Two at a time, audience members engage each other in a five-minute conversation in the booth. The act of having the conversation with an unseen partner provides an anonymity that adds to the intimacy of the performance, encouraging participants to be the actor in their own theatrical experience. Red Phone is a one-of-a-kind performance that has been described as the theatrical equivalent to singing in the shower.
Free of charge, anyone can walk up and into the booths with a friend or family member and spend 5 minutes engaging in some of the most urgent, touching, thought provoking conversations written by some of Canada’s most exciting writers.
Red Phone is available for tour! It was the first theatre production to tour Canada since the beginning of the pandemic, albeit remotely. In the fall of 2020, the project toured to:
Red Phone has also toured to Victoria, Kelowna, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto adding writers to our catalogue of scripts at each theatre and festival we visit.
Writers & Translators
Alice Abracen is a graduate of Harvard University and the National Theatre School of Canada’s Playwriting Program. Her play Omission was featured in the Centennial Season of Alumnae Theatre in Toronto and her play The Covenant won the 2017 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition.What Rough Beast & The Tour, developed at the National Theatre School, received their US premieres with Underlings Theatre, Boston. Her work has been featured with the Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club, the Montreal Fringe, the New Words Festival of NTS, and two Women Playwrights International Conferences (Cape Town & Santiago). Alice is one of the founders of Theatre Ouest End in Montreal. What Rough Beast was featured in Centaur Theatre’s Legacy Series, and her libretto The Chair, co-written with composer Maria Atallah, was a winner of the inaugural Mecenat Musica Prix Trois Femmes. She was a member of the Infinitheatre Playwright’s Unit 2019-2020. Her play What Rough Beast was selected as Centaur Theatre’s Brave New Looks 2020. She is thrilled and honoured to participate in the Red Phone Project.
Sharon Bala’s bestselling debut novel, The Boat People, won the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. It was a finalist for Canada Reads 2018, the 2018 Amazon Canada First Novel Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, and was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. The Boat People is on sale worldwide with translations on the shelves or forthcoming in French, German, Arabic, and Turkish. In 2017 Sharon won the Writers’ Trust/ McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for her short story “Butter Tea at Starbucks” and had a second story on the long-list. She is a member of The Port Authority, a St. John’s writing group. Visit her online at sharonbala.com.
Keith Barker is an Algonquin Métis artist from Northwestern Ontario and the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts. He is a recipient of a SAT Award for Excellence in Playwriting, and a Yukon Arts Audience Award for Best Art for Social Change. His play This is How We Got Here was a 2018 Finalist for the Governor General Award for Drama.
Leanna Brodie is an actor, playwright, and translator whose work has been performed from Halifax to Vancouver, from London to Auckland. Her plays The Vic, For Home and Country, The Book of Esther, and Schoolhouse are published by Talonbooks. She is a noted translator of Québécois playwrights: the 2019-2020 season alone saw productions in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, and Chicago, as well as five scheduled English-language premieres: David Paquet’s 2019 Jessie Award-winning The Shoe (The Cherry Artspace, Ithaca, NY) and Wildfire (Upstream Theater, St. Louis, MO) as well as Annie Broccoli’s Stella and the Time Machine Journey (Lune Rouge, Arlington TX) took place, while Joe Jack et John’s Violette (Espace Libre, Montréal, QC) and Sébastien Harrisson’s From Alaska (Ruby Slippers/Gateway Theatre, Vancouver, BC) were both cancelled due to Covid. Ulla’s Odyssey, her award-winning opera with Anthony Young, recently toured the UK with OperaUpClose. Brodie is an Artistic Associate at Ruby Slippers Theatre and an Associate of Playwrights Theatre Centre where she is co-writing Salesman in China with Jovanni Sy. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Calgary. www.leannabrodie.com
Bridget Canning writes fiction. Her debut novel, The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes, was selected as a finalist for the 2017 BMO Winterset Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, the NL Fiction Award, was long listed for the Dublin International Literary Award and has been optioned for film. Her second novel, Some People’s Children, was published with Breakwater Books in the spring of 2020. She is the recipient of the 2018 ArtsNL Emerging Artist Award.
Bridget holds an MA in Creative Writing from Memorial University and a Masters in Literacy Education from Mount Saint Vincent University. She balances her writing career with teaching Communications at the College of the North Atlantic.
She was raised on a sheep farm in Highlands, Newfoundland and currently lives in St. John’s. www.bridgetcanning.com
Ginny Collins is a Winnipeg-based playwright who has worked with both English and French theatres. Most recently, Ginny’s play The Flats was produced by Prairie Theatre Exchange, was translated into French (Les Flats), and produced at Théâtre Cercle Molière. Ginny’s plays The Good Daughter, Terroristas and The Propeller Moment have been published by Scirocco Drama in anthologies.
Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of eleven books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer, and is an audience favourite at storytelling, writer’s, film, poetry, and folk music festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam. Ivan often grapples with the complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity in their work.
The Artistic Producer of Boca del Lupo, Jay Dodge has won several Jesse Richardson Theatre Awards including seven nominations for the Critic’s Choice Award for Innovation. His artistry is one of innovation and daring, demonstrated in his one-man show about conflict photography featuring interactive video, stunt rigging and verbatim text, Photog. Jay’s playwriting is characterized by a balance compelling content with dynamic forms. Other examples include Red Phone, an iterative project that dramatically shifts the relationship of the audience to the playwright through the technology of a telephone and video prompter; large scale, site specific works such a Vasily the Luckless co-written with James Fagan Tait which engaged the geography of the performance’s journey as a central collaborator in the dramaturgy and design; and My Dad, My Dog which leveraged the world of Jay White’s animation in taking the audience on a journey to the most sequestered kingdom on earth, North Korea. Currently serving on the national board of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), Jay is also a co-founder of PL1422 and has special interest in creative space making. He has consulted with several local BC companies including the Playwrights Theatre Centre and Gateway Theatre for their strategic and facility planning.
Sherry J. Yoon, Artistic Director of Boca del Lupo, is a theatre creator and director with a passion for creating new performances through collaborative pursuits. With Boca del Lupo, Sherry has co-created more than 35 productions, including: Fall Away Home, an intergenerational site-specific production in the forest of Stanley Park; Photog, a large-scale show that toured across Canada and was created with interviews from prominent conflict photographers; and You Are It, as part of the Silver commissions from the Arts Club Theatre that investigates the complex dynamics between female friendships. During Sherry’s tenure, the company has received numerous awards, including the Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, and Jessie Awards for Outstanding Production, Design, Actor, Ensemble, as well as the Critic’s Choice Innovation Award. Her productions have toured festivals and venues across Canada, Europe and Mexico. She co-created an online exhibition of Expedition, an iterative collaboration between Boca del Lupo and the Performance Corporation, and working on Net Zero, an interactive theatre installation about climate change that involves the audience charging a battery with a stationary bicycle. She is also a freelance director who has worked at the Richmond Gateway Theatre, Bard on the Beach, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa Canada.
Susanna Fournier is an award-winning Canadian theatre-maker, actor, and educator. Her main crush is constructing new texts for live performance and visioning interdisciplinary productions. Her work is rowdy, joyous, and sometimes “impossible” – especially lately since her latest project, Always Still the Dawn, a double bill of new plays set to premiere at Canadian Stage in Toronto, was one of the many projects rendered “impossible” by the COVID 19 pandemic. That’s ok though, for her, art is anything but easy and certainly never predictable. In 2018/19, her company, PARADIGM productions, launched her critically acclaimed trilogy, The Empire, across three different Toronto venues and as a podcast series you can listen to at www.empiretrilogy.com. She’s a graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada and Generator’s Artist Producer Training Program. She’s on faculty at both Randolph College for the Performing Arts and Armstrong Acting Studios where she teaches empowered, mindful, and playful approaches to performance. In writing she explores the space between who we are, who we have been, and who we want to become. Her work is trauma-informed, heart and spirit forward because she thinks tenderness can change our world and wonders if you do too. www.susannafournier.com
Shauntay Grant is a writer and storyteller who lives and works in K’jipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia). She’s been Writer-In-Residence at 2b theatre company, and her stage play The Bridge premiered on Neptune Theatre’s mainstage in 2019 – a co-production between 2b and Neptune in association with Obsidian Theatre. The Bridge received 11 Robert Merritt Award Nominations, winning four including the award for Outstanding New Play. The book version of the play will be published in 2021 by Playwrights Canada Press.
Shauntay’s theatre works have been commissioned by Eastern Front Theatre and Obsidian Theatre, and presented by 2b theatre, b current, Black Theatre Workshop, Boca del Lupo, Eastern Front Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Onelight Theatre, and Neptune Theatre. Her poems have been published in several anthologies and literary journals including the Fieldstone Review and Contemporary Verse 2: The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing. An award-winning author of children’s literature, her most recent picture book Africville with illustrator Eva Campbell won the 2019 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards, and the Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award.
Shauntay holds professional degrees and training in creative writing, music, and theatre, and as a former Halifax Poet Laureate she organized Canada’s first national gathering of Canadian Poets Laureate. She is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, and she teaches creative writing at Dalhousie University. shauntaygrant.com
Ryan Griffith is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada (2007). His play Fortune Of Wolves was recently published by Playwrights Canada Press. His short play Shepody, Rage and Wolfe was featured as part of the National Elevator Project Plays produced by Theatre Yes in Edmonton and Halifax, and his original plays Returning Fire and A Brief History of the Maritimes and Everywhere Else, as well as his adaptation of Alistair MacLeod’s The Boat have recently been produced by Theatre New Brunswick. He has served as a board member for both PARC (Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre) as well as the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Currently, Ryan is the Artistic Director for the Next Folding Theatre Company in Fredericton.
Hines is an award-winning playwright, performer and director in theatre, television and film, and a National Magazine Award-winning writer. She is a recent finalist for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, and a two-time finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for The Pochsy Plays and Drama: Pilot Episode. Hines appeared as “Karen” for three seasons on CBC’s Emmy Award-winning Newsroom, and in many “awkward assistant” roles in Toronto-for-New York movies. Her short films featuring the character Pochsy have been presented internationally, as have the live performances, and her solo Crawlspace (recently presented by Boca del Lupo) has toured widely (Crawlspace is now a CBC PlayMe Podcast). Hines’s latest dark comedy All the Little Animals I Have Eaten was cancelled before its 2020 Toronto opening due to COVID-19, but morphed during lockdown, and will premiere in a French translation at Montreal’s Jamais Lu Festival this May. Along with a few current Boca projects, Karen is now writing the fourth in the Pochsy series, Pochsy IV: My Heart Breaks For You.
Hiro Kanagawa is a well-known and well-regarded character actor with a diverse and extensive resume. Also an accomplished playwright and screenwriter, he is the recipient of the 2017 Governor General’s Literary for Drama for his play Indian Arm.
Hiro’s distinct talents were cultivated over a lifetime of wide-ranging experiences in a variety of locales. Born in Sapporo, Japan, he grew up in Guelph, Ontario and Sterling Heights, Michigan before returning to Japan for high school. Showing an early talent in a variety of arts, he went on to study at a series of prestigious East Coast schools: Middlebury College, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. He trained in classical guitar, sculpture, performance art, and theatre along the way, honing his skills as both a creator and performer.
Hiro moved to Vancouver in 1990, attracted by the burgeoning film and television production in the city. Since then he has become a mainstay of the industry with close to 170 credits in projects ranging from blockbuster features to indie films and hit series to cult favorites.
Other recent credits include guest starring spots on The CW’s DC Legends of Tomorrow and CBS’s Salvation. As a writer, his environmental poem Gaia has performed around the world as part of Climate Change Theatre Action 2017. Hiro makes his home in Port Moody, BC with his wife and two children.
Shawn is an actor and playwright. His plays have been produced at the Arts Club, Touchstone Theatre, and Pacific Theatre. He has won two Jessie Awards for playwriting for World’s Greatest Guy and Prodigal Son. Shawn has been the Program Leader for the LEAP Playwriting Intensive for Young Writers at the Arts Club for over 10 years. He loves to write plays and to be part of the development process with fellow playwrights.
Janet Munsil is a Victoria-based playwright and the author of more than a dozen plays produced internationally, including Ugly Duchess, Be Still, Circus Fire, Influence, I Have Seen Beautiful Jim Key, and That Elusive Spark. She completed her MFA in Writing at the University of Victoria. She is also a theatre director. She acknowledges her debt to, and respect for, the Duwamish, Nuu-chah-nulth, Hupačasath, Esquimalt, Songhees, Stoney, Sylix, and Nez Perce peoples, upon whose land she has lived.
Omari Newton is an award-winning professional actor, writer, director and producer. As a writer, his original Hip Hop theatre piece Sal Capone has received critical acclaim and multiple productions, including a recent presentation at Canada’s National Arts Centre. He was commissioned by Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) in Montreal to write a companion piece to Sal Capone entitled Black & Blue Matters, which premiered at BTW in 2019. Omari and his wife, fellow professional playwright Amy Lee Lavoie, recently received a generous grant from the Canada Council to co-write a new play: Redbone Coonhound. Their latest collaboration is a bold and innovative satirical comedy that confronts instances of systemic racism in the past, present and future. Newton’s work in Speakeasy Theatre’s production of Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment earned him a 2017-2018 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor, as well as a nomination for Best Direction. Notable film & TV credits include: Lucas Ingram on Showcase’s Continuum, Larry Summers on Blue Mountain State and lending his voice to the Black Panther in multiple animated projects (Marvel). Most recently, Omari has a recurring role as Nate on Corner Gas (the animated series) and a recurring role as Corvus of Netflix’s hit new animated series The Dragon Prince.
Yvette has written plays (The Unplugging, The Birds, Annie Mae’s Movement), libretti (Shanawdithit, Sophia), plays for film (Katharsis), plays for audio (Flag, You Can’t Get There From Here, Lache Pas La Patate), and a whack of short pieces for Sum Theatre’s Last Sunday, Short Cuts Festival, and Boca del Lupo. Boca pieces include Expedition, Red Phone, and The Fifth Setting (Plays2Perform@Home, Prairie Box). She is also a director and a dramaturg. She is also currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy at Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.
Ellen Peterson is a playwright, dramaturg, actor, and teacher. She is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg. Ellen’s plays The Brink and The Eight Tiny Reindeer of the Apocalypse premiered at Prairie Theatre Exchange (2013) and Theatre Projects Manitoba (2012) respectively. Other plays include Branta Canadensis, Learning to Drive, and The Blanket Show, and The Goose. Her adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility premiered at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in October 2018.
Sharon Thesen is a poet, editor, and writer. She received her MA degree from Simon Fraser University, taught English and Creative Writing at Capilano College, and was a professor of Creative Writing at UBC Okanagan. She is the author of nine books of poetry, the most recent two Oyama Pink Shale and The Receiver.
Metis/Ojibway playwright and author Ian Ross was born in McCreary, Manitoba in 1968 and currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Theatre. Ian Ross has written for theatre, film, television and radio. Ross’s play “Heart of a Distant Tribe” was published in the Manitoba anthology A Map of the Senses: 20 Years of Manitoba Plays, edited by Rory Runnells (Scirocco). His play fareWel, which garnered him the 1997 Governor General Award for Drama, is a dark comedy about Native life on the fictional Partridge Crop Reserve.
Marcus’ fifteen or so plays include King Arthur’s Night, Winners and Losers, Jabber, Ali and Ali and the aXes of Evil, Adrift and A Line in the Sand. They have been produced in 20 countries across North America, Europe and Asia. Marcus is the recipient of the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre, the Chalmer’s Canadian Play Award and the Rio-Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, among others. He is currently Senior Artist at Neworld Theatre, International Artistic Associate at Farnham Maltings in the UK, an artistic advisor to the National Arts Centre English Theatre and playwright in residence at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.
Bruce Gibbons Fell (Toronto) is a Chilean award-winning playwright and translator. His plays and translations have been presented in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Cuba, the US, and the UK. His theatre company, SO MUCH DRAMA, showcased his work in Toronto and developed his play The Communist Manifesto for Children at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Bruce is currently Director of New Play Development at Interdram (Santiago, Chile).
Mishka Lavigne is a playwright and literary translator based in Ottawa/Gatineau. Her plays have been produced and developed in Canada, Switzerland, France, Germany and the United States. Her play Havre was recently awarded the Governor General’s Literary Prize for Drama (French). Her most recent play Copeaux, a movement-based poetic creation piece with director Éric Perron premiered in Ottawa in March 2020. She is currently working on her new play Shorelines, slated for production in 2021, on a bilingual opera libretto with Montreal composer Tim Brady, and is developing a scripted comedy series as part of the CBC’s Creative Relief Fund. Mishka is a National New Play Network (USA) alumni playwright as well as a member of the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada and the Centre des auteurs dramatiques.