Buzz

In-development at Theatre Passe Muraille

Collage of Buzz artist' headshots. The Buzz branding is a purple blue wash of the images against a bright red background. This visual effect is applied on all the individual headshots on this page.

The Buzz In-Development Series focuses on creating an artistic process that places the art and artist at the centre. We do this in various ways including: workshops, dramaturgy, public presentations as well as in ways which cannot yet be anticipated or defined. At TPM, we aspire to empower the artist throughout their development in methodologies that work for them.  

All works in the Buzz In-Development Series are being considered for future development and potential production at TPM. 

Buzz Artists are given access to one of our venues, dramaturgical support and in-kind services or funds as part of their development. TPM offers further commitment to artists-in-residence with more comprehensive monetary and administrative support and with longer timelines towards a production!

Coleen is fair and has straight dark hair that comes down to her shoulders.

Erased by Coleen Shirin MacPherson

Produced by OPEN HEART SURGERY THEATRE in association with Theatre Passe Muraille

Coleen Shirin MacPherson (she/her) is an international theatre artist, playwright and director based in Toronto. She trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris and founded Open Heart Surgery Theatre in 2014, an all-female physical theatre company that devises new work that is multidisciplinary, cross-cultural and experimental. Her work has toured to France, UK, Poland, Egypt and USA. This Is Why We Live, had its US premiere in NYC at La MaMa, part of the 58th season and recently created a film-play, Erased, as part of La MaMa’s Experiments Play-reading series. Coleen was part of Factory Theatre’s Director’s Program and Assistant Directed Trout Stanley by Claudia Dey (Dir. by Mumbi Tindeyebwa Otu). Coleen is currently part of the Bedrock Creators’ Initiative at Factory Theatre, developing a new play inspired by the city of Toronto and Glenn Gould and is Creator-in-Residence at Cahoots Theatre developing a new work based on her mixed-race heritage. She recently launched a podcast called Wild Women (a pilot) with Martha Ross (CBC/Canada Council) and will be developing five more episodes with the support of the Canada Council. She is honoured to be part of the Buzz development series. Coleen wishes she could fly.

Set within a claustrophobic room of a greeting card factory, four workers create ready-made sentiments for the masses. As each worker navigates their relationship to power, in a world run by an anonymous system, we begin to learn what exists past the four walls: people are being ‘disappeared’ and a resistance of women have been lost … Inspired by Francis Bacon’s screaming popes, Coleen MacPherson questions the themes of loneliness and complicity in the violence inflicted on others within our rapidly changing world. A dystopian parable that is poetic, violent, darkly humorous and imagistic: an awakening for us all to look deeply into ourselves and the state of our planet.

Erased, BUZZ development, is funded by the TAC and the OAC (Theatre Gargantua).

Funded by Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council (Theatre Gargantua)

Jenn is fair and has blond hair that is cut short and combed to the side. Here she is wearing a halter top with fun patterns, resting her chin on her hands.

Seven Pieces by Jenn Forgie

TPM Artist-in-Residence

Jenn is an interdisciplinary actor and writer and mindset mentor of Métis, French and Scottish ancestry. Her personal journey with fractured identity and the necessity for embodied connection to Self has fueled her passion to create her play, Seven Pieces, a story of hope and healing. Jenn deeply acknowledges the ongoing support of TPM inviting Jenn in as a BUZZ development artist and 2021/2022 Artist In Residence as well as the incredible mentorship of both Marjorie Chan and Jani Lauzon.

Seven Pieces is an interdisciplinary theatrical story exploring the fragmented relationship between Kate, a Métis woman, and her Body, as a result of childhood abuse. Through movement, vocals, breath, text and an elephant body, Kate’s Body drive this story’s themes of displacement from ones body as their “first land”, and the layers of loss of connection and belonging to identity. Who are we when we are taken from our own selves? And how do we find our way Home without a map to get us there? This is a story of hope as Kate and Body discover what is really “home”, through conflict, healing and eventual connection to our deepest roots in the blood and bones of our earthly and ancestral bodies.

Instagram @jennforgie | Facebook @jennforgie |  Twitter @JennForgie

Shakeil is a Black artist with short hair. He is wearing a dark short sleeved shirt and leaning forward, smiling at the camera.

Ok, You Can Stop Now by Shakeil Rollock

Presented with support from b current Performing arts

Shakeil Rollock (he/him) is a dancer, choreographer and instructor. Starting dance late at the age of seventeen, he graduated from the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Shakeil has developed his experience through working with artists such as Draico (Step Up Franchise), Hollywood Jade, Julie Pérron and Debra Brown (Cirque du Soleil), Esie Mensah and Lua Sheyenne. Most recently Shakeil has been working with Emilio Dosal (In the Heights) and Ebony Williams (Beyoncé) on a new Disney plus project.

When does a moment become a memory? When does a memory become history? In 2013, Ryerson’s Image Centre had an exhibit, Human Rights Human Wrongs, which portrayed the idea “whether images of political struggle, suffering and victims of violence work for or against humanitarian objectives”. The exhibit also allowed the viewers to take smaller copies of all the images for their own personal collection. I still remember the emotions evoked from experiencing these images. Four years later, and still having those images stored away, they became the basis for this work. Ok, You Can Stop Now, is my personal expression of how I see people experience being in certain positions of power (or lack thereof), and how we, as humans – as animals – react as a result.

Instagram | @Shakroll

Gloria, Aaron and Bessie pose together with their arms crossed, smiling at the camera. Gloria has large round glasses, wearing a hat front-side-back. Aaron has short hair and is wearing a wrinkled up shirt with rolled up sleeves. Beth is wearing a cap properly, wearing a neat black t-shirt

Woking Phoenix by Silk Bath Collective

TPM Collective-in-Residence

A Toronto-based theatre collective founded in 2015 by Bessie Cheng, Aaron Jan and Gloria Mok that focuses on telling stories rooted in the Chinese Canadian experience.

WOKING PHOENIX chronicles a public confrontation between three estranged siblings as they determine the fate of their deceased mother’s restaurant. Diving through a playlist of family memories, WOKING PHOENIX examines the evolution of small-town Chinese restaurants and the cost of intergenerational assimilation. The play will be a site specific, immersive experience, where audiences will act as a jury to determine the next chapter of the restaurant’s life.

Suvendrini is a South Asian woman with curly hair that extends below her shoulders. She has her arms crossed, wearing a silky shirt and smiling at the camera.

Rubble by Suvendrini Lena

TPM Playwright-in-Residence | Co-produced by Aluna Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille

Suvendrini Lena is a playwright and neurologist. Her debut play, The Enchanted Loom will be published by Playwrights’ Canada Press in English and Tamil (translated by Dushy Gnanapragasam). When not writing, Suvendrini is the Lead Medical Advisor, Pandemic Programs at Women’s College Hospital, as well as Assistant Professor, Neurology & Psychiatry, University of Toronto.  She is currently researching the effects of mercury poisoning on the population of Grassy Narrows First Nation. 

Gaza. A mother and her family receive a courtesy call. They are given 58 seconds to leave their home (as in Lena Khalaf Tuffaha’s poem of the same name). An explosion. Rubble.  The next fifteen or so scenes travel backwards through time, following the same family, in different times, with different details, through disparate moments prior to other bombardments of the same home. Each scene illuminates the struggles and hopes of everyday life under siege. 

Using theatre – a community created between actors and audience – and the the voice of Palestine’s national poet, Mahmoud Darwish (through translations by Fady Joudah, and Lena Khalaf Tuffaha), this work examines the relevance and role of poetry and art in the midst of war, and the responsibility of those of us who read and witness these words. 

Charlie is fair and has short dark hair, wearing a tasseled jacket and holding an instrument where we see he is wearing a lot of cool silver rings.

no one's special at the hot dog cart by Charlie Petch

Erroneous Productions

Charlie Petch (they/them, he/him) is a disabled/queer/transmasculine multidisciplinary artist. A poet, playwright, librettist, musician, lighting designer, and host, Petch was the 2017 Poet of Honour for SpeakNorth national festival, winner of the Golden Beret lifetime achievement in spoken word with The League of Canadian Poets, and founder of Hot Damn it’s a Queer Slam. In 2021, they are launching a book, a libretto and a multimedia show. Find out more at www.chariecpetch.com

Everything I needed to know about working as a first responder, I learned as a teenage hot dog vendor in downtown Toronto. Whether it was being a 911 operator, a hospital bed allocator or an emergency room clerk, I would rely on the de-escalation techniques gained by my time as a street worker. Using music, projection, and poetry, audiences will be guided through these often harrowing work stories. Part show, part de-escalation workshop, come ready to have a deeper appreciation for street communities, and your own potential to manage reaction.

www.charliecpetch.com | Instagram/Twitter|@sawpoet

Rinchen is an East Asian Tibetan woman with long hair that comes near her hips. She has her long hair draped onto the right, wearing a turtleneck shirt and gazing into the camera

སྒྲོལ་མ་ [DOLMA] & July 1st by རིན་ཆེན་སྒྲོལ་མ་ | Rinchen Dolma

རིན་ཆེན་སྒྲོལ་མ་|Rinchen Dolma (ཁོ་/མོ་/she/her) was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and is currently based in Tkarón:to. She is a community arts practitioner, performer, an emerging playwright, dramaturge and director. She is also the founder and Artistic Director of MADE IN EXILE, an arts-based initiative that engages young Tibetan creatives in exploring their complex identities through contemporary mediums of storytelling in exile. Rinchen developed སྒྲོལ་མ་ [DOLMA] at Aki Studios at part of the 2019 Paprika Festival’s Directors Lab. Most recently, Rinchen joined Factory Theatre’s Foundry 2021 program, a new work creation group facilitated by Nina Lee Aquino, where she has been developing a full-length play piece called “July 1st.” She is the recipient of the 2020 Metcalf Foundation Performing Arts Program in Artistic Direction under Marjorie Chan.

སྒྲོལ་མ་[DOLMA]

It’s October 31, 1984. Delhi, India. Dolma dreads her everyday commute and her coworkers as she travels to her dream job, being the first in her family to work in an office. Her life alone in the big city is proving to not be as glamorous as she imagined having come from a small refugee settlement in the south and she tries to keep to herself. On this hot fall day, Dolma decides to stand up for herself, the same day that PM Indira Gandhi is assassinated.

July 1st

Separated from his younger brother, Sonam meets Jigme, a peculiar boy in the registration line at the Tibetan refugee transit school in Mussoorie, India. The young boys represent generations of Tibetan refugee children who created a chosen family in exile.

Gabe and Merlin look at the camera on each side of the photo, no smile. Merlin is fair and has short buzzed hair, and Gabe has long locks that comes just below the shoulders.

Gender Euphoria Project by Merlin Simard & Gabe Maharjan

bigT Collective

Merlin Simard (she/they/iel/elle) is a performer, playwright, dramaturge, and filmmaker originally from Tiohtiá:ke (Montréal) now based in Tkarón:to (Toronto). Her practice focuses on themes of access, gender euphoria, technology, and multilingual performance. Merlin has several bilingual (Français/English) works in development with Theatre Passe Muraille, Nightwood, and MBAM amongst others. As a performer, they have worked with many companies including Stratford, Crow’s & Outside the March. They co-run bigT with Gabe Maharjan.

Gabe Maharjan (they/them) is performance creator based between Tio’tià:ke/Montréal and Tkarón:to/Toronto. They have worked across the country as a performer, playwright, director, dramaturge and producer. Their play, Eva in Rio, was shortlisted for the 2020 PGC Emerging Playwright Award. They co-created E-TRANSFERS, a virtual performance experience, with Merlin Simard at 2020 Buddies Emerging Creators Unit. This season, Gabe will both be performing on the Centaur stage and premiering a commissioned play with Geordie Theatre.

Gender Euphoria Project (Working Title) is an immersive performance piece that uses VR and 360 technology to create & facilitate tailored moments of gender euphoria. Would you forego exploration of your gender expression to maintain a sense of safety? Or would you bravely lean into the gender-nonconforming possibilities of expression in the virtual realm?

Leslie is an East Asian woman with long black hair, leaning on a surface with her hands covering her forehead, smiling at the camera. She is wearing a comfortable white blouse

What brings you in by Leslie Ting

Leslie Ting Productions

With performances described as “fire without smoke” (Strad) and “breathtaking” (Onstage), violinist and interdisciplinary artist Leslie Ting (she/her) has been creating immersive, music-driven performances since 2013 with her definitive work, Speculation. Nominated for the 2021 Pauline McGibbon Award for Emerging Theatre Director, Leslie’s work combines her specialized background as a classical musician and former practicing optometrist. She is dedicated to pushing boundaries in classical music and bridging demographics with the belief that live art can foster the empathy to spark social change.

I have that feeling again – it’s time to talk to someone. I know it, after 15 years of going to talk therapy on and off. But instead, I do 40 interviews with people who have and haven’t gone to therapy. What do other people do with the “feeling”? In this 6-part, installation-performance – with two newly commissioned electro-acoustic pieces for violin & electronics by Rose Bolton and Julia Mermelstein, live video projections, multi-channel surround sound, and a sandbox – we invite you, the audience, to explore where our roads end and our edges meet. We want to know – what brings you in?

Donna Michelle and Tamyka are Black women with glasses. DonnaMichelle has short hair that has been gelled up and wearing a chocker with a dark hoodie. Tamyka is wearing a bright shirt and has a flower ornament on her hair.

In Defence of the Serpent by Tamyka Bullen & DM St. Bernard with Courage Bacchus

TPM Artists-in-Residence

Tamyka Bullen has been involved in social services for women, immigrants, youths, and the LGBTQA community for many years. In 2015 she became involved in the theatrical world as an ASL poetry performer. In 2018, she debuted as an actress for the Sound Off Festival production Deaf That! and Judith Thompson’s play After the Blackout. She teaches ASL lessons and if you are interested to learn another language, please contact her at starrygirl45@gmail.com. She loves to craft and mingle stories, arts, poems, acting, and dance on stage, and to voice her feelings and thoughts through her hands, body language, and facial expressions. Her motto: Embrace Yourself, Show Yourself!
I am Natasha Cecily Bacchus. I am an athlete and performing artist, passionate about deaf advocacy, fitness and physical expression. As an actress, I have participated in numerous theatre and film productions and have a strong desire to continue to grow and develop as a performing artist, expanding representation to include differently-abled persons and empowering Black Deaf women in Canada to shine on and off the stage.
 
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard aka Belladonna the Blest is a playwright, emcee and agitator. She is emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, associate artist at lemonTree Creations, creator of the 54ology, artistic director of New Harlem Productions, coordinator of the AD HOC Assembly, and of Nightwood Theatre’s play development program: Write From the Hip.

Our play invites people to know our journeys as Black Queer women in this White male-dominating hearing society and how this society shapes our lives. Hardships we have; how they impact our qualities of lives and how we get pass these obstacles and have our places in this oppressive society. Serpent is a metaphor as our defence and our medication. The serpent sees through deceits and share it with us and suck our pains for healing with the snake oil.

Since 1968, Theatre Passe Muraille has created over 700 new Canadian plays. Supporting works in development is at the heart of our operations.

Make sure to follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletters to stay updated on our work! Sometimes we share snippets of the Buzz progress and open workshops for the public to witness the process. In all our newsletters we also include community updates with job opportunities, call for artists and much more.

Donna-Michelle St Bernard Photo Credit: Graham Isador | Suvendrini Lena Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz | Leslie Ting Photo Credit: Galit Rodan | Shakeil Rollock Photo Credit: Grant Landry | Rinchen Dolma Photo Credit: Emily Jung | Merlin Simard Photo Credit: Mark Binks |  Jenn Forgie Photo Credit: Kristine Cofsky |  Coleen MacPherson Photo Credit: David Yiu

Brand and Concept Design by: Louis Duarte