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School Workshops

Artist-led workshops

Led by theatre artists who are experienced youth facilitators, these workshops provide opportunities for you and your students to deepen and further your in-class learning. Tarragon offers in-person at school, in-person at Tarragon Theatre, and virtual workshops.

Pricing varies depending on the facilitator and length of workshop.

All of our workshops can be scaled to accommodate SHSM requirements.

Please contact Tarragon’s Education and Community Engagement Manager, Heather Caplap at education@tarragontheatre.com for details.

Playwright and Educator Chelsea Woolley

Chelsea Woolley

Text Based Video Game Design: Write Your Own Adventure
Left or right? Into the jungle, or through the cave? Chelsea Woolley offers a workshop on creating a “design your own adventure” text based video game. She will lead workshop participants through story boarding, writing, and basic coding using the interactive program TWINE.

Writers will develop characters and craft multiple plot lines for readers to choose from, as well as learn how to add other interactive components. This workshop is perfect for writers and coders between the ages of 12 and 17. This workshop requires all students to have access to a computer that is connected to the internet.

Please note this workshop is designed to be delivered virtually.

Laban Movement
After developing her practice at the National Theatre School of Canada, Chelsea will lead participants through the basics of this unique movement technique and explore its uses as a tool in developing dramatic characters, body specificity, and a sense of play on stage.

Feminist Theatre in the Contemporary Canadian Landscape
In this workshop, students will explore excerpts from feminist Canadian plays that have premiered within the last ten years. Students will unpack the structure, themes, and the limitations of these plays, and discuss the role of theatre in justice, intersectionality, and representation.

Chelsea Woolley is a playwright whose work includes: Paint Me This House of Love (Tarragon Theatre),  Enormity, Girl, and the Earthquake in Her Lungs (Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival), The Mountain (Geordie Theatre, Spinning Dot Theatre), The Only Good Boy (Theatre BSMT), and These Peaceable Kingdoms (New Words Festival). She is the founder of the Mixed-Arts Performance Partnership Program, connecting young artists living in precarity to professional artistic mentorship, and the creator of a writer’s unit for teens at Red Door Shelter where she and they co-wrote a script titled, One Day. Chelsea has been recognized through a number of awards including: Tarragon Theatre’s RBC Emerging Playwright, The Playwright Guild of Canada’s SureFire List, The Ellen Ross Stuart Opening Doors Award, and the Toronto Fringe New Play Contest. She has attended the Banff Playwright’s Lab, and the National New Play Network’s Playwright’s Workshop at the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. Chelsea is currently the Head of Drama at the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, and is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Playwriting Program.

Dramaturg and Playwright Nathaniel Hanula-James

Nathaniel Hanula-James

Getting Messy with Playwriting

Why is ‘playwright’ spelled so weirdly? How is writing a play different from writing a novel? This workshop for grades 8 – 12 will introduce students to basic principles of playwriting, and introduce them to the tools a playwright uses to create a blueprint for a performance. In a set of short, fast-paced exercises, students will explore character, plot, dialogue, and other basic principles of drama, create short original works, and expand their definition of what a play can be.

Nathaniel Hanula-James (he/they) is a theatremaker who collaborates on new work as a dramaturg, playwright, administrator, and performer. In his writing practice he facilitates the Local Young Playwrights Unit at Tarragon Theatre, freelances with artists across Ontario, and worked alongside Brian Quirt and Gloria Mok at the dramaturgical company Nightswimming for three years. They are a Staff Writer at Intermission Magazine and are working with Dr. Karen Fricker to develop a new open-access course in Equitable Theatre Criticism. In Nathaniel’s object theatre piece Untitled Flamingo Play, a stuffed flamingo dispenses questionable advice to two queer children in search of their authentic selves. His play A Cloud of Ink in the Shape of Herself, commissioned by ZeeZee Theatre’s National Queer and Trans Playwriting Unit, follows an archivist who descends to the Underworld in search of three Black queer historical figures who consume her research and imagination. Nathaniel is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s acting program, Humber College’s Arts Administration Program, and McGill University (BA Drama & Theatre.)

Clown and Theatre Artist Justin Miller

Justin Miller

Intro to Clown

An introduction to clowning techniques that encourage students to tap into their impulse and imagination, and open themselves up to the risk, surprise, and joy that can arise with connecting with their peers (and audiences) through play.

Taught by multi-award-winning drag clown Justin Miller (aka Pearle Harbour), this class aims to equip its participants with the skills to tear down (or at least peek around) the fourth wall and authentically listen to their audience, and respond urgently to hug the calamity in the room.

Justin Miller is a queer, Toronto-based playwright, producer, theatre maker, and Fool. As his darkly comic drag persona, Pearle Harbour, he has been called “one of the most engaging and thoughtful performance artists around” (NOW Magazine).

His award-winning original works have been presented to rave critical and audience response across Canada, published in Canadian Theatre review, and featured on the CBC. As a screenwriter, he has developed work for NBC-Peacock.

As a drag dramatist, consultant, and artist-educator, he has shared his unique perspective at Queens University, University of New Brunswick, Randolph College for the Performing Arts, Toronto Metropolitan University, and the Stratford Festival.

Selected accolades include Audience Choice Award (SummerWorks), Outstanding Solo Performance (My Entertainment World), Dora Mavor-Moore Award nominations for Outstanding Performance and Costume Design, and the Jon Kaplan Legacy Fund Award for Canadian Theatre Performer.

See more at www.pearleharbour.com.

Puppeteer and Theatre Artist Lowen Morrow

Lowen Morrow

Puppetry Foundations

In this course students will be immersed in the delightful art of puppetry performance by exploring a variety of puppetry styles including hand puppet (or muppet), found objects, and 3-5 person puppets. This course covers puppetry foundations such as breath, focus, movement and intention and students will not only have an opportunity to add this unique performance style to their theatrical tool belt, they will also learn a variety of skills that overlap with acting and other performance disciplines such as specificity of thought, movement, beats and speech through a unique framework. Additionally, learning puppetry offers students many vital life skills such as teamwork, effective communication, physical awareness and empathy, all while having a ton of fun- come ready to move, explore and laugh!

Lowen Morrow (they/them) is a multi-award winning Toronto based theatre and filmmaker specializing in puppetry and comedy. As a puppeteer, they have been featured in a number of productions across the GTA including Tarragon Theatre’s Orphan Song as the puppetry director, designer and sculptor as well as performing the titular character. Internationally, they toured for six years with Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia performing puppetry to tens of thousands of children across Canada, every continental US state, and parts of China. They have won over two dozen awards including the Honourary My Theatre Award for “single handedly revitalizing the art of puppetry in Toronto’s theatre scene”. As a puppetry teacher, Kait has worked with a number of organizations including The Soul Pepper Academy, The Second City, Tarragon Theatre, Bad Dog Theatre and Theatre by the Bay. Recently they starred in Grace Glowicki’s feature film Dead Lover and workshopped a new production of Pinocchio with multi-Dora Award winning theatre company Bad New Days.

Director and Educator Rahaf Fasheh

Rahaf Fasheh

Text Analysis for Directing and Acting

This can cover script analysis from a Director’s perspective or an Actor’s perspective. Through a close reading of scenes from a script of the teacher’s choice, students will go over the steps of play analysis from a director’s point of view: scene-breakdown, consideration of transitions, dramaturgy, and the audience’s role.

Workshop Questions: Why here, why now? What are the themes of the play? What can be a staging concept/ adaptation? What is the world of the play?

Character Development

This workshop covers character analysis and development from an Actor’s perspective. By creating a character of their own or analyzing a well-known character, students will go over what elements are needed to develop a full-fledged character. Students will learn to look out for, or come up with, character physicality, identity, history, objectives, relationships, environment, and obstacles within the script.

Workshop Questions: What elements make-up a character? How do characters describe each other? What is the characters’ objective and super-objective? What are the stakes and obstacles?

Voice Workshops: This is a 2 part workshop, the parts can be booked separately or together

Part 1 - Academic

This academic workshop will go over how the voice physiologically works. Students will learn the various pitch and resonance in their voices, the areas of articulation in the mouth, the respiratory muscles and organs involved in releasing the natural voice, basic phonemes and vowels of the English language, and the factors that affect releasing a free, natural voice.

Part 2 - Practical

This interactive workshop will cover beginner voice training for students interested in a future of professional training for actors. Through vocal, articulation and breath warm-ups, students will get a well-rounded idea of professional theatre vocal training as they begin to find their free voice.

Building Blocks of Improvisation

Through games and exercises, students will learn the building blocks of how to improvise a scene as an ensemble. They will learn the tools they need from what they can bring into a scene, to brainstorming on the spot, and raising the stakes!

Workshop Questions: What can I bring into a scene? How can I work with my scene partner to move the story forward ? How do I keep the audience in mind? What do I do if I get stuck? How can I raise the stakes?

Rahaf Fasheh (she/her) is a passionate stage director, educator, and producer, placing integrity, community, and play at the core of her work. With a “let’s try it” attitude, she fosters a safe space for playful exploration of ideas with collaborators, actors, and students. Rahaf is dedicated to amplifying under-represented communities, especially focusing on Arab, immigrant, and new-comer experiences. She holds a BSA from UofT specializing in Theatre and minoring in Psychology. Her training includes City Youth Academy at Soulpepper (2015), Paprika Directors Lab (2021), Nightwood Theatre Innovators Program (2022), and Factory Theatre’s Training Enhancement Program for Directing (2023). Her directorial debut saw a sold-out two-week independent run at Theatre Passe Murraille (2019), and she since has continued on to direct a handful of staged readings, as well as a kids show (2022). As an educator, Rahaf teaches improvisation, ensemble work, and devised theatre to kids aged 6-16 weekly at Young Peoples Theatre and Stage Coach, and occasionally Tarragon Theatre and Shakespeare in Action. She is grateful to have been awarded an OAC Development grant to remotely produce a play adaptation into a short animation film overseeing an international team of Palestinian artists under Hakawatieh Productions.

Artist and Writer Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman

Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman

Telling Your Story – learning to shape personal narratives in a responsible way.

We all have stories that are worth telling. In this workshop, students will get to choose a meaningful event or experience in their life and then learn how to craft it into a story that can transition to a performance. Through this process they will learn healthy boundary setting of their own experiences, storytelling and theatrical
techniques, and valuing the unique beauty of their own voice.

Introduction to Docu Theatre – telling someone else’s story truthfully and responsibly

Documentaries and docu-theatre are powerful storytelling techniques that allow audiences to access stories and topics in different ways than fictional narratives. However, it takes a lot of work to do so in a way that is responsible and ethical while still using your own artistic voice. Through examples and explorations, students will get a taste of how they can use their point of view to accurately communicate someone else’s story.

How to Read And Distill Plays

Reading plays is a skill different from learning how to read novels, or essays. Understanding what makes a good play is also a skill – and often one that can only be figured out be reading them. In this workshop students will be exposed to different theatrical works and be taught how to create short papers breaking down the strengths and challenges of the play to an outside party. This teaches students how to separate opinions from facts while embracing their own voices in the process.

Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman is an artist, educator and activist. As a playwright she has worked and had her work produced throughout North America. Sarah spent 4 years on the literary team of Steppenwolf Theatre Company helping to see the fruition of 6 world premiere productions in a variety of roles including dramaturge. As an educator, Sarah is passionate about helping people find their voices and tell their stories. She has worked as an adjunct professor of playwriting and script analysis at The University of Illinois – Chicago, at high schools and elementary schools, at summer camps, youth shelters, and prisons. Sarah is dedicated to trauma informed practice and brings a trauma informed lens to all of her work, teaching, and practices.

Director and Producer Aaron Jan

Aaron Jan

Follow Your Dreams: How to build a sustainable career in theatre!

How do you make a living doing theatre? How can you turn your dreams into a reality? In this 90 minute seminar, theatre director, playwright, producer, and educator, Aaron Jan will walk through various career paths in theatre, give a realistic vision of how much each of them pays and discuss how to actually make this career work!

(photo by Graham Isador)

Fundraising / Producing

What IS a producer? What do they do? How do you raise money for a project to make sure everyone gets paid?

In this 90 minute interactive workshop, participants will act as producers and compete against each other in how to pitch their projects to funders in the most appealing and exciting ways to get that money! Prizes included!

Lions and Units and Beats, oh my! Table Work

What is table work? How do you prepare a text for performance as an actor? In this two hour workshop, participants will work through a short script as actors and learn how to organize the information in a script to make strong acting choices in a workshop styled after theatre director, Aaron Jan’s own table work process.

Get Up and Make Some Theatre: Movement choreography for non-movers

How do we create theatre without being stuck in our heads (or even writing!)? How do we just get up and create incredible stage pictures without talking about it?

Through a series of exercises, students will build choreography from images we draw from existing source texts and strategies. No movement training required! Let’s get up and make some theatre!

Aaron Jan is a playwright, director and dramaturg. He has worked as a creator with Factory Theatre, Canadian Stage, Theatre Aquarius, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, Soulpepper, Boca Del Lupo, The School of Performance, York University, Theatre Sheridan, Theatre Passe Muraille, Theatre Erindale, the University of Winnipeg, and most recently with Theatre Direct. Aaron is the 2019 winner of the Ken McDougall directing award, the 2021 co-winner of the Rita Joe Playwriting Award, a 2021 co-recipient of Musical Stage Company’s Aubrey and Marla Dan Fund for New Musicals, a 2021 Johanna Protege Recipient, and the 2022 winner of Tarragon Theatre’s Urjo Kareda Award for Emerging Artists. aaronchihojan.wixsite.com/home

Other Workshop Options

Various Creators

Variety of skill-based workshops
We love collaborating! Let’s build a workshop suited to your students needs!

Potential topics include:

  • Acting / Auditioning
  • Puppetry
  • Directing
  • Dramaturgy
  • Collective Creation
  • Translation in Theatre
  • Audio Drama
  • Foley
  • Clowning
  • Props