Fringe News: Digital Play Contest Winners
Published April 28, 2021
We are so pleased to announce the winners of the Digital New Play Contest, the Digital Adams Prize for Musical Theatre, and the Digital 24 Hour Play Contest.
Each of these winning plays listed below will be presented at the upcoming Digital Toronto Fringe Festival as part of our Fringe Primetime series this summer. The dates of the festival are July 21 - 31, 2021. Further details and info about tickets will be announced soon.
Meet the Winners
Digital New Play Contest Winner: Ngọc Hân Trần
Winning Script: My Korean Canadian Friend
About the playwright: Ngọc Hân Trần is an emerging, new-generation Vietnamese-Canadian female playwright based in Tkaronto. She is a recent graduate of Theatre and East Asian Studies at York University. Writing credits include: COVID Confessions, Fresh Ink, Telling Tales Out of School, The Ashley Plays: Mother Tongue, and was a member of Young Playwright’s Unit at Tarragon Theatre. Other credits: Artrepreneur, Theatre Entrepreneurs’ Network & Training (TENT) and fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company 2002-2016: Archive Book.
Digital Adams Prize Winner: Amelia Izmanki
Winning Script: As You Lay Sleeping
About the playwright: Amelia Izmanki is a composer and musician who has been performing classical music for 20 years. Since moving to Toronto in 2014, she’s collaborated with dear friends and fellow artists including Zoe Alexis-Abrams, Eliza Niemi, Jonathan Pappo, Ryan Al-Hage and Emma Cosgrove (and many more!) to bring big, fresh new music into all sorts of DIY performance spaces. Amelia started performing her own compositions more regularly in 2018 and in February 2020, as Ways Lain, she released her first project under Niemi’s label Vain Mina, titled Anyways – a concept piece exploring her experience with classical music, improvisation, theatre, and a fear of talking. Amelia is very excited to take her fascination with experimentation into the musical theatre world and venture into the realm of broken relationships.
Digital 24 Hour Playwriting Contest Winner: Natalie Axon
Winning Script: Empty
About the playwright: Natalie Axon is an emerging playwright as well as a high school physics and drama teacher. She has previously won the Toronto Fringe Festival’s 24 Hour Playwriting Contest in 2017 with A Bird or a Plane and in 2016 with The Keeper of the Words. In 2018, Natalie was awarded honorary mention in the Ottawa Little Theatre’s National One-Act Playwriting Competition.
Congratulations to the following artists. The jury would like to commend you for your work.
Digital Adams Prize Honourable Mentions:
Breaking Up With Me by Cuinn Joseph and Connor Joseph
Killing Time, A Game Show Musical by Ben Kopp (Music and Lyrics) and Margot Greve (Book)
24 Hour Playwriting Contest Honourable Mentions:
Deliverance by Marley Kajan and Evelyn Long
One Night in Moonbeam by Melanie Gall
Meet the Jury
We were so lucky to have the following individuals on our three contest juries. Read on to learn all about these fabulous jury members!
Digital New Play Contest Jury
Izad Etemadi is an Iranian-Canadian actor, writer, and producer. He is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and winner of the 2017 Emerging Queer Artist award from Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. On screen, he has appeared in shows such as Odd Squad, Bajillionaires, Tall Boys, and his web series Cyrus and Chels. Onstage, he has toured Canada and beyond in several plays and musicals, including his highly acclaimed one person shows. He is currently working on a new comedy show entitled Ethnically Ambiguous as well as writing on upcoming TV projects.
Myekah Payne is a Developmental/Production Dramaturg based in the city of Toronto. Myekah has a diploma in Musical Theatre Performance. She also completed a 2 year new play dramaturgy program while working on her BA at York University. She currently collaborates as a production dramaturg with Driftwood Theatre, holds the position of associate Dramaturg with Nightswimming theatre and is company Dramaturg at Obsidian Theatre. Outside of dramaturgy, she enjoys hiking and camping during the spring and summer. Books and hot tea in the fall and winter.
Isaac Thomas moonlights as a dramaturg, is currently the managing director of Native Earth, and a board member at Cahoots Theatre and TAPA. He has been a stage-manager, actor, director, and instructor. Amongst his slew of underutilized degrees he holds an MFA Acting (Ohio University), and an MA English Literature (Delhi University).
Paula Wing is a playwright, teacher, translator, dramaturg and actor. Her plays and adaptations have been produced across Canada and internationally. Most recently, a Brandeis University production of her translation of Stefano Massini’s Intractable Woman was a COVID-19 casualty. Thousand Islands Playhouse is scheduled to produce/livestream her adaptation of Josh Funk’s How to Code a Sandcastle in June 2021.
Digital Adams Prize Jury
Beau Dixon is a self taught multi award winning actor, music director, composer and playwright. He is also artistic associate at 4th Line Theatre. Beau has won two Dora Mavor Moore awards, Toronto and Calgary Critics Award. He is also a recipient of Peterborough's Pathway of Fame, and is a KM Hunter award finalist. www.beaudixon.com
Ayaka is a Japanese musician based in Toronto who is actively involved in the comedy scene. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz as well as a Diploma in Classical Music, and she composes music for films, YouTubers, and a hip-hop project called Kokophonix. Ayaka is also a musical director at The Second City, and her credits include Unelectable You (U.S. Tour/The Kennedy Center) and She The People (Original Composition, Chicago/Toronto/Washington D.C.). She has also musical-directed award winning shows such as Tita Jokes by Tita Collective and Extravaganza Eleganza, the 2018 Canadian Comedy Award for Best Live Production. When Ayaka is not wearing her musician hat, she performs improv and sketch comedy on stage. Since the beginning of pandemic, Ayaka has shifted her focus on virtual shows and has produced or musically-directed over 150 shows online; one of which is being the host of Bad Dog Comedy TV’s original series, AYAKA’S KITCHEN. Ayaka loves tomatoes. @ayaka.kinugawa
Akiva Romer-Segal has collaborated as a lyricist with composer Colleen Dauncey on the scores of The Louder We Get, Grow, Going Under, Bremen Rock City, Offline, What Goes Up, and more. The Louder We Get has been seen all over the world (Montreal, Calgary, New York, London) and was the recipient of the 2016 New Musical Award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Colleen & Akiva’s songs have been performed internationally by cabaret performers, recording artists, and Broadway stars. They are alumni of the Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project in Chicago, Cutting-Edge Composers in NYC, Theatre 20’s Composium, and Musical Stage Company’s Launch Pad, Noteworthy, Make Me a Song and One Song Glory programs. Akiva designed sets & costumes for the entertainment industry for over a decade, and also works in graphic design, illustration and marketing. Find out more at colleenandakiva.com.
digital 24 Hour Playwriting Contest Jury
Born: Winnipeg. B.A. University of Winnipeg. M.L.S. University of Western Ontario (masters thesis on performing arts libraries). Worked as librarian in various libraries for more than forty years, last twenty-five at the law firm (McCarthy Tétrault) before retiring in 2013. Have attended theatre for more than sixty years. Volunteer at theatre for more than thirty years (from when I found out that was a thing one could do). Served on three Dora Juries in the Independent Theatre category each time. Honoured with a Harold in 2002 and eponymous Volunteer Harold in 2012. Honorary member of Canadian Actors' Equity Association (2016) -- see here. Honoured with first video on Intermission Magazine, June 7, 2016. Wrote article for Intermission Magazine about early Fringe experiences, July 8, 2020.
Aaron Jan is a playwright, director and dramaturg. He has worked as a creator with Factory Theatre, fu-GEN, Canadian Stage, Soulpepper, Theatre Aquarius, York University and most recently with the Musical Stage Company as a member of their 2021 Noteworthy writing cohort. Aaron is the 2019 winner of the Ken McDougall directing award and is a member of the critically acclaimed, Silk Bath Collective, who are currently in a creation residency at Theatre Passe Muraille. aaronchihojan.wixsite.com/home
Chase Lo (they/them) is a queer, nonbinary Chinese-Canadian emerging interdisciplinary artist, actor, and playwright based in Toronto. In 2009, they were selected as one of the 8 Asian Canadian Playwrights to develop a play in fu-GEN’s (Asian Canadian Theatre Company, Toronto) Kitchen Program. A staged reading of Blood Stain was showcased at fu GEN’s Potluck Festival. From 2015-2016, Chase was a participant in Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Emerging Creators Unit (ECU), which was directed by Sunny Drake, providing them with mentorship and training to devise and perform Al/Lex — a 25-minute solo interdisciplinary performance with dramaturgy from Mel Hague and direction from Tawiah Ben Eben Mfoafo-M'Carthy at the 37th Rhubarb festival. In 2019, Chase participated in the Taipei Shorts II Festival in Taiwan as both a playwright (Lucky Stars) and a performer (Flight 109). Presently, Chase is developing a play called Ruby— about Asian and migrant transfeminine and gender non-conforming sex workers who act as vigilantes to seek justice and impact laws governing sex work—with support from OAC theatre recommender grants (Nightwood Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto Fringe Festival, and Theatre Passe Muraille) and as a recipient of the Promising Pen Prize (Cahoots Theatre).
Rabiya Mansoor (she/they) is a Pakistani-Calgarian writer, comedian, and producer based in Toronto, ON. Her web series projects in development include: Get Up, Aisha (IPF/iThentic) and Layla is Relevant (WIFT-T Scripted Digital Series Incubator/TAC Media Artists Grant). She’s participated in playwright units at Expect Theatre, Driftwood Theatre, and Tarragon Theatre and her TYA improv show, Education Know-It-All, will be digitally staged at Theatre Direct’s 2021 Forward March Festival. Her writing has been workshopped at Working the Scene in Colour, FEM Script Lab, and Industry Events TO. Check out more of her work at www.rabiyamansoor.com.
Eleanor O’Connor saw her first Fringe play in 1996 and in 2001 she began volunteering. Attending the theatre had always been part of her life. After retirement, she discovered The Fringe which led to discovering the many small independent companies in Toronto. And being introduced to the work of an actor or a playwright or a director and following their careers. So, it’s off to theatre at least 3 or 4 times a week all year long. Volunteering at The Fringe also led to Volunteering at other theatres. Her chosen role in the theatre is to be part of the audience. Theatre doesn’t work without an audience. Theatre helps one to see the experiences of people whose life is different from yours and thus to have greater empathy with them. That is why theatre is important for society. May live theatre return to our lives soon.
Jules Vodarek Hunter
Jules Vodarek Hunter is a writer, producer, arts manager, theatre maker and organizer based in Toronto. They have worked extensively with The AMY Project as well as with The Toronto Fringe Festival. Jules has worked on a variety of collaborative writing projects including theatre, poetry and literary work and completed a Banff Centre Writing residency. They were thrilled to be a juror for the 24 Hour Playwriting Contest!