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Young Playwrights Unit

Extended Cohort 2021

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Meet the playwrights

Tarragon’s Young Playwrights Units (YPUs) offer a paid training experience for young artists (aged 18-28) who are curious and passionate about playwriting. This program offers two groups of dedicated young creators a rigorous and supportive context in which to develop some of their first works.

If you have any questions about the Young Playwrights Unit, please don’t hesitate to contact the Education and Community Engagement Manager by filling out the form here.

2021 YPU Extended Cohort

Alison Adams

Alison Adams is an emerging actor, writer, and creator from Algonquin and Anishinabewaki lands, and is currently studying at the University of Windsor’s BFA in Acting program on Three Fires Confederacy First Nations land. She is very interested in creating performance art that is aware of its theatricality, while still staying true to the simplicity of the story. She approaches every story she tells and every character she interprets with respect and understanding, because she knows that in order to create trust and believability between the players and the audience there must be a mutual sharing of stories, opinions, and secrets. She believes that you cannot have one without the other, which makes the art both an escape and a communal gossip session simultaneously. This double exchange is unique to this art form and that’s why she loves it so much!

Rebecca Anne Bloom

Rebecca Anne Bloom is an IBPOC actor, photographer, artist, writer and podcast host. Known as a ‘jack-of-all-trades’, currently Rebecca Anne holds the position of Event & Venue Liaison/Social Media & Digital Marketing Coordinator at the Lakeview Arts Barn in Bobcaygeon. Rebecca is one half of the Our Dramatic Assets Podcast as well as the owner of R.A.Bloom Creations & Photography. Rebecca has appeared in a variety of productions, most recently as Kit in a play reading of Norm Foster’s, Dear Santa (Globus Theatre) and as Miss Muffet in the pantomime Mother Goose (Stirling Festival Theatre). Her current topics of passion include advocating for IBPOC representation in the theatre or film industry and easier access to mental health services. She is a guest blogger for SPARC: Supporting Performing Arts in Rural & Remote Communities and will be one of the playwrights doing a play reading as part of the PGC Craft Bites initiative on Saturday, March 6th.

Randi Bowron

Randi Bowron (they/she) is a multi-disciplinary artist who specializes in writing and performance for the stage and screen. They are a graduate of the University of King’s College with a B.A. (Hon) in Theatre and hold a Graduate Certificate in Television Writing and Producing from Humber College. Randi is passionate about exploring themes of gender, sexuality, and mental/physical illness in their performance and written work. They enjoy immersive and site-engaged art that pushes the boundaries of “traditional” theatre. Randi lives in Toronto with their partner and three rats, Ratthew, Spike, and Ossi.

Sena Yurika Çağla

Sena Yurika Çağla is an actor, deviser, writer and a theatre maker currently residing on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of Squamish (Skxwú7mesh), Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), and Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilwətaɁɬ) Nations.

She graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA in Theatre Performance. As a Japanese-Turkish artist, her work focuses on creating connections between cultures while embracing differences. Currently Sena is focused on exploring the effects of cultural differences between romantic relationships and how oppression takes part in it.

Performances on these themes include: Heart of the Scarecrow‘ inspired by Corazón del espantapájaros (Audain Gallery) and her one woman performance I Oppress’ in 9 Lives/(Le) Chat in a Box.

Christine Cortez

Christine is a Toronto based, Filipina-Canadian Actress, Writer/Director, and overall multifaceted Artist/Creative. Born in the Philippines and growing up in Calgary, AB; Christine graduated from the University of Alberta with a BSc. Chemistry and Biological Sciences. She moved to Toronto in the summer of 2017 to train and relentlessly pursue an Acting career. Christine made her directorial and film debut with her first short film, Cranes – nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Female Performance – winning Best Screenplay. She strives to represent, create works and open opportunities for herself in Film, TV and Theatre. Projects in the “Pipeline” are: a Love Anthology Short Series using the Four Seasons (final drafts), a Mockumentary Web Series (plot lining), YA Fantasy Novel (concept) and her very first Play (undergoing revisions). Being mostly a self-taught writer; Christine seeks any learning experience and career advancement opportunities she can find to further her work and enhance her skills, meet like-minded creatives and be a part of the artistic community in all aspects of its journey! Christine is truly excited to be a part of the YPU Extended Cohort! Happy to connect via instagram: @christinelj.cortes

More info can be found in her website:

Katrina Creelman

Katrina Creelman is a 19-year-old playwright, actor, and overall creative. Since her time as a youth assistant with her local theatre company, Katrina has been writing original scripts and collaborating on community productions such as Robin Hood and Antigone 2020. Most recently, she wrote and facilitated Unmuted, an LGBTQIA2S+ and BIPoC centric production with Queens University’s Dan Studio Series, as well as Faana, a one-scene feature in Theatre Orangeville’s Brave New Works Festival. In addition to writing, Katrina has appeared as an actor in numerous productions, including Dog Sees God (Beethoven), Peter Pan (Wendy), and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Susan). She is overjoyed to be working with Tarragon Theatre alongside Canada’s next generation of artists!

Shyanne Duquette

Shyanne Duquette is a part of the 2021 graduating class with the University of Alberta Department of Drama. Currently based in Edmonton Alberta, She is excited to be entering the work field with passion, creativity and chutzpah. As someone who has never shared her plays beyond trusted intimate workshops with indie theatre companies or within class settings, the opportunity to be a part of Tarragons YPU Extended Unit is absolutely fantastic and she can’t wait to see the work created by all artists involved. Follow her on Instagram @shyanne.a.d for more information on this artist.

Sarvin Esmaeili

Originally from Iran, Sarvin Esmaeili is an actor, writer, storyteller and creator living on the unsurrendered ancestral territories of the musqueam and squamish nations (known as Vancouver). Sarvin is a recipient of the 2019 BC Arts Council Scholarship. She is a co-creator/performer of Can We Fix It? (Studio 58) and One of a Kind (Carousel Theatre). Sarvin recently directed a virtual play, Papa Records Everything for The National Theatre School’s Art Apart festival. She’s currently writing two plays with Arts Club’s LEAP playwriting intensive and Playwrights Theatre Centre’s Block A. Sarvin is thrilled to be part of the Tarragon’s YPU Extended Unit. She loves facilitating storytelling workshops, rock painting, meditating and reciting poetry. Sarvin is a recent graduate of Studio 58’s acting program.

Rooks Field-Green

Rooks Field-Green is a trans/non-binary theatre artist settled in Kjipuktuk, the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Miqmaq people. Rooks has a combined-honours degree in Psychology and Theatre Studies from the University of King’s College/Dalhousie University. Rooks has worked behind the scenes with Zuppa Theatre Co. (City Ditties, This is Nowhere, F.I.S.H.), 2b Theatre (The Bridge), DaPoPo Theatre in association with Shakespeare by The Sea (Queer Theatre Ensemble: Shakesqueer). He has also performed with Zuppa Theatre (F.I.S.H.) Villain’s Theatre (M: The Berlin Murders, Isolate Nights, Scene of the Crime), Neptune Theatre (Boys, Girls, and Other Mythological Creatures, Jabber) and Ship’s Company Theatre (Good Grief). Rooks is the co-creator of Circle Back Theatre, a new company that has exciting developments coming to Halifax soon. Rooks produces, writes and directs queer children’s radio plays (Frog and Toad are Together: Ice Cream, A Swim, Cookies). Rooks’s writing focuses on childhood development, transgenerational trauma (with queer and jewish lens’s), and subversive depictions of gender and queerness.

Emma Fowler Houghton

Emma Fowler Houghton (She/Her) is a theatre performer, playwright, voice actor, and very curious human. Born and raised in Amiskwaciwâskahikan, colonially known as Edmonton, Alberta, she is proud to be firmly planted in the Alberta prairies. Select acting credits include ActuallyThe Virgin Trial(Betty Award Nomination), The Last Wife (Alberta Theatre Projects); A Christmas Carol ’19 (Theatre Calgary); Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Citadel). She has also assistant directed for Alberta Theatre Projects(’19) and Shadow Theatre(’18, ’19). She is currently part of Punctuate Theatre’s 2020/2021 Partizan Playwriting Unit and is so happy to be joining Tarragon Theatre’s YPU Extended Cohort!

Jenna Geen

Jenna Geen (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist and recent graduate of Randolph College for the Performing Arts. She is a devised theatre creator, playwright, actor, singer, and music producer. Their values as an artist focus on the dismantling of colonial and capitalist agendas—making space for historically underrepresented voices in art. Jenna creates work that is interdisciplinary, immersive, and experimental, told through a queer lens. She is interested in ways that artists can create work that deviates from traditional structure and genre rules; playing with text and music to create strong moods, and evoke feelings, rather than telling a story through traditional exposition. Jenna continues to question what is possible, and she works extremely hard to challenge the perceptions of the dominant culture in her writing—Always striving for her boldest and most authentic work— maintaining creative self-expression throughout.

Ahlam Hassan

Ahlam Hassan is a community organizer, writer and architect in training. She is also a programmer and outreach coordinator at the annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival. In 2018, she completed an undergraduate thesis at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Dr. Seika Boye titled “Locating and Naming African-Canadian Performance”, for which she analyzed the representation of Blackness in theoretical drama courses across post-secondary institutions in Toronto, leading to the creation of a new syllabus to teach African-Canadian performance. Ahlam’s recent performance credits include k.g. Guttman’s Visiting Hours at Gallery TPW (2019), Deanna Bowen’s O̶n̶ ̶T̶r̶i̶a̶l̶ The Long Doorway at Mercer Union (2017) and Jessica Karuhanga’s all our days are full of breath: a record of momentum at Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (2017).

Carline Hsieh

Though born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Carline has spent the last 6 years pursuing an undergraduate and master’s degree in Ontario. In her years away from home, she began writing as a means to validate, yet not to explain, Asian-Canadian realities. Carline carries the weight of heritage and identity—a juxtaposition of East and West—and likes to explore that tension in her writing. Her first play was selected as a winner in the University of Toronto’s Hart House Playwriting Competition, and is now being produced for the spring of 2021. Carline prefers to dream freely instead of reasonably, and to charge forward while looking back. She likes academic essays on Mondays, Hemingway on Tuesdays, and Alice Munro on Wednesdays, but overall, Carline just wants to be enamoured with things that are honest, vulnerable, and unafraid.

Kimberly Ihekwoaba

Kimberly Ihekwoaba is a Nigerian-Canadian Multimedia Storyteller based in Calgary, AB. She uses art to bridge education and entertainment. Writing is a place that permits her to be soft, bold, and fearless. Her originality is based on portraying life from a contradictory point of view. Her first play presented was “Echoes – A Christmas Play”. She brings honest, transparent, and conspicuous sentiments to her works. Kimberly has written for print media, spoken word, theatre, and film productions. She has presented her works at art festivals like Black Arts Matters, DJD Multicultural Festival, Canada Day, and Ignite Festival. Most recently, she worked as a Screenwriter on the Short Film, “Pastor G”. She uses various platforms to deliver a captivating and memorable interpretation of her world.

Raven John

Raven John, artist, involuntary comedian and two-spirit activist, is of Coast Salish and Stolo Nation decent. This Two-spirit Trickster is a BFA graduate from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, with a major in visual art and minor in social practice and community engagement, as well as a graduate of the North West Coast Jewelry Arts program at the Native Education College. Raven is a visual artist, cultural consultant, mediator, storyteller, photographer and sculptor. A jack-of-all-trades (and master of a few), their practice covers a wide array of mediums from provocation and humor, puppet making, ceramics, dressmaking, interactive electronics and indigenous technologies. Should you wish to participate in direct action regarding Truth and Reconciliation and/or the ongoing colonization/genocide of the indigenous peoples of Canada, feel free to visit their following website to directly wire them money for coffee, comic books and/or art supplies.

Jahnelle Jones

Jahnelle Jones is a Toronto based interdisciplinary artist who was born and raised in Scarborough. During her youth Jahnelle was lucky to be able to attend training programs with companies like the Tarragon Theatre, Paprika Festival, and Shakespeare in the Ruff. Those programs helped to instill Jahnelle’s love of the Toronto theatre community and her interest in eventually helping to usher in the new generation of theatre artists. Jahnelle is also a recent graduate of the Theatre and Drama Studies program at UofT and Sheridan College. During her time in the program Jahnelle was able to create two short pieces of theatre, Kismet Protocol and Hope Reclaimed, for the Beck Theatre Creation Festival. Those pieces tackled themes of womanhood, apathy vs. hope, and technology of the future vs. modern day values which are some themes that Jahnelle is exploring in her current writing projects.

Caitlin Kelly

Caitlin (they/them) is a settler of European ancestry who grew up in Amiskwacîwâskahikan, Edmonton, on Treaty 6 territory. They are currently a visitor to Tkaronto, Toronto, on Treaty 13, Dish with One Spoon territory. Caitlin is a queer, non-binary, actor, creator, writer, collaborator, and a recent distinguished graduate of the University of Alberta’s Conservatory Acting Program. Caitlin’s recent playwriting credits include The Eye of the Storm (24 Hour Play’s Viral Monologue Series), A Slow Burn (Edmonton Public Library), and Mind the Gap (Nextfest Arts Co). They come to the Young Playwrights’ Extended Unit with a specific interest in queer stories. They are most interested in challenging binary systems and stereotypes in performance and shaping experiences in which audiences and performers, together, may create shared meaning and understanding in one space.

Garrett Mallory Scott

Garrett Mallory Scott is a Mad playwright originally from Alberta. His works often blend fantasy and historical themes as he aims to bring attention to less-heard voices and issues. His first one-act play, “Detritus”, won his university’s top award while his second, “Sins in the Name of the Father”, was runner up the next year. His third, “Last Thing I Did”, swept all awards at the Chinook One-Act Festival and competed at the provincial level. He also writes in other mediums and has produced a few short films and published short stories on themes ranging from guilt in the Spanish Civil War to a real, regretful encounter he had with a homeless woman. When not furiously typing at his computer he continues to learn from life experiences as an actor, former soldier, martial artist and collaborator in amazing projects by fellow, diverse artists.

Rabiya Mansoor

Rabiya Mansoor (she/they) is a Pakistani-Calgarian writer, sketch comedian, and producer based in Toronto, ON. Her web series projects in development include: Get Up, Aisha (IPF/iThentic) and Layla is Relevant (2020 WIFT-T Scripted Digital Series Incubator/2020 TAC Media Artists Grant). Her all-WOC sketch comedy troupe, the Don Valley Girls, received a 2019 Sketch Comedy Project Fund grant (Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival) for their first sketch revue (coming soon in a post-COVID-19 world). She is an alum of Second City’s 2019 Bob Curry Fellowship program for emerging, diverse comedic voices and has performed at the Toronto, Chicago, and Montreal Sketch Comedy Festivals, most recently as a drag king solo act. Her writing has been workshopped at the FEM Script Lab, Working the Scene in Colour, and Industry Events TO.

Sanskruti Marathe

Sanskruti Marathe is a South-Asian immigrant Queer creator. She holds a BFA from York University’s Acting conservatory and has been training in Indian Classical and Folk dance forms for the past seventeen years. Her work focuses on merging Indian classical theatre traditions with her Eurocentric theatre training to inform diverse BIPOC narratives that speak to this current cultural moment of radical awakening.

Not only is she striving to decolonize art with her work, she is also actively working to provide space and opportunities for her fellow BIPOC artists. Through writing stories that focus on intergenerational South-Asian experiences and portraying South-Asian characters with depth and authenticity, Sanskruti is breaking the stereotypical representations of brownness and bringing new flavours to South-Asian identity.

Marathe has also been challenging herself to discover various avenues of art and finding artistic approaches to climates change, small business creation as well as research and development work.

Alysha Mohamed

Alysha Mohamed is a poet, playwright, and actress in her third year at Queen’s University. Her first play, My Hands Were Made For This, placed third in Toronto Fringe’s New Play Competition and received a professional staged reading with Lunchbox Theatre in 2019 after she directed and starred in the original production. Her latest acting performances include 5th Company Lane’s productions of Christina, the Girl King by Michel Marc Bouchard and Scratch by Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman. Two of her poems, “Nanima” and “The Colonizer’s Nightmare” have recently been published in Arc Magazine. Additionally, Alysha is one of the Founders and Artistic Directors of Black Swan Production Company: an online theatre company committed to elevating underrepresented theatre artists. Alysha is thrilled to be selected as a member of the YPU Extended Cohort, and is excited to develop her craft under the guidance of the Tarragon Theatre team.

Adriana Moraes-Mendoza

Adriana Moraes-Mendoza is Toronto based Canadian-Ecuadorian-Uruguayan actor, playwright and poet. She is the co-founder of J & A Collective. J & A’s first play DiablaDivina, was a part of Factory Theatre’s 2018-2019 Foundry, Assembly Theatre’s 150 Workshop Series and Aluna Theatre’s 2019 Caminos festival. Most recently the play is being produced by Aluna Theatre to be released as an audio experience at the end of March 2021. J & A Collective is also in the midst of writing and directing a piece titled Not Your Mija through the Paprika festival’s production program.

Issi Nagel

Izzi is a Toronto-based actor and writer, whose work explores her undying fascination with humans and the connections between them. She recently graduated from Ryerson University’s Acting program, where she began to experiment with playwriting as a means of expression in addition to acting – her first love. Izzi’s first play, I Can See Light Now, premiered virtually at the Ryerson New Voices Festival in May of 2020, and she’s looking forward to a time when this and other plays can see life on the stage again. She’d like to extend a huge thanks to Tarragon and Makram for actively supporting and mentoring young Canadian artists.

Liaba Nisar

Liaba Nisar is a playwright and director from Guelph, Ontario, whose work explores intersecting identities of race, gender, and sexuality. She is particularly focused on place-based trauma and mental catharsis, through geographically-oriented forms of healing. Liaba has written and directed multiple plays as part of the University of Guelph One-Act play festivals, and has completed work and internships within script coverage, puppetry, and set design. In her spare time, Liaba enjoys karaoke, watching bad horror movies, and annoying her cat. In the future, she wants to work as a writer and director, within theatre and film.

Marissa Orjalo

Marissa is an interdisciplinary Filipina-Canadian actor, writer, composer, and academic based in Toronto. She is currently an M.A. Candidate at the University of Toronto, working with the Centre for Theatre, Drama, and Performance Studies. Her research areas of interest include Asian-Canadian theatre, Filipinx-Canadian theatre, and radical theatre creation through music and technology. Marissa has been fortunate enough to participate in the actor enhancement training program at Factory Theatre as well as Carlos Bulosan Theatre’s joint HASA Initiative with the Stratford Festival in 2019. She holds certificates from the Royal Conservatory of Music for Operatic Voice and Classical Piano Performance. Marissa is currently creating with the Disconnect(ed) Collective at Carlos Bulosan Theatre, developing a new piece entitled Pedestal Pinays. She has performed in several Toronto-based productions including A (Musical) Midsummer Night’s Dream (Driftwood Theatre), and FEARLESS (fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre).

Justin Otto

Justin Otto (he/him) is a Winnipeg-tested (Treaty 1 settler, born and raised); Toronto based artist, whose work is primarily theatrical performance, devised creation, and film. His interests revolve around pushing new Canadian work, emphasizing a closer look into masculinity, the working class (identifying the inherent wealth privileges and nepotism in our industry), adaptation, and actual chaos. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg, in theatre performance and the Second City Conservatory. His play The Manic Pixie Dream Girl won best new play at the Winnipeg Fringe. Most recently Justin was seen as Malvolio in Tim Crouch’s award-winning solo piece, I, Malvolio, and the award-winning short film Alter Boys (in development as an upcoming television series)Before the “great pause” he was set to perform in the Canadian premiere of Annie Baker’s newest play The Antipodes & in the world premiere of Siberian Summer at The Segal Centre. Check out his new podcast “Love Is…”. He used to play baseball. A Leafs fan.

IG: btbamotto/loveispod

Izien Ovbiagele

Izien Ovbiagele is a Toronto-based photographer and contributing writer. Inspired by nature, culture (particularly of the African diaspora), and vibrant palettes, Izien’s work exemplifies Black resilience, Black joy and Black power through visual imagery and prose-poetry where she drew her inspiration from—growing up in Houston, Texas.

In 2017, Izien received the MVP recognition in the film program at UforChange, followed by her acceptance into the Arts Educator Apprenticeship with Voice of Purpose x the Toronto District School Board. Her poetry has been featured in ‘Lost In Translation’ at Artscape Youngplace, ‘Ain’t I A Woman – I Am A Man’ exhibit at the Design Exchange, Easy Period, Emancipation Arts ‘Free Up’ event at The Theatre Centre, Regent Park Newsletter and Lakeshore Arts.

Izien, a Ryerson alumna, went back to university in 2018 and is pursuing an Honours BA in Language and Intercultural Relations at Ryerson University.

IG:  @izienovbiagele


Collette Radau

Collette Radau is an Alberta-born, Toronto-based actor, dramaturg, and director whose focus is on new play development and devised works. She is a graduate of Red Deer College’s Theatre Performance & Creation program and York University’s B.A. Honours Theatre program. Most recently during the pandemic, she directed a short zoom play, The End of the Parade by Steven Elliott Jackson for the Operation 24 Festival (Assembly Theatre). She has performed in Diorama (Junior Festival 2019), Post, Like, Share – Beware! (innocent operations), and Le Grand Continental (Luminato Festival 2018). She co-directed and dramaturged Midnight, Toronto for the 39th Rhubarb Festival and works as a freelance dramaturg for hire. Collette was a dramaturgy intern at Young People’s Theatre from 2017-2018, and has dramaturged shows for the Edmonton Fringe Festival, New Market National Play Festival, and Paprika Festival. She was also an editor of Playwrights Guild of Canada’s PLEDGE Project (

Baraka Rahmani

Baraka is an Arab-Canadian actor who moved to Vancouver from Jordan in 2010 to pursue her BFA in performance at Simon Fraser University. She has since performed on renowned stages across the country including The Stratford Shakespeare Festival, The Arts Club, and The Grand Theatre. Baraka is delving into more creative leadership positions; she is currently completing a certification program in Directing and is very excited to be part of Tarragon’s extended Young Playwrights Unit!

Andrea Rankin

Andrea Rankin (she/her) is an artist from Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton) whose artistic practice includes acting, singing, songwriting, voiceover, writing and teaching. Andrea has performed on stages across the country, including at the Stratford Festival, Bard on the Beach, Soulpepper, The Citadel, Theatre Calgary, The Mayfield, Alberta Opera and The Shakespeare Company. Most recently, Andrea spent a few seasons acting at The Stratford Festival originating roles in several new Canadian plays. In 2020, she released her first EP, Tides, which has been featured on CBC’s Fresh Air and Big City, Small World programs since its release. Excited to explore her voice as a writer, Andrea is thrilled to be a part of the YPU Extended Cohort for 2021. Her first play, Held, was co-written with Mindhive Collective and premiered at the 2013 Edmonton Fringe Festival. Andrea joins the Young Playwrights’ Extended Unit with a specific interest in mythology and its function in modern storytelling. She holds a BFA in Drama from the University of Alberta. More at

Thomas Santaro

Thomas is an actor and writer from Toronto, Ontario. He is the firstborn Canadian, last born child of seven, in a blended, half Brazilian, half Polish household, from Gatineau, Quebec. That sounds confusing? He knows. That’s why he writes about it! Thomas is excited to be a part of the YPU Extended cohort to continue developing his really campy dark comic tragedy, Judgement Day. Originally conceptualized as a 7 minute solo-creation piece, he looks forward to developing insight into what effective and meaningful decision making looks like in playwriting with some much needed guidance.

Anjalica Solomon

Anjalica Solomon is a genderfluid Desi poet, spoken word artist, organiser and multi-disciplinary performer based in what is colonially known as Vancouver, BC on the stolen and unsurrendered territories of the Coast Salish, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and MusqueamNations.   You can watch their most recent poetry film productions “The Fruiticana on Fraser Street” and “Healing at a Cost” which recently premiered on YouTube!

Their poetic work often seeks to proclaim the possibilities of love and resilience. Anjalica is a poet of startling emotional intellect and candour whose work testifies to a deep faith in beauty, the power of nature, and ultimately, the human capacity to salvage integrity, radiance and joy from moments of struggle. In this way, Anjalica Solomon’s poems and performances offer robust visions of hope, tenacity, and love.

Anjalica is currently working on their forthcoming collection of poetry with Write Bloody Publishing. Follow @Anjalicrush on Instagram to learn more about upcoming poetry collections, short films, experimental fringe productions, poetry workshops, #brownhistory and for #birdoftheday features!

Cynthia Su

Cynthia is an actor and playwright from Toronto, Ontario. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University for Theatre Performance. She has a focus on devising, her work having been shown at the National Theatre School Drama Festival, Soulpepper’s Collective Creation Intensive Program Showcase and the Paprika Festival. Cynthia hopes to create about the experiences she and others have that have not been represented thus far before they are lost to time. Specifically, she hopes to incorporate stories of living in a group home during the pandemic, the individual and systemic manipulation of the pandemic to serve various purposes, and the people stuck at home with their abusers. As well, she finds it important to create during this time in order to document this point in history which leaves so many people behind.

Ganesh Thava

Ganesh is a Tamil-Canadian actor, writer and producer. With a degree in marketing, he leverages his business acumen to support his artistic career. Based in realism, he takes mundane everyday stories like family feuds or love affairs and shows them from underrepresented perspectives. As the first-generation son of immigrants, he has always been fascinated with how humanity copes with change and adversity. He especially enjoys exploring these experiences at the intersection of various identities, such as race, socio-economic status and sexuality. As a creator, his goal is always to create rich, exciting, challenging spaces for diverse voices to express their most profound, most complex truths. His first play, KOLI KARI, is currently being produced with the support of an OAC grant. His first feature film, MAN ABROAD, is being developed through a CCA grant. He is also working on his first TYA play, THE ACCOUNTANT. To learn more about his projects, visit

Marissa Trott

Marissa is an emerging theatre-maker based in Toronto. She graduated from Mount Allison University in 2020 with a BA in Dramatic Arts. Her main focus in school was on directing, acting, and scenic studies, and during that time she successfully captivated her audience with her first directing piece ‘California Suite: Visitors from Philadelphia’ (2017) written by Neil Simons,  before going on to direct ‘The End of ‘I” (2018) written by Diana Amsterdam as part of Mount Allison’s 2018-2019 theatre season. Her first written show debuted in 2020 called “Distance/ing” which was a part of Livebait Theatres Social Distancing Short Play Festival and Convergence Theatres COVID Commissions Project, “Assumptions” a part of Creatresses Amplified Series, and now she is currently working on her show “Interrogation Room” which deals with issues surrounding victim-blaming and the lack of resources pertaining to mental health on university campuses.

Eish Van Wieren

Eish is a queer genderfluid nonbinary transdisciplinary artist currently based in Toronto. They are a theatre practitioner, visual artist, mask maker, performer, musician, designer and educator who also works in film and TV. EISH believes that by mixing mediums, stories can be articulated and expressed more effectively for audiences. They attempt to create work that “splats” onto the stage, page, or screen and strive to situate their work in an anti-oppressive framework by unsettling their practice as a settler.  They are currently pursuing their MFA in performance creation at York University where they are working as an educator. Find them on instagram @splatbonfitz_productions. Select Credits Include: The Apartment Show Online (Thumbs Up Good Work), The Parasite (Buddies in Bad Times), Disparate Worlds at the End of the World (SplatBonFitz Productions), Toast Her (Femme Wave/Sage Theatre), ^_^Asimo‐_‐ (AvantGarde Cabaret), [Un]Heard Of (Avant‐Garde Cabaret), Tech‐No‐Logic (Rossland Arts Council).

Kiana Wu

Kiana is a Taiwanese-Canadian theatre maker born and raised in Mohkinstsis on Treaty 7 Territory. Most recent performing credits include It’s A Wonderful Life (Vertigo Theatre), The Wizard of Oz (Alberta Theatre Projects), Romeo & Juliet (Theatre Calgary) and more. She is a graduate of the Stella Adler Studio in New York, where she produced her first short play, Half Empty; Half Full at two different theatre festivals. Her playwright/producer pursuits continue with her new one act play, The Strid, premiering digitally in Spring 2021 with Downstage Theatre. Kiana currently works for Inside Out Theatre as Good Host Program Lead, sits as a Board Member for Swallow-A-Bicycle theatre, is a member of the Calgary chapter for The 3.7 Initiative, and is a co-contributor for The 35//50 Initiative. She is thrilled and grateful to be joining Makram and Tarragon in this capacity! More at

Meet our sponsors

Tarragon Theatre and our community partners believe in amplifying new voices, and fostering a creative community that reflects and includes artists of all ages and backgrounds.

Thank you to TD Canada Trust for supporting Tarragon’s Education Pillar.

Thank you the Metcalf Foundation for their support of our National Young Playwrights Unit.

Past Young Playwrights

Young Playwrights

Ajahnis Charley

Mariel Calvo

Kais Padamshi

Shyanne Duquette

Program Lead Facilitator: Makram Ayache
Assistant Dramaturge: Nathaniel Hanula-James

Play Overviews

The Fickle Light of Spring by Ajahnis Charley

The Fickle Light of Spring examines the hilarity and heartache that happens when Brandon and Z, two halves of a young, gay interracial couple, decide to come out to their traditional immigrant parents.

Director: Coko Galore
Z (Jia Zhong-Qin) – Minh Ly
Brandon Marks – Daniel Jelani Ellis
Mr. Jia – Richard Tse
Mrs. Jia – Carolyn Fe

How to Drink Mate by Mariel Calvo

How to Drink Mate delves into the traditional cultural practice of yerba mate and how you’re “supposed” to drink it. Part tutorial and part diary, we follow the matrilineal experiences, memories, and stories from one family journeying between Argentina and Canada

Director: Anita La Selva
Peli –Natasha Ramondino
Marta –Paulina Pino-Rubio
Tia Rosa – Augusto Bitter
Alma – Monica Garrido
Misc. Men – Augusto Bitter

Halal by Kais Padamshi

When even home and its people seem as foreign as himself, a young boy questions the role of faith against choice and self-determination. Set in modern-day Kenya, Halal weaves together the heart of family, faith, tradition, love and the will to stand in one’s truth. When challenged by both the world around him and his own kin, where not even faith seems to hold him close amongst all else, young boy questions’ How can one be forsaken for who he is, if all men are created in God’s image? What does this reveal about the creator? How can one claim that which has not claimed them?

Director: Mike Payette
Aboud – Isaac Cunningham
Hakim –Savion Roach
Baba – Paul Smith
Dadi – Ordena Stephens-Thompson

Omisimawiw by Shyanne Duquette

Omisimawiw is based on two strangers meeting on the Edmonton Metro line LRT. Finding out they are sisters this sparks questions in each sister around their identity, and relationship with indigeneity. Both sisters individually reckon with how indigenous identity is interwoven with others’ definitions and examines how youths forage for connections to their cultural identity after having been disconnected and discouraged from doing so.

Director: Dillan Meighan-Chiblow
Jackie, Auntie Jay – Theresa Cutknife
Marina, Chrissy – Cheyenne Scott
Voice-over, stage directions – Dillan Meighan-Chiblow

Young Playwrights

Jordan M Burns

Rose Goodwin

Jameela McNeil

Program Lead Facilitator: Makram Ayache

Play Overviews

A Pineberry’s Past by Jordan M. Burns

What would you do if half of you was drowning? Living in a perpetual fog, Mixed, half-white, and half-indigenous, attempts to share the story of their life over a home-cooked meal in their childhood kitchen. A place of joy, family, decay, and silence; Mixed is left gasping for a community of their own. Trying to navigate the present while negotiating the vicious memories of times gone by, Mixed finds themselves putting on a show one last time.”
Playwright: Jordan M. Burns
Director: Christopher Stanton
Mixed – Herbie Barns

Hermaphroditus by Rose Goodwin

Hermaphroditus is an exploration of queerness, belonging, and visibility. It takes the Greek gods and puts them into our world, focusing on the relationships between the gods and gender. This play is an intimate look at what transness looks in relation to one’s relationships, life’s work, and belonging in the world. Hermaphroditus is found by Charlico and finally finds their place on earth with other queers. As they find themselves, they recognize that trans folks are under attack, leaving the safety of earth to take their rightful seat on Olympus. Will the pantheon have room for another Goddex?
Playwright: Rose Goodwin
Director: Cole Alvis
Hermaphroditus – Avery-Jean Brenan
Charlico – Jacob MacInnis
Hera – Rachel Cairns
Zeus – Titus Androgynous

Orange Skies by Jameela McNeil

Samira is trying to move on. Engrossed in the frivolous tasks at her joyless housekeeping job, she distracts herself from a lost dream, her mother’s worsening condition, and the boy who stole her heart one hot summer night in 1957. When a new love comes knocking at her door she is plagued by memories of her first love and a night that changed her forever. As she relives the secret affair in her mind, she is confronted with a difficult decision. Rectify the past or continue to run from it?
Playwright: Jameela McNeil
Director: Natércia Napoleão
Samira – Hillary Warden
Maria – Sarah Nairne
River – Oscar Dirkx

Young Playwrights

Araceli Ferrara

JD Leslie

Thom Nyhuus

Magda Uculmana-Falcon

Instructors/Directors: Caitie Graham

Play Overviews

Boom! by Magda Uculmana-Falcon

A physical altercation in a classroom, between a teacher and a black, female student, goes viral. Friends of the student involved seek justice on her behalf, but then BOOM! Another incident at the school grabs the world’s attention, and thwarts their pursuit. BOOM! is a play about three black, teenage girls, trying to be heard in an institution that won’t listen.
Playwright: Magda Uculmana-Falcon
Director: Lisa Karen Cox
Cast: Meghan Aguirre, Rosina Ferede, Alyssa Pothier, and Brianna Wright

Sol by Araceli Ferrara

SOL follows the story of a woman trying to rebuild the past. Set in her memory, Sol revisits her fourteen-year-old self during the 1973 coup d’état in Chile, when political tensions threatened the fragile bonds of family. SOL is an exploration of memory and the things we do in order to survive.
Playwright: Araceli Ferrara
Director: Rosa Labordé
Cast: Katarina Fiallos, Kathy Martinez, Adriana Moraes-Mendoza, Walter Moraes-Mendoza, Xanath Fuentes Natanson, and Dre Rivas

You Better Second Line! by JD Leslie

Welcome to New Orleans! Where death is a celebration and crickets play jazz music to keep souls at rest. Brave and his cricket family welcome you with open arms to the graveyard as tonight is moon’s day; the one time of the month when souls can pass onto the other side. But what happens when a soul can’t be put to rest? What happens when you aren’t ready to move on? And what happens if there ain’t no moon? One thing’s for sure…you better second line!
Playwright: JD Leslie
Director: Audrey Dwyer
Cast: Meghan Aguirre, Walter Moraes-Mendoza, and Pablo Ogunlesi

Young Playwrights

Tony Tran

Meara Khanna

Charles Manzo

Instructors/Directors: Caitie Graham

Play Overviews

QUEENS by Tony Tran

Everyday gay Asian man, Ray, finds his dating habits challenged when he accidentally dates his first Asian. QUEENS is a queer comedy about the aspects of racial dating, cultural and sexual identity, and knowing when you’re enough.
Playwright: Tony Tran
Director: Gloria Mok
Cast: Christopher Cruz, Jonathan Dick, Pearl Ho and Warren Kang

Little Boxes by Meara Khanna

After finding an eviction notice on their door, Nina and Jenelle face losing their home and independence. Desperate measures are called for, even if it means breaking the law. Little Boxes is an exploration of friendship, entrepreneurship, and finding your worth in a world where the least is expected of you.
Playwright: Meara Khanna
Director: Eva Barrie
Cast: Alex Franks, JD Leslie and Cait MacMullin

Sunny Side Up by Charles Manzo

Sunny Side Up is a Canadian immigrant play about the intricate relationship between a Filipino father and his daughter. Set in Toronto, the play explores themes of familial sacrifice, hope in the face of societal barriers, and the passions we set aside to support our loved ones.
Playwright: Charles Manzo
Director: Byron Abalos
Cast: Christopher Cruz, Daniella Dela Peña, Sean Williams

Young Playwright's Unit 2017

Young Playwrights: Tyisha Murphy, Sarah Hilton, Ruby Urlocker (pictured above with Caitie Graham), Sara Durante & Jenn Boulay

Instructors/Directors: Caitie Graham, Paula Wing, Marcia Johnson, Esther Jun

Young Playwright’s Unit 2016

Young Playwrights: Sam Beland, Zavian Buchanan, Julie Phan

Instructors/Directors: Anne Wessels, Caitie Graham, Marcia Johnson, Andrea Donaldson, Paula Wing

Play Overviews

I Didn’t Even Know her Name by Zavian Buchanan
Directed by Marcia Johnson

Hope by Emily Phan
Directed by Andrea Donaldson

In The Heart of The Beholder by Sam Beland
Directed by Marcia Johnson

Young Playwright’s Unit 2015

Young Playwrights: Raluca Petria, Jonathan Martins, Nam Nguyen, Courtney Buxey-Hill, Chrstian Lischak
Supported by Tarragon Playwrights-in-Residence: Maria Milisavljevic, Jordan Tannahill, Anna Chatterton, David Yee
Instructors/Directors: Anne Wessels, Caitie Graham, Rashida Shaw, Marcia Johnson, Andrea Donaldson, Paula Wing

Young Playwright’s Unit 2014

Young Playwrights: Julie Zenderoudi, Theo Gallaro, and Erum Khan