Finding Inspiration in 2023

Hello and Happy New Year from Prince Edward County!

After digging ourselves out of a very snowy holiday season, we’re almost ready to pull the curtain on Driftwood’s plans for our 29th season. Almost, but not quite.

I’ve always worked from home. It’s one of the great perks of running a non-venued theatre company. Since moving to Picton, home has also come to include a second business, a licensed Bed & Breakfast (, and our house is now a hub activity.

This summer we’ll welcome artists and staff here for the duration of rehearsals and preparation for the summer season; a place to come together in the celebration of our imaginations and creativity. Throughout the rest of the year, we’ll welcome guests as they embark upon their own adventures here in PEC.

Today the house is empty, as my family are off at school and work. After a December filled with the hustle and bustle of construction, it’s nice to have some quiet in the house again. It’s also helpful, given that I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately.

This is a distinctly different experience for me: writing. Not grant or administrative writing (I do those things all the time), but writing as an art form. It’s been a little like dragging out my sketchbook after months of letting the practice slip. I find myself hesitant. Too often, my brain gets in the way of any progress – self-doubt crippling any meaningful momentum.

As I meander through the empty house on my way to my desk, I’m finding inspiration from my daughters who, even when they aren’t at home leave constant reminders of their presence: the hand-made multi-coloured necklace hanging from a doorknob, the recently-completed 1,000 piece Harry Potter Lego set proudly displayed in the fire room, countless canvasses and pages of art strewn about the house, a giant cardboard box decked out as a Club House making a statement in the front hall.

As much as it might frustrate me to constantly be tidying the detritus of my children’s creativity, I do hope they continue to create and imagine with such fearlessness. 

It’s ironic how, when we’re kids, our imagination is the progenitor of all our fears (last night I was up four times consoling both kids after nightmares) and yet we’re often more fearless in the way in which we explore the world and express ourselves. We just haven’t learned to fear the dragon of self-doubt, haven’t armored ourselves against the barrage of other people’s judgement.

When a kid commits to doing something, they do it with relentless abandon. They imagine completely, freely and without hesitation. It’s an important lesson, really. A great reminder of the power we all hold within ourselves.

As I continue to write, I’m going to try and hold onto that willingness to play, to explore, to create. Just get in there and do it.

And when my daughters get home, instead of chastising them for not cleaning up, I’m going to tell them how delighted by and proud I am of their boundless creativity (ok, and then maybe get them to tidy up a little bit) and join them in the Club House with some Lego.


Job Posting: Producer

Driftwood Theatre is looking for a producer to work with us in bringing our 2023 season together for people across Ontario

Driftwood Theatre, dedicated to good people sharing great stories, has been touring outdoor, summer theatre to Ontario communities since 1995.

The Producer is responsible for the supervision and completion of all production, tour management and front of house aspects of our summer season, with special focus on coordinating our outreach projects, Community Tix, Community Play and Picnic + Play.

Reporting to the Artistic Director, the Producer acts as primary liaison between Driftwood Theatre and our presenting partners across the province, and directly supervises the Front of House Manager. In the absence of the Artistic Director, the Producer is also the main point of contact for seasonal company members.

The successful candidate will have related work experience including producing or production management; a high degree of professionalism and time management skills; the ability to build positive and respectful relationships with a variety of people and partners; the ability to communicate effectively and work productively with artists, theatrical staff and volunteers; and most importantly will demonstrate grace under pressure.

Driftwood Theatre welcomes applicants from all backgrounds who reflect the many communities that make up the province of Ontario. In particular, we will prioritize and consider first applications from artists who identify as BIPOC and/or 2SLGBTQ+

This position offers the flexibility of home-based work. The Producer is required to be in Picton, Ontario for the duration of technical rehearsals leading up to opening (late July). Travel and accommodation support will be provided.

Contract dates: we anticipate a January 2023 start. The position will carry through to the end of August 2023. (averaging 15 hours/week). Salary: $20/hour

How to Apply: Candidates are invited to make application by sending a brief cover letter and resume (as one pdf file) by email to Artistic Director, Jeremy Smith (

Application deadline: December 19, 2022. 5pm.

Producer | Job Brief



  • Manage all touring, front of house, production and outreach elements of the Bard’s Bus Tour (BBT), Community Play, Community Tix and Picnic + Play while adhering to budgets as defined by the theatre
  • Work to create a welcoming, safe environment for company members to achieve their best
  • Act as liaison between the company, presenting partners and performance venues for the BBT
  • Develop and execute a volunteer program that includes recruiting, training, supervising and rewarding BBT Front of House volunteers
  • Ensure familiarity with labour standards and any other legislation affecting employees
  • Assist in coordinating annual fundraising online auction
  • Prepare board, partner, sponsor and granting reports as required
  • Update tour related forms and documents at season end

 Knowledge and Skills Required

The successful candidate will have related work experience including producing or production management; a high degree of professionalism and time management skills; the ability to build positive and respectful relationships with a variety of people and partners; the ability to communicate effectively and work productively with artists, theatrical staff and volunteers; and most importantly will demonstrate grace under pressure.

Skills list:

  • High degree of motivation and professionalism
  • Experience in and understanding of performing arts organizations
  • Ability to communicate and work productively with artists and theatrical staff
  • Ability to build positive relationships with a variety of organizational stakeholders
  • Ability to make administrative and procedural decisions
  • Strong communication, speaking and presentation skills
  • Ability to attract other volunteers to work in support of the company
  • Essential computer skills – Google Suite, Microsoft Office, social media platforms, and the ability to learn new computer programs (Ticket Tailor, 32 Auctions, WordPress, CRM databases).

Working Conditions and Environment

  • This is a flexible, task-based, seasonal position with some flexibility in the schedule and location of work; however, the Producer will be expected to prioritize availability during the three weeks immediately prior to opening night, late July 2023.
  • This position offers the flexibility of home-based work with regular (weekly) meetings via Zoom. The Producer is required to be in Picton, Ontario for the duration of technical rehearsals leading up to opening. Travel and accommodation assistance will be provided.
  • This position requires evening and weekend work, and occasional travel. Time off in lieu of payment will be given for overtime

Contract Timeframe

An average of 15 hours/week, January – August 2023


Salary: $20/hour


Welcome to The Onion Cellar

Welcome to The Onion Cellar, a unique nightclub of particular significance. Here you will find no bar, no waiter, no menu. Only onions, cutting boards, and kitchen knives. And music, always live music.

This is the setting for German novelist Günter Grass’ The Onion Cellar, a chapter from his celebrated 1959 novel, The Tin Drum.

To understand why Ahmed Moneka, a 29-year old refugee from Baghdad living in Canada since 2015 might have an interest in this particular story, you need learn something about this extraordinary theatre artist and musician.

Ahmed’s first home in Toronto was in Kensington Market in the heart of Toronto. It was here that he ‘grew up’ in Canada after being forced to remain here when militias in Baghdad threatened his life in 2015. For Ahmed, the Kensington community is rooted in diversity.

People from all over the world gather in this small section of the Toronto and make it their home: Brazilian, Ukranian, Cuban, Chinese, Algerian, Greek, Jewish, Spanish, Argentenian, and more. Their sounds are the sounds of the street. They are the sounds which welcomed, inspired and healed Ahmed when he was alone, didn’t speak English and felt a deep sense of hopelessness.

Ahmed’s experiences in Kensington taught him how to be close with people once again. That vibrancy and sense of union of many peoples is what drew him to the story of The Onion Cellar.

In The Onion Cellar, those who have experience trauma, who feel alone, who are suffering in their inability to share their stories or emotions, visit this celebrated nightclub. There, through the process of cutting and peeling their onions, guests shed tears as they share their deeply personal stories. They peel their suffering away and purge themselves of the pain of the world. This sharing is closely tied to music being played by the bar’s band. The stories lead the music and the music leads the journey, melodies mirroring emotions. Music fills the space, allowing everyone to feel comfortable, open and ready to share their stories.

I first met Ahmed in 2017. He’d been here for two years and was looking to reconnect with his roots in live theatre. With thanks to the Toronto Arts Council’s Newcomer and Refugee Mentorship Program, Ahmed and I were able to spend a year exploring theatre in Toronto, meeting other artists and helping Ahmed to discover his place within the theatre community. Together we developed a project exploring Multilingual Shakespeare. Ahmed became an Artist in Residence during that summer’s production of Othello and ended up touring with the company. Almost immediately, we knew that our journey together would be long-lived.

When Ahmed approached me with his ideas for The Onion Cellar, I knew that I had to support him however I could.

Always a great collaborator, Ahmed’s vision for The Onion Cellar is a piece of theatre created by a group of artists, with everyone contributing to the story being told. This devised theatre process invites us to welcome multiple voices to the process and, after a selection process earlier this year, we’ve assembled an extraordinary group of individuals to help us craft this story including Dillan Mieghan Chiblow, Nehassaiu deGannes, Richard Lam, Alison Porter, Shaina Silver-Baird and Ravyn Ariah Wngz. You can read more about each of these fabulous artists here.

Over the course of the next two months, between October and December 2022, we’ll be meeting twice with each artist over Zoom, gathering their stories and perspectives. Once the interviews are complete, Ahmed will spend some time writing, taking inspiration from and building these varied stories into the foundation which will become The Onion Cellar.

This phase of development will wrap up in the new year with a one-day workshop to bring everyone together, in person, to read through and discuss the play. Future phases will include more writing time, the incorporation and exploration of music and lyrics, and further workshops to develop and shape the play.

We’re pretty sure that the process of bringing this ambitious work to the stage will take years, but we’ll certainly be updating you as we progress.

We’re deeply indebted to Brian Quirt and everyone at Nightswimming Theatre for putting their faith in Ahmed’s vision and providing the seed funding to embark up this extraordinary adventure.

If you are curious and would like to support the development of a new piece of theatre, feel free to reach out to us at or make a donation directly right here.

$77,500 OTF Grant Gets Driftwood Theatre Back On The Road

Ontario, Canada – In 2021, Driftwood Theatre Company received a $77,500 Resilient Communities Fund from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to assist in Driftwood’s ability to adapt to the many challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund has supported the research, creation and implementation of safety procedures and community-based programs as Driftwood continued to plan for a return to live performance and touring. The project was completed in April 2022 and thanks to the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Driftwood is eagerly anticipating the return of The Bard’s Bus Tour for the first time since 2019. 

“How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines Driftwood Theatre, a company that enlightens and entertains audiences across rural Ontario by touring its energetic renditions of Shakespeare,” said Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte. “I’m pleased to hear the $77,500 from the Resilient Communities Fund has been well directed to ensure the safe staging of the Bard’s Bus Tour and other forms of theatrical engagement in 2022 and beyond.”

In addition to the adaptive measures created by Driftwood to ensure audience safety at all events, the Resilient Communities Fund helped Driftwood assess and increase community impact through new community-based programming. Driftwood is now piloting new programs to help further engage individuals who might otherwise not have access to professional theatre. 

“We are so thankful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support as we’ve weathered the storm of the past few years,” said D. Jeremy Smith, Artistic Director of Driftwood Theatre. “The resilient Communities Fund support has helped to ensure that, as we return to live performance, our audiences, artists, staff and volunteers are safe and that Driftwood is able to move forward with fresh perspectives and new ideas for reaching out to underserved members of our communities.”

The Bard’s Bus Tour is Driftwood’s signature event, touring professional theatre across Ontario since 1995. The tour returns July 14, 2022 and runs until August 21, 2022 with stops in over 20 communities across Southern and Eastern Ontario. For more information about Driftwood Theatre, including the complete Bard’s Bus Tour schedule, please visit

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities across Ontario. As an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations, last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Since 2020, OTF has supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Visit to learn more.  


For Media Inquiries: 

Michael Sheppard, Communications and Development Manager

Driftwood Theatre Company