.00.

THE BLOGFATHER - known by the pen name "Hoder", Derakhshan is an Iranian-Canadian blogger who was credited with starting the blogging revolution in Iran and is called the father of Persian blogging by many journalists. From his base in Canada he wrote for The Guardian newspaper in the UK, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera and spoke internationally about the use of the internet as a means for social and political reform. Derakhshan was arrested on November 1, 2008 and sentenced to 19½ years in prison on September 28, 2010.

KEN CAMERON BIO - Ken is the former Artistic Director of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival and a past Executive Director of the Alberta Playwrights’ Network.  He is also a multi-faceted playwright whose work fluctuates between commercially accessible plays and alternative theatre. On one end, lie plays like Dear Johnny Deere, a musical adaptation of songs by acclaimed Canadian musician Fred Eaglesmith, which ran at Theatre Calgary to great acclaim.

The jury had the following comments on THE BLOGFATHER:

  • Grand Prize: The Blogfather engaged me with its global reach as well as its layered and complex storytelling.  The cultural and political questions at the heart of the play are no easier for the audience than they are for the characters and this is all for the better.  
  • What I liked about The Blogfather was that it has everything in a play that I appreciate - the personal and the political all wrapped up in a highly theatrical package.  
  • The Blogfather is an ambitious piece of theatre, which explores multiple themes through a variety of mediums to create an impactful statement about art, politics and cultural diversity.

The Jury awarded Honorable Mentions to MEG BRAEM (Calgary) for her play A Worthy Opponent and to DARRIN HAGEN (Edmonton) for his play Go West, Young Man



Edmonton Playwright LIANE FAULDER received the Discovery Prize for her play THE LONG WALK HOME. The emerging playwright will receive the $1,500 prize to help fund her future writing endeavors. 

THE LONG WALK HOMEdocuments the recovery of Paul Franklin, a soldier injured in a 2006 suicide bombing in Afghanistan that left one Canadian diplomat dead, and two comrades-in-arms wounded. Master Corporal Franklin lost both of his legs above the knee, but returned home determined to walk again. Within four months of his injury, and against all odds and predictions of his doctors, Franklin learned to walk on artificial legs. The Long Walk Home is a story of loss, courage, love and hope. It inspires all of us who wonder how we will take that next step when tough times challenge the body and spirit.

LIANE FAULDER BIO - Liane is the Edmonton Journal’s food columnist and appears Wednesdays in the Food Section and daily on-line through her blog, Eat My Words, named Best Regional Blog in Canada in 2010 by the Canadian Food Bloggers Association. Since joining the Edmonton Journal more than 25 years ago, Liane has been a life columnist, city columnist and television critic. For many years she has been a regular contributor to CBC radio in Edmonton. Her personal essay, About The Boys, was published in the best selling Canadian anthology, Dropped Threads 3. Liane’s 2007 book, Long Walk Home: Paul Franklin’s Journey from Afghanistan, chronicles the inspiring recovery of an Edmonton soldier who lost both legs in a suicide bombing.

The jury had the following comments on THE LONG WALK HOME:

  • Discovery: The Long Walk Home is a thoughtfully constructed family drama with compelling characters about a very timely and important topic. 
  • The Long Walk Home is a really well-crafted, well-told story on an important subject by a playwright with obvious skill and talent.  
  • The Long Walk Home is ultimately about family, perseverance and overcoming obstacles. This is a moving drama, which speaks to our humanity in the face of disaster.

The jury awarded Honorable Mentions in this category to LIAM SALMON (Edmonton) for his play Dig and to MICHELE MILLER (Edmonton) for her play 21: The Musical.

The jury for the 2015 Alberta Playwriting Competition

comprised a panel of established Canadian Theatre Practitioners: Joanna Falck, Natalie Meisner, and Valerie Pearson. The jury works blind (without knowledge of the playwrights’ identity) to select a winner in each category.

Joanna Falck is in her 9th season as Literary Manager at the Shaw Festival Theatre. Previously, she was the Literary Manager at the Tarragon Theatre. As a freelance dramaturg, she has worked with playwrights from across Canada and with companies including Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, fuGen Asian Canadian Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Arts Club Theatre, Banff Playwrights' Colony, Native Earth Performing Arts, The Cabaret Company/Buddies in Bad Times, Canadian Stage Company and SummerWorks.

Natalie Meisner is a writer from Lockeport, Nova Scotia.  Her plays have been produced across the country, won numerous awards, been collected in book from and appear in numerous Canadian Anthologies.  Her new book, Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family is he lighthearted and informative true account of two lesbians who want to have children.  Her plays have won the Canadian National Playwriting Competition, been shortlisted for the Herman Voaden, and been produced by CBC Radio.  Stage productions include Speed Dating For Sperm Donors (Lunchbox Theatre), Burning In (Gateway Theatre), and Pink Sugar: A Dark Tale of Love, Betrayal and Missing Body Parts (BSMT Theatre, Solo Collective). Her plays have been published in Outspoken: A Canadian Collection of Lesbian Scenes and Monologues and Lesbian Plays: Coming of Age in Canada. Her early plays have been collected in book form: Growing Up Salty(Roseway/Fernwood).

Meisner is a wife and mother of two great boys and divides her time between Lockeport, N.S. and Calgary, AB.  She holds a Doctorate in English (University of Calgary), a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (University of British Columbia) and Bachelor’s degree in English from Dalhousie University.  She has taught at the University of Regina, University of Calgary and currently is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Mount Royal University where she teaches creative writing, drama and literature.

Valerie Pearson has spent over fifty percent of her career working on new plays, from the Banff Playwrights colony, to ATP 's Playrites, Network Newrites and Stage One at Lunchbox. Breathing life for the first time into a character has been an exciting challenge.  Val has also directed some new plays including Joe Slabes musical premiere of Jeremy de Bergerac and will be premiering his new musical, The Paper Bag Princess in 2016. It was an honor to read these exciting new works for the APC.

 Alberta Playwrights’ Network gratefully acknowledges the support of The Alberta Foundation 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 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. 

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 Prizeand 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 andHal 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 onstageat 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.  Halreceived the Greg Bond award for contribution to musical theatre in Calgary, and with his wife, Kathryn Kerbes, was recognized withthe 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.