Ticketing: Our New Vision for Accessible Theatre

Since Driftwood’s inception over 25 years ago, we’ve held fiercely to our belief that theatre should be accessible to everyone, no matter where you live or how much money you have in your pocket. But the world has changed a lot since 1995, especially so in the three years since we’ve last toured. The reality is that touring free or Pay What You Can professional theatre productions is just not feasible in 2022.

Today, there are also health and safety considerations that our communities, our artists and our staff rely on us to make in order to keep them informed and minimize contact. The old ‘pass the pink bag of joy’ version of admissions collection is no longer safe.

And so, for the health of our organization and the health of our communities, Driftwood Theatre is introducing a new ticketing model, a bridge between Driftwood’s original mandate and the realities of an increased need for health and safety measures as well as greater fiscal responsibility.

Pay What You Can AFFORD

We still feel very strongly that a single set ticket price just isn’t for us. So here’s the plan:

Inspired by the groundbreaking work of industry peers Why Not Theatre (check them out, they’re awesome), in 2022 Driftwood will introduce Pay What You Can AFFORD, a ticketing system for all future productions whereby audiences can select from one of four set admission prices: $5, $35, $50, $75.

Audience members are encouraged to select and pay the price which suits their budget. Whether you’re a bustling family with little to spend on those extracurriculars or a bachelor/ette with cash burning a hole in your pocket, there’s a ticket price within that range for you.

However, we realize that for some even $5 presents a significant barrier to participation, and so we’re looking to the kindness of our communities to help keep Driftwood truly accessible for everyone.

Theatre for Everyone: Community Tix

They say “it takes a village” and we couldn’t agree more. Making sure that theatre is accessible to those who need it most is a community effort. Working with partnered organizations in communities across our touring area, Driftwood is creating a Community Tix program to offer free theatre where it’s really needed.

Every PWYCA ticket purchased at the $75 level unlocks two free tickets. These community tickets flow into one of two pools: at the point of sale the purchaser can decide if the tickets will go towards a partnered organization in their own community, or be distributed at Driftwood’s discretion to a larger pool of organizations province-wide. By purchasing your ticket at the $75 level you will have a direct hand in helping two other people see the show.

Get Your Tickets Early

We’re strongly encouraging guests to buy their tickets in advance. Advance ticket sales serve as an important source of revenue to help keep the ‘wheels on the bus’ and they’re also an important tool in keeping communities safe and informed. We’ll be able to keep better track of, and communicate with, audience members in the case of potential gathering limitations, cancellations, emergencies or for contact tracing where needed. 

We can’t wait to gather with you again this summer and look forward to coming together as a community to share affordable, accessible theatre with everyone in Ontario.

See you on the road,

Jeremy Smith, Artistic Director

Call for Submissions: The Onion Cellar

Driftwood Theatre Group invites applications from diverse storytellers for a new project led by Ahmed Moneka.

Truth spoken has the ability to heal. Truth guarded has destroyed civilizations.

With the generous support of Nightswimming Theatre and in partnership with Driftwood Theatre, actor, musician and creator Ahmed Moneka is engaging in a new project to explore our human need to share and experience stories as a process of healing, breaking down barriers, and building community.

The Onion Cellar imagines a tavern in the city of Toronto where no food or alcohol is served but where, through the cutting and peeling onions, guests are prompted to shed tears, share stories and begin a process of healing.

In Moneka’s vision, The Onion Cellar (based loosely on a chapter of German novelist Gunter Grass’ ‘The Tin Drum’) is a vital story, a response to circumstances and technology that have robbed us of our ability to truly commune and share openly with each other across cultures, beliefs and experiences. The Onion Cellar is envisioned as a collectively-created, world-fusion musical celebrating openness, storytelling and community.


We are looking for six theatre artists, preferably with a strong connection to music, to engage with us in a process of story sharing and creation over a potentially long-term project (pending funding).

For this current phase of supported work, we are conducting two meetings with each artist lasting approximately 90-120 minutes each. In the first session the artist will share one or more personal stories. Between the first and second session will be a period of writing by Mr. Moneka. At the second session each artist will be asked to respond to and engage with the writing. Each session will take place over Zoom.

From Mr. Moneka, “we are asking you to bring your most treasured self and your radical truth and in return, we will provide a humble honouring and gratitude for your rawness and vulnerability”.


What follows is a suggested breakdown of artists. However, we are committed to reflecting Canada’s rich diversity in all aspects of our work. We encourage and welcome applicants from all backgrounds and will prioritize applicants who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, Women, Gender minorities, 2SLGBTQ+, d/Deaf, Disabled/People with Disabilities, and/or Neurodiverse.

  • Artist 1. Trans-identifying individual, any gender. 20-30
  • Artist 2. Asian individual, any gender. 20-40.
  • Artist 3. Black individual, cis female. 50-60.
  • Artist 4. Indigenous individual, any gender. 20-40.
  • Artist 5. A widow or single parent, any gender. 20-40.
  • Artist 6. Caucasian individual, cis male. 40-60.

Again, these are suggestions only, if you don’t see yourself reflected above but feel that you have a story to share, we’d like to hear from you.

Please submit a letter of interest, photo & resume in a single pdf format to Driftwood Theatre at auditions@driftwoodtheatre.com. In the letter, please provide any details about yourself you are willing to share and express, in some way, your connection to story or storytelling. Please also indicate your connection to music, what instruments you play (if any), and vocal range (if you know it).

Please note: we encourage everyone with an interest to make an application. Musical ability would be great, but it is not mandatory. First and foremost, we want to hear your story.

Both CAEA members and non-CAEA members will be considered. All artists will be engaged under a workshop contract through the Independent Theatre Agreement (CAEA). Electronic submissions only. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

No agency submissions please. Agents, please encourage your clients to self-submit.

COMPENSATION: Compensation will be $250/session ($500 total).

The deadline for submissions is February 14, 2022, at 12pm.

Something’s Baking

I didn’t bake this bread. But I did help test it.

A comparison could be made to my recent Covid-19 booster, though testing the bread was far more enjoyable than getting vaccinated. And there’s the rub.

On one hand, I experienced the immediate, rich, endorphins-launching joy of consuming freshly-baked bread. For my pandemic-exhausted soul, this was bliss, though maybe at the expense of my youthful waistline (ha!).

On the other hand, I deeply abhor needles and can’t say that I particularly enjoyed any of the three recent experiences I’ve had with them. Though looking at it from the other end, those vaccinations are far better for my long-term health and well-being than the bread.

But look at me; this was supposed to be a post about what Driftwood has (figuratively) baking in the oven.

Though hardly dormant, Driftwood hasn’t enjoyed any in-person, events in two years. But despite the recent return of deep uncertainty wrought by Omicron, we’re on the cusp of just that – the return of our annual Bard’s Bus Tour in the summer of 2022.

We’re choosing to move forward in hope of gathering with you all again in 2022. We’re building plans, re-vivifying our creative spirits, and engaging in conversations about when and how Driftwood Theatre will return to safely sharing space with people and communities across Ontario.

The feeling which accompanies all that work is more akin to the bread than the needles.

So, stay tuned, because very soon we’ll have more news to share (and maybe even more freshly-baked goods).


P.S. The bread is one of many baking and cooking tests that my wife, Tabitha Keast, and I are embarking upon this month. Because that’s what you do when you buy a B&B in a small town in the middle of a pandemic. More updates about the Benjamin Gillespie House anon.

Diminished Workshop

Hatched over a single night right before the onset of the Covid pandemic in 2020, Gloria Mok’s Diminished is about to wrap up its first full phase of development.

What began as a short, 10-minute piece set among an upper hallway of Whitby’s Trafalgar Castle has emerged as a full length, two-act play which explores the relationship between a precocious and lonely 11-year old girl and a tightly-wound piano tuner.

Playwright, Gloria Mok

When the 10-minute play first premiered at Trafalgar 24 on March 8, 2020, it was both the jury and audience choice for Driftwood’s Beyond the Bard Residency prize. In the fall of 2020, Gloria began work to expand the play, first fleshing out a full one-act and most recently adding a second act to further explore this unique and touching relationship between teacher and student. Gloria’s work has been supported by a dramaturg and regular meetings with members of Driftwood’s Playwrights Unit.

Multiple drafts and many conversations later, Diminished is now ready to welcome more creative partners. During the week of December 6, Driftwood will bring together a group of artists in-person for the first time since that 2020 Trafalgar 24 event. “Not only is this a fitting and highly anticipated return to working with artists in physical space,” explains Driftwood Artistic Director Jeremy Smith, “but it’s also the perfect way to close out this very strange year – working with a fabulous group of people to support the development of a beautifully crafted story.”

We’re so excited to be welcoming director Keira Loughran (Stratford Festival, Canadian Stage), performers Tess Benger (Talk is Free, Bad Hats/Soulpepper) and Jeff Yung (Theatre Centre/6th Man Collective, Young Peoples Theatre, Shakespeare in the Ruff), and composer James Smith (Outside the March, Storefront/Soulpepper) to work on the play. The workshop week will be supported by dramaturg Caitie Graham, Stage Manager Emmanuelle So, and Intern Dramaturg Ella Kohlmann who will also act as Safety Officer.

The week-long workshop will focus on the development of the play’s second act.

Though no public reading of Diminished is planned at this stage of development, keep your eyes peeled for future news about Gloria’s charming, funny and open-hearted play.