is a bi-annual project which aims to introduce and to promote new anglophone and francophone Canadian plays on the German-speaking theatre scene. A jury consisting of German theatre experts reads, evaluates and selects the best plays.

Dear friends and colleagues,

NEW CANADIAN PLAYS seeks to identify, introduce and promote new anglophone and francophone Canadian plays with the best market potential for the German-speaking theatre scene. The project was established in 2006 by the Embassy of Canada in collaboration with Heritage Canada and partners across Canada and enters its sixth edition in 2012. Since 2007, it has been organized in collaboration with the Québec Government Office in Berlin and the International Theatre Institute Germany in Berlin. Since 2009, the Canada Council has generously supported the project. Since 2010, it takes place every two years.

The process relies on collaboration and shared expertise between Canada and Germany. Numerous partners throughout Canada such as Playwrights Guild Toronto and Centre des auteurs dramatiques in Montréal as well as many experts, dramaturges, directors, playwrights and agents have been submitting new plays.

A jury of 5 German theatre experts (on a rotational basis) pre-selects, reads and evaluates the submissions. Thanks to the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, we have been able to commission professional translations of the plays selected. They are promoted in a newsletter, in three languages (German, English and French), to more than 600 professional contacts across the German-speaking theatre scene: dramaturges, artistic directors, directors, translators and agents.

For German theatre professionals, it is hard to access information on the latest plays, developments and trends across Canada because of the country’s decentralized structure and geography. Moreover, the complexity of the German theatre system both demands and affords various ways of reaching decision makers. Our project continually succeeds in raising their awareness of new Canadian plays and in creating substantial networks for future collaboration between Canada and Germany. We even experience a growing interest from other countries such as Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Poland.

Dear partners throughout Canada, NEW CANADIAN PLAYS would not work without your ongoing support, openness, interest and collaboration. Your thorough knowledge of Canadian and Québécois theatre and play development, in well-made and new forms of writing in various styles and formats, as well as your awareness of established and upcoming playwrights is very valuable to us.

We kindly invite you to participate in this project by submitting new plays and texts which you believe to be of potential for an international market, thanks to their quality, style, form and content. Your support would greatly assist the jury’s work and is deeply appreciated.

We are happy to announce the members of the Jury 2012: John v. Düffel (author, dramaturge Deutsches Theater Berlin); Frank Heibert (freelance translator and jury president, Berlin); Simone Kaempf (theatre journalist, Berlin); Stephan Schmidtke (artistic director and head of dramaturgy, Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf); Frank Weigand (freelance translator, Berlin, editor Scène – Annual Anthology of Francophone Plays in German Translation).

Please find below all information and requirements to participate.

Submitted material must include the following information:

•      The completed application form in English or French (see forms attached)

•      The complete play in digital form only – including date of origin

•      A short synopsis of the play

•      A short CV of the playwright(s)

•      Foreign rights information (who is the agent or the holder of the rights?)

Only complete applications can be considered by the jury.


Please be aware of the following criteria:

•      Plays submitted should not be older than three years, meaning that they should neither have been written before 2009, nor have been presented to the public (reading, workshop, production or publication) before that date.

•      Plays don’t necessarily have to have been produced in Canada/Québec.

•      Plays should not yet be represented by a German agent or publisher.

•      Plays can deal with the challenges of contemporary life, private and political, and with relevant social issues, i.e. cultural diversity, migration, open society, future of the city, unemployment, environmental issues, demography.

•      Plays that have an obvious regional or local Canadian interest are more difficult to export to Germany.

•      Please do not send adaptations based on novels or films. Plays on the life of celebrities or historical characters are equally hard to place on the German market.

•      Plays for young audiences are welcome.

•      The jury is not only interested in well-made plays, but also in innovative forms of writing. In German-speaking theatres, we experience an increasing interest in creative and experimental writing which results in performance productions. The jury is open to supporting this innovative trend and is interested in also receiving performance texts and other, freer forms of theatre writing.

We kindly ask you to send all material (preferably in PDF-format) to the

Embassy of Canada in Germany, Berlin, attn. Gabriele Naumann-Maerten

and to the Québec Government Office in Berlin, attn. Marie-Elisabeth Räkel

Deadline: March 31, 2012

Your participation would greatly assist the jury’s work. Should you wish to share this call with other experts or individuals who might be interested to join this project, please feel free to distribute this call for plays including the application form.

Your support is much appreciated.

Best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Gabriele Naumann-Maerten

(Cultural Attaché – Performing Arts and Music, Embassy of Canada in Germany, Berlin)

Marie-Elisabeth Räkel

(Cultural Attaché – Québec Government Office in Berlin)

Frank Heibert

(Jury President 2012, Berlin)




Ce projet biennal vise à promouvoir la dramaturgie canadienne actuelle de langue anglaise et française en Allemagne et dans les pays germanophones. Un jury constitué de professionnels du théâtre allemand évalue les pièces et sélectionne les lauréats en fonction de leur potentiel pour le marché germanophone. 

Appel de textes 2012

Chers amis, chers collègues,

Le projet New Canadian Plays / Nouvelles pièces canadiennes  vise à identifier, à diffuser et à promouvoir les pièces canadiennes récentes de langue anglaise et  française pouvant susciter un intérêt pour la production dans les pays germanophones.

Mis sur pied en 2006 par l’Ambassade du Canada en collaboration avec Héritage Canada et d’autres partenaires canadiens, le projet a été réalisé en partenariat avec le Bureau du Québec à Berlin et l’International Theatre Institute Germany de Berlin dès l’édition 2007. Le Conseil des arts du Canada a pour sa part appuyé généreusement le projet depuis 2009. D’abord organisé tous les ans, le projet, devenu biennal en 2010, connaîtra donc sa sixième édition en 2012.

Le processus met à contribution l’expertise des professionnels du théâtre en Allemagne et au Canada. En effet, des partenaires tels le Playwrights Guild deToronto et le Centre des auteurs dramatiques de Montréal, mais aussi des auteurs, des agents, des directeurs artistiques et des metteurs en scène ont soumis ces dernières années de nombreuses pièces, alimentant le projet de manière essentielle.

Le jury est composé de cinq professionnels du théâtre allemand (une partie du jury est renouvelée lors de chaque édition). Les jurés présélectionnent, lisent et évaluent les pièces soumises. Grâce au soutien du Conseil des arts du Canada et du Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, les pièces sélectionnées lors des éditions précédentes ont été traduites en allemand. Les lauréats sont annoncés par un bulletin électronique diffusé en trois langues (allemand, anglais, français) à plus de 600 contacts professionnels du milieu du théâtre germanophone, dont des Dramaturg, des directeurs artistiques, des metteurs en scène, des agents et des traducteurs spécialisés.

Les professionnels du théâtre allemand ne sont pas forcément au fait des tendances et développements de la dramaturgie au Canada, puisqu’il est difficile d’avoir une vue d’ensemble sur la création, en partie en raison de l’immensité et de la diversité du pays et de ses structures décentralisées.

Par ailleurs, en Allemagne, les structures et modes de fonctionnement dans le secteur du théâtre sont complexes. Pour rejoindre les personnes clés, il est donc nécessaire d’emprunter des stratégies diverses. Au fil des éditions du projet, l’intérêt et la curiosité envers la dramaturgie canadienne s’intensifient. Ce succès contribue à établir des réseaux essentiels aux futures collaborations entre le Canada et l’Allemagne. Des partenaires d’Autriche, de Suisse, des Pays-Bas et de la Pologne expriment également leur intérêt.

Chers partenaires au Canada, le projet New Canadian Plays / Nouvelles pièces canadiennes est tributaire de votre ouverture, de votre collaboration et de votre soutien fidèles. En 2012, nous aimerions à nouveau solliciter votre connaissance approfondie de la dramaturgie canadienne et québécoise, afin d’attirer l’attention du jury sur de nouveaux textes de formes et de styles divers, qu’il s’agisse de pièces bien faites, de nouvelles écritures, de textes d’auteurs établis ou de la relève.

Nous vous invitons à participer à ce projet et à appuyer le travail du jury en nous soumettant des pièces récentes dont la qualité, le style, la forme et le contenu offrent selon vous un potentiel pour le marché international.

Nous sommes heureux de vous présenter les membres du jury 2012: M. John v. Düffel (auteur, Dramaturg au Deutsches Theater Berlin), M. Frank Heibert (traducteur indépendant et président du jury), Mme Simone Kaempf (critique de théâtre, Berlin), M. Stephan Schmidtke (directeur artistique et chef de la dramaturgie au Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf), M. Frank Weigand (traducteur indépendant et directeur de la série Scène – anthologie annuelle de nouvelles pièces francophones en traduction allemande).

Veuillez trouver plus bas les conditions de participation.

Les dossiers soumis doivent inclure les informations suivantes:

•    Formulaire complété en anglais ou en français (voir document attaché)

•    Le texte intégral de la  pièce en format numérique et la date d’origine

•    Un bref résumé de la pièce

•    Une courte biographie du ou des auteurs

•    Information sur les droits (agent ou personne qui détient les droits sur la pièce)

Les dossiers incomplets ne pourront pas être pris en compte par le jury.

Veuillez également prendre note des critères suivants:

•      Les pièces proposées ne doivent pas remonter à plus de trois ans, c’est-à-dire ne pas avoir été écrites avant 2009 ni avoir fait l’objet d’une diffusion auprès du public avant cette date (que ce soit dans le cadre d’une lecture publique, d’un atelier, d’une production ou d’une publication).

•      Il n’est pas nécessaire que la pièce soumise aie déjà été montée au Canada ou au Québec.

•      La pièce soumise ne devrait pas être représentée par un agent ou un éditeur allemand.

•      Le jury s’intéresse notamment aux pièces qui soulèvent des enjeux de la vie contemporaine, intimes ou collectifs, ainsi qu’aux écritures en prise avec le social et le politique (diversité culturelle, migration, société pluraliste, développement des villes, démographie, monde du travail, écologie…).

•      Il est difficile d’exporter des pièces dont le sujet principal est exclusivement d’intérêt régional ou local.

•      Nous vous prions de ne pas soumettre des adaptations de romans ou de films. Les pièces qui traitent de la vie de personnes célèbres ou de personnalités historiques suscitent également peu d’intérêt en Allemagne.

•      Les pièces pour jeune public sont bienvenues.

•      Le jury s’intéresse aux dramaturgies traditionnelles, mais aussi aux nouvelles écritures théâtrales. De plus, dans le milieu du théâtre germanophone, les processus d’écriture expérimentaux et l’écriture scénique sont de plus en plus répandus. Le jury s’ouvre à ces nouvelles tendances et recevra également des textes à la base de performances, ainsi que des formes plus libres d’écritures théâtrales.

Nous vous prions de bien vouloir faire parvenir les dossiers (si possible en format PDF) aux personnes suivantes :

Mme Gabriele Naumann-Maerten, Ambassade du Canada à Berlin

Mme Marie-Elisabeth Räkel, Bureau du Québec à Berlin

Date limite: le 31 mars 2012

Nous espérons pouvoir compter sur votre participation. N’hésitez pas à faire suivre ce courriel à d’autres institutions et personnes intéressées, sans oublier d’inclure le formulaire de participation en annexe. Nous vous remercions pour votre précieuse collaboration et vous transmettons nos salutations les plus cordiales.

Gabriele Naumann-Maerten

(Attachée culturelle – Arts de la scène, Ambassade du Canada en Allemagne, Berlin)

Marie-Elisabeth Räkel

(Attachée culturelle – Bureau du Québec à Berlin)

Frank Heibert

(Président du jury 2012, Berlin)

Note: la forme masculine utilisée dans le texte désigne autant les femmes que les hommes.

Passion Kaleidoscopes Fragrance and No Themes: An Interview with Tina Rasmussen

Tina Rasmussen is at once a severe and playful force. She is a delightful person with an explosive and fluid imagination. Tina has the gifts of an intense listener and an excitable speaker. It is no surprise that she is the resplendent mind behind World Stage. The dynamic 2012 season can be looked at here:

There are many shows to see and I will be sure to write about a few of them!

Last week I had the opportunity to speak with Tina, a chance that I will cherish for a long time. During this conversation she candidly articulated her views on World Stage, Toronto’s theatre community, and the transforming power of performance. 
I hope your senses are delighted and your thoughts are provoked by this interview where Tina generously describes the metaphors and realities that govern her artistic choices.

Without further ado, I present to you Tina Rasmussen.

Photograph by: Gordon Hawkins

Briefly describe the process that brought you here.

I was born and raised in Calgary. I studied theatre where I mostly did acting and directing. I then went to Edmonton, I actually did all of these auditions for a Masters in Acting in the States and I got into about seven schools, but, I didn’t go because I wanted to actually work with Robin Phillips. He was a master director working in his last year in Edmonton. I also met Albert Schultz, he was still working in television at the time. I was concerned about leaving the company at the Citadel because at the time I was a General Manager intern, so, out of pure fear I packed my car and drove across the country to work for Albert, and then we started working on founding Soulpepper in 1997 to 1998 with Diane Quinn, with Albert in his back yard twenty hours a day. I quickly realized that producing work was really up my alley, because as an actor you are not really in charge. I was too bossy really.  It is actually a very short story to be honest. I often pinch myself about that and how I am here. I left Soulpepper because it was Albert’s show to direct, and I didn’t want to be stuck there in a status position with him, which would have been fine because he is like a brother to me, but in terms of my creative life it wouldn’t have been as fulfilling. So then, this associate artistic director job opened with Don Shipley, so I did that, which was kind of an audition for me. So when Don stepped down I threw my hat in the ring and was appointed acting manager—it all comes down to auditioning, being in the right place at the right time, and also being an artist myself it’s always the lens through which I see everything, I feel this is the ultimate creative job, I feel extremely satisfied creatively.

What inspires you to continue your work as an artistic director?

I have a totally insatiable appetite and curiosity. I don’t separate my job from my life. I am constantly on stumble upon, I send so much information out to my staff. I steal I beg I borrow from all different kinds of things. I look out the window of my car as a proscenium; I see the theatre that surrounds us all the time. I find I could never run out of things to do. It’s through the idea of creating something and getting people – I look at the audience development as a one to one conversation.

I feel very evangelical about it. I don’t separate my life from work. Everything is inspired. I get inspired all the time. I have a lot of rage and a lot of love. I think they are the same thing.

I think my job is also very political, it is about trying to propose questions that people can have a conversation about, so much of it is about being an instigator.

Why do you think your job is political/socially relevant?

I think that artist development is audience development, so actually it is how I engage the artists so that they can say what they want to say. I have something to say too, but it is not about my aesthetic, it’s not masturbatory in that way. In every single case there is a reason, there may be different reasons, in every single case it is about how theatre is the arena where we can have a conversation about how we can live together, and recognize our biases and differences while trying to have a critical discussion. It is for the person who is just awake—not someone who is simply looking to say I like or I don’t like that. It is about the art framing the question of what is my role? And how do I become active and passive in the dark?

What are you looking for in the pieces you choose to program?

I look at putting a season together like building a fragrance, so that each individual show has its own scent. I think of theme as textures. I hate themes—themes to me are like primary colours, there is a joke at Harbourfront about how you should never say themes around me. It is way more prismatic and kaleidoscopic to build your season with textures  scents and ideas.

I also look at international trends, I program for artists in the community—if they come to me it can lead to the development of an art practice in the community. I also program for what the audience might be completely moved by so that some controversy and polarity is produced. I think polarity and controversy are good things. I also program a lot for love, if there is a lot of love in something I can become very inspired to program it.

What distinct qualities or ideas are you excited about that are being displayed in this season?

I am excited about the juxtaposition between lo-fi and hi-f work. I am compelled by the questions of the past and future, an old school esthetic versus a cyber beauty. I am interested in scale, in terms of small and large—epic in terms of Sophocles but done through 20 seats. The same with the dance; that urban dance be elevated to a street style to a higher art form transforming it into a conversation about art and the environment. Those are the some of the ideas in the season. I feel like this season asks the question: how do we demystify the theatre by making it accessible all the time?

 Why do you feel the audience will connect with this season?

I have an obsession with how the audience meets the work. It is a challenge when you have contemporary performance work where you have someone spinning around for two hours—and there are some that are more accessible than others.  It is something that I am constantly trying to find threads to when I am selling the work and when we are doing why videos and the interviews, that’s a big question: contemporary art sometimes isn’t accessible to everyone, so how do we give people the clues so that people can? I don’t want to underestimate the audience either, I mean my mother who is now going to be seventy-nine came in to see Ame Henderson in Relay, and I thought oh goodness she is going to hate this, and she loved it because she let herself go, she said she had permission to not really see any story but to see images, and I thought well that’s genius, she found that language for herself. I just have to know that if I felt something and saw something in it than it will work. Sometimes it is about pushing them—and hoping they come along with you, and sometimes you fail miserably, I think it is important that failure exists and we talk about it and why it didn’t work. Sometimes it’s about going through something.

How is World Stage distinct from other Toronto-based companies?

I always try to do what people aren’t doing. We have the contemporary art centre with the global perspective. It is about the involvement of the culture core, the idea that the national and the local are a part of the world, and the inclusion of Canadian artists that are in a position to move and to be a part of the trajectory of an international life, and, then, our support of those artists, selling their work helping them tour, that is a built in agency model that no one else in the city has. It is a competitive process. Not everyone is ready to have that, which is very exciting.

Talk about the World Stage Embassy.

It began with the idea of people converging into a space—it was about getting the audience to not be intimidated by the work, to understand the work, and feel included in this pocket. So that was the major focus of the embassy—having the ambassadors as a part of the work, giving the artists the opportunity to talk about their own practice and talk to the audience, which is also why audiences go to see art so they can talk to the artists. It’s a fluid program, no one has to pay—we want the artists to connect then if they are connected they will discuss their ideas and have an exchange with the audience, it’s a petri dish.

What recent risks have you taken that ended up being very rewarding?

Putting a commission as the opening show of the season Everything Under the Moon. I believed in the artists and everything they were doing, and anchoring it in the family day long week end, and displaying a work for young people that is not only relegated to young people.

Also sending out my party invitations with a sheep from Iceland on it. It is challenging being in a large institution that has a branding capacity, and wanting to have a direct relationship with the audience, and saying to people I want you to be at my party, it was my chance to bring in my community. I was so happy that people were so positive about how I designed my invitation. I think it paid off.

What other arts organizations or theatre companies inspire you?

All of them. If people are doing anything in terms of live performance then the more the better. If people are concerned with building an audience and thinking about their public I am inspired. I find cultural creation and cultural output pretty inspiring. Do I wish people were less stylized and wearing blinders? Yes, I wish there was more openness. I like people that are performance makers—I mean I would love to see Stratford fund people to do contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare plays.

What artists or companies make you jazzed about the future?

Well, I am pretty jazzed about Shakespeare, to be honest. I am reading Lear at the moment. I like the idea of artists trying to figure that out—I like the return to acting. Enough with the straight delivery and professional amateurs, I like strong acting. I like the exercise of that muscle. In terms of trends, I think Toronto is leaving the theatre and trying the promenade, I have seen all that so now I am interested in the return to the theatre. I have been interested in the joy division of a story about punk and necessity of punk as a mode of expression, and the necessity to the people to make the work as an economic, political and social statement. I’m really interested in master directors, when you walk down the street in Berlin you can say a handful of names and people will flock to the theatre. I’d like to see the development of master directors here, and then, of course, big conceptual pieces, so that we can bring those masters to our stages.

How has festival theatre influenced your company?

It’s a total inspiration. I could be out at the theatre seven nights a week. I think festival theatre in particular  helps with bringing awareness to work in development and gives the audience the opportunity to appreciate developing work.

If you could give yourself a title what would it be?

I would say hunch follower.

Pencils or Pens?

Oh Pens. I am very particular about my pens. I love them when they are fat and juicy.

For a break silence or music?


Black box or proscenium?


*     *     *     *     * 

Story by: Hannah Rittner

Overflow from the Brim: Ravi Jain Talks about A Brimful of Asha

A Brimful of Asha was a lovely piece to experience. Generosity and inclusion are the engines of the collective creation, between Ravi Jain and his mother Asha Jain. From the moment you enter the space Ravi and Asha sincerely offer food and conversation. After sitting, eating, and talking with Ravi and Asha the show fluidly dissolves into a spontaneous and lively performance. This is the magic of the show: the debate about arranged marriage in many cultures is so often seen as exclusive, Ravi Jain creates a love-driven opening to this debate by including the audience in these deep questions about life and love.

Ravi and Asha are equally evanescent on stage, demonstrating a sensitive love for one another. However, with this sensitivity comes the possibility for vulnerability, pain, and self doubt.  Ravi Jain, a Toronto based actor sincerely and playfully experiments with the many emotionally charged conversations he had with his mother about arranged marriage in this piece. It was absolutely delightful to talk to him about his experiences, thoughts, and feelings about the whole endeavour. I am very grateful that he took the time to talk to me about this show. I strongly suggest you live this experience for yourself.  A Brimful of Asha runs until February 26th at Tarragon Theatre. 

Ravi Jain, Asha Jain. Photography by Erin Brubacher. 

Describe why the process of creating this piece was different from all the others you have done.

I spent this process with my Mum which in itself is very different. Also for my normal process I am used to rehearsing a lot, but with my Mum I wasn’t able to do this. It wasn’t necessary for the improvised nature of the show. In order to preserve the spontaneous nature of the show I had to keep rehearsals to a minimum. So part of the strategy of the process was trying not to rehearse, which was different than what I normally like to do, which is to rehearse a lot.

What unexpected responses did you get from the audience?

People talk and are very vocal about their reactions, there was one night in particular, where a woman screamed at my mother a lot. I was about to reign it back, that was interesting, she really had an agenda, so it was interesting, since the vibe is meant to make you feel comfortable with contributing. At the same time we don’t have much time.

I found this interesting because what I really wanted to do with the show is to demonstrate how amazing my Mom’s intentions are. We both want the same thing, we just have different ways of getting there. That is something I really understand more is that her drive is pure, and I think that it has taken me a long time to really understand that. This is why I believe it is so great that people get to see that, there is stigma around arranged marriage, but, there is also a lot of positivity.

You were trying to make art of your own experience, and of course you wanted to make art of the audience’s experience. What kind of experiences did you want to give the audience that they don’t normally receive  with other shows?

I went to a school where everything we did was in relation to the audience, the whole premise of the audience was there was no fourth wall. So a lot of what I do involves directly speaking to people. That is very important for the work that I do. This absence of the fourth wall was really important to make the audience feel as if they were coming over to my house. For example, if you came over to my house you’d have food, you’d want to tell your story, and you’d want to hear the stories of others.

By having your Mum as your only co-actor in the show with no theatre training did you find your perspective on acting and performance change? If not, then, why?

One of the things that actors try to do is to be in the moment, when I work with her I have to be. I have to be so focused I can never go on auto pilot. I always have to be in the moment with my Mum, not only for me, but, for her. I need to be there in case anything goes wrong. Fortunately she is so generous. Her ability to be open and available and spontaneous is so inspiring. You want to be around that energy, you love provoking that every night and playing with that. We aren’t coming out of the show to repeat something we are coming out to live it. That is what any actor wants to do, and it is an amazing opportunity to actually do that.

What part of the story do you find the most difficult and the most rewarding to perform?

The fights that I had with my Mum. It is not very nice to do that kind of thing in public. You feel vulnerable, you don’t want to tell the truth that you were an asshole to your Mom. We all are at some point, but I struggled with it. The reality is the whole thing, it is a whole piece. There are times that I doubted these moments, I wondered is this too much? Is this too real to put my Mom here? Those were risks that were scary but rewarding.

Describe the purpose of the videos you have going around.

I actually wanted to put them in the show, however, every time we tried to it broke the flow of the story. I really liked them. They were made to show people that this is a kind of conversation that everyone has at some point, or you could have at some point.

Food—explain the food you have included, and how including it enhances the story and suits the themes you are exploring.

It really surprised people, it makes the piece remind you it is about family. That is where I spent most of my time. It is amazing that through this experience we all had to eat, sit, and talk to my Mom. In my family we told stories about our days. Our guests would be involved in this exchange. So, food for me is about including that audience into our family. If you are a guest in my house I want you to feel very special. I thought it would be a great way to do that.

Describe this show  in five words

Inviting, fun, honest, relaxed, and moving.

Ravi Jain, Asha Jain. Photography by Erin Brubacher.