Celebrating Shakespeare’s 456th with ArtAtHome

A Birthday #ArtAtHome Video

In celebration of Shakespeare’s 456th Birthday, Driftwood launches a series where we nod to the Bard in our daily lives, quarantine-style. 

These are strange and unprecedented times. But in the wake of social distancing and isolation in the era of COVID-19, artists everywhere are still trying to find ways to express themselves while also adapting to the ‘new normal’. For theatre artists in particular this can be challenging, when our art form requires us to be in connection with people and community.

Driftwood’s solution is to pull back the curtain a little, and offer you a glimpse into our engagement with the Bard under quarantine.

Artistic Director Jeremy Smith kicks off our #artathome series with a special message in honour of Shakespeare’s 456th Birthday. You can watch the video here.

#ArtAtHome with Driftwood’s Team

Katrina Darychuk (top), Sarah Caraher (bottom)

Though we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel (we prefer ‘postpone’) its 2020 Bard’s Bus Tour season, we’re still hard at work behind the scenes working with our Beyond The Bard Playwrights Unit and making preparations to get back on the road in 2021.

Helping to get us through these strange times are two pretty fabulous individuals – Producer Katrina Darychuk and Associate Producer Sarah Caraher.

As a student in Centennial College’s Arts Administration program, Sarah has been working under a placement with Driftwood since late February. She was the glue that kept things running behind the scenes at this year’s Trafalgar 24 event, and has been assisting with outreach, communication, marketing and administrative support. Her placement wraps up this week and we are going to miss her enthusiasm, talent and smarts. Sarah tells us: 

“#Artathome has been a journey of finding new ways to connect to the art forms and the artistic community that I love. The past few weeks have become an opportunity for me to reconnect to creating art, something that usually stays on my mental backburner, because so much else has been taken off of my plate. Having more time and space has encouraged me to move outside my comfort zone and jump into projects like songwriting for Convergence’s Theatre’s Converge Against Corona without my usual second guessing or perfectionism. I’ve been consuming more art than ever, and exploring new things, like improving my graphic design skills. And this whole experience will undoubtedly make going back to the theatre when this is over an incredibly special and impactful experience.”

First introduced to Driftwood audiences last year as a director during our 2019 Trafalgar 24 event (Love Multiplies, by Rebecca Ostroff), Katrina is a multi-faceted artist/administrator counting Soulpepper Theatre and Toronto’s Summerworks Festival among her credits. She joined the Driftwood team right at the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic and has quickly become invaluable in Driftwood helping to navigate a path through these strange times. 

“I’m excited to come on board with Driftwood during these strange times and begin to imagine how we might gather again in the future.”

“With most of the day spent on Zoom, I’ve returned to more low-fi art at home: the record player, the stack of books calling to be read, and endless baking projects. As the meaning of time shifts, I find myself returning to works that bend time, stand the test of time, and speak to future possibilities.”

“Experiencing art solely from my desk or living room is allowing me go a bit slower, which I appreciate.  A friend of mine has committed to learning a poem a week.  I am hoping to follow suit with some classical text, finding ways to weave it into my day, be it on a post-it on my desk or reciting it on my little patio during the brief rays of spring sunshine.”

Stay tuned for more stories, videos and posts as part of Driftwood’s ongoing #artathome series.





COVID-19 Update

After much discussion and consideration, Driftwood’s management and board of directors made the heartbreaking decision to cancel our 2020 season, including our summer Bard’s Bus Tour.

The health and safety of our company members, our volunteers and our audiences across Ontario are of paramount importance to us. As we’ve continued to monitor and assess recommendations from health authorities in regards to the Covid 19/Coronavirus pandemic, we believe that this is the right decision.

This challenge will pass, and Driftwood will take the opportunity to plan for a jubilant return of theatre under the stars in 2021.

And we aren’t shuttering completely, our work with four emerging playwrights, Wallis Caldoza, Rebecca Ostroff, Polly Phokeev and Melissa Taylor as part of our Beyond the Bard Playwrights Unit continues thanks to online video conferencing. This year’s unit will wrap up in late May, and we’re already working on ideas for public presentation of these four new short plays.

Please stay tuned – we have more to share with you. Bear with us as we continue to figure this all out.

For the generous support they’ve shown through these extraordinary times, Driftwood Theatre would like to extend a very big thank you to: our company of artists, technicians and summer staff; our small army of volunteers; our presenting partners, sponsors and donors; our government, arts council and foundation partners; our audiences all over the province. Thank you for your enduring support of accessible, professional theatre for everyone in Ontario.

Our collective need for stories and community will be even fiercer, more impassioned, when we emerge from these unprecedented times.

And Driftwood will be there, on the road with the Bard’s Bus Tour when the time comes.

Trafalgar 24 playwrights and inaugural Beyond the Bard Playwrights Unit announced

Driftwood Theatre launches headlong into 2020 with the return of Trafalgar 24 and the announcement of a new play-development program

Opening its next chapter of play development, Driftwood Theatre could not be more excited to announce the participating 2020 TRAFALGAR 24 playwrights while also revealing the beginning of an entirely new play-development program, the BEYOND THE BARD PLAYWRIGHTS UNIT.

Returning for its 16th season as the most unique site-specific theatre event around, TRAFALGAR 24 is Driftwood’s signature 24-hour play-creation event. Over the course of one day, 24 theatre artists from across Ontario descend upon Trafalgar Castle to write, rehearse and perform six new plays set within the rooms, halls, nooks and crannies of Whitby’s very own 19th century castle.

The six emerging playwrights who will find themselves locked together overnight in the castle on March 5 are Ellen Denny (Pleasureville, Neptune Theatre), Matthew Gorman (Western, a play with music, Next Stage), Rebecca Lashmar (Slice of Life, University of Windsor), Rabiya Mansoor (What the Elf?!,Second City), Gloria Mok (fearless, fu-GEN) and Ciarán Myers (TOUCH, GreenLight Arts).

As Driftwood’s signature gala event of the season, TRAFALGAR 24 raises $20,000 annually in support of theatre for everyone in Ontario. It is a sumptuous affair where audience members experience each of the six original stories being told throughout the castle while enjoying wine & cheese and dessert buffets, and a silent auction featuring theatre, event and travel packages and a cornucopia of fabulous items. Tickets for the event are now on sale.

Also launching in 2020 is Driftwood Theatre’s inaugural BEYOND THE BARD PLAYWRIGHTS UNIT. Up to five playwrights annually will participate in a series of group and one-on-one meetings to support the development of short plays first created at Trafalgar 24.

At the table for Driftwood’s 2020 BEYOND THE BARD PLAYWRIGHTS UNIT are four returning playwrights from Driftwood’s 2019 Trafalgar 24 festival: Wallis Caldoza, Rebecca Ostroff, Polly Phokeev and Melissa Taylor.

Further extending the impact to playwrights participating in Trafalgar 24, the Playwrights Unit will culminate with public readings of work as opening acts at select performances of The Bard’s Bus Tour, Driftwood’s long-running summer season of accessible, outdoor theatre across Ontario.

Driftwood Theatre Group presents TRAFALGAR 24 | Friday, March 6, 2020

Trafalgar Castle, 401 Reynolds Street, Whitby, ON

Doors/Silent Auction start: 6:30pm | Performances begin: 7:30pm

Tickets: $65 (General Admission), $25 (for guests 25 and under).


Trafalgar 24 & Beyond the Bard Playwrights Unit Call for Playwrights

It all starts with writing a play overnight in a castle, but continues with an eight-month process of supported development and the chance for a paid five-week residency as you explore your writing process.

Driftwood Theatre is currently accepting applications from Canadian playwrights for our Trafalgar 24 play-creation festival (March 5 & 6, 2020) and Beyond the Bard Playwrights Unit.

Trafalgar 24 is a festival of site-specific theatre created in a 24-hour period where six emerging playwrights each write a short site-specific play set in a 19th century castle in Whitby, Ontario. Each play is then immediately rehearsed and performed that day.

As a juried festival, Trafalgar 24 selects one participating playwright to receive a paid residency to explore and expand their work, including dramaturgical support, workshops, and a public reading in the spring of 2021. The remaining five playwrights will constitute Driftwood Theatre’s Beyond the Bard Playwrights Unit, meeting regularly in group and one-on-one meetings over eight months to refine their short scripts. These shorts scripts will be performed prior to select performances of Driftwood’s summer Bard’s Bus Tour in 2021.

We are interested in submissions from professional playwrights under the age of 35 who identify as emerging, having had a small history of professional presentation, workshopping or publication. Our focus is on regional artists who are geographically, economically and culturally diverse who are interested in exploring the dialogue between the urban and rural communities in our great province. Applications are encouraged from English and/or Francophone playwrights from across Ontario. Participation is paid through honourarium and/or residency fees.

Playwrights are invited to make application by forwarding a brief covering letter and resume (as one PDF file) and a sample of work (5 pages maximum, preferably in dialogue form) to Artistic Director, Jeremy Smith (jsmith@driftwoodtheatre.com).

Application deadline EXTENDED: January 1, 2020.


Écrivez une pièce de théâtre dans un manoir la nuit, puis poursuivez l’expérience grâce à un appui au développement de huit mois et la possibilité d’une résidence payée de cinq semaines afin d’explorer votre processus d’écriture.

Driftwood Theatre reçoit présentement les candidatures d’auteurs.trices dramatiques canadien.ne.s pour Trafalgar 24, festival de création de nouveaux textes qui se déroule sur 24 heures (du 5 au 6 mars 2020), et son cercle d’auteurs Beyond the Bard.

Trafalgar 24 est un festival de théâtre in situ de 24 heures où six auteurs.trices dramatiques, écrivent chacun.e une courte pièce sur mesure pour une des salles d’un manoir du 19e siècle à Whitby, Ontario. Chaque pièce est ensuite répétée et présentée le jour même.

Le jury du festival récompensera un.e des dramaturge du T24 d’une résidence d’écriture rémunérée afin qu’il.elle poursuive le développement de son texte, y compris un appui dramaturgique, des laboratoires et une lecture publique au printemps 2021. Les cinq autres dramaturges formeront le cercle d’auteur Beyond the Bard de Driftwood, et profiteront, sur huit mois, de plusieurs rencontres de groupe et individuelles afin de peaufiner leur courtes pièces. Ces textes seront joués avant certaines représentations de la tournée estivale du Bard’s Bus Tour de Driftwood en 2021.

Nous portons une attention particulière aux auteurs.trices professionnel.le.s des nouvelles générations qui ont moins de 35 ans qui se disent de la relève et dont les textes ont déjà été explorés en laboratoire, montés ou publiés dans un contexte professionnel ; des artistes de la diversité géographique, économique et culturelle qui souhaitent explorer le dialogue entre les communautés urbaines et rurales de notre grande province. Nous encourageons les candidatures de dramaturges francophones et anglophones de partout en Ontario. Les dramaturges retenu.e.s pour Trafalgar 24 se verront récompensé.e.s d’un honoraire et/ou d’une résidence d’écriture rémunérée.

Les dramaturges sont invité.e.s à faire parvenir une lettre de présentation et un c.v. artistique (en un seul fichier PDF) ainsi qu’un échantillon d’écriture (5 pages maximum de préférence en forme dialoguée) au directeur artistique Jeremy Smith (jsmith@driftwoodtheatre.com).

Date limite pour dépôts de candidature : 1 janvier 2020.