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Saturday, November 4, 2017


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Is this award for you?

You are an emerging playwright between the ages of 21 and 30 who has taken the first steps towards a professional career,

--Through performances of your plays in university/college or community theatres,

--Through membership in young playwrights’ units,

--Through a program of study and training at NTS, University or College, OR

--Through other relevant experience


You have an exciting idea that will engage an audience of your peers in their twenties.

The Awards

The Award Stage One: February 2018
3 young writers will be chosen on the basis of merit and a strong proposal for a play which will appeal to an audience of peers. Each will be awarded $2,000 and begin an association with Tarragon, Hart House Theatres and the Blyth Festival.  5 additional awards of $500 will be made to encourage other promising writers.

Stage Two: August 2018
Workshop presentations of sample scenes by the three semi-finalists devised over the past 8 months will lead to a jury of theatre professionals choosing one Ellen Ross Stuart award grand prize winner.
The winner will receive $7,500 plus $2,500 seed money towards a final presentation at the Tarragon Studio in May 2019.

The winner will continue their association with Hart House and Tarragon theatres and the Blyth Festival according to the winner’s needs.

         2017  APPLICATION:

This entire application must be completed and everything, including a scanned copy of your letter of reference, should be submitted online to: openingdoorsaward@gmail.com

NAME:    ____________________________________________________

ADDRESS:   _________________________________________________


CONTACT INFORMATION:   ____________________________________________________________

REFEREE:                _____________________________________________________

This can be written in any appropriate format or combination of formats but try and keep it to no more than the equivalent of a three-four minute oral presentation.

Remember to address the three “D” in compelling ways:

DEFINE IT:  A succinct statement of your idea for a play that will appeal to an audience of your peers.

DESCRIBE IT: How would you proceed to develop your idea?  How would you use design or video or music or light? What kind of performing space?  What effect do you want?

DEFEND IT: How will your idea grab the attention of your generation?  Why is it important?  Can it “work”?  Is it possible?  Or does that even matter at this stage? Why are you the one to develop this idea?


Choose one of the following two quotes and write a scene inspired by or using the speech or stage direction.  Limit yourself to 2-3 pages.

OPTION ONE: From “Forty-Two Steps” by Ellen Ross Stuart

Have you ever run?  It’s lonely, isn’t it?  Nobody ever keeps up.  No one ever understands.  “Don’t run from your problems,” they say, “the past won’t go away just ‘cause you did!”  I’ve heard that so many times.  And I still ran.  And I still disagree… mostly.  The past can’t go away, but it does go underground… out of sight… and out of sight is out of mind, whatever goddamn heart claims otherwise is out of line.  Gone means forgotten.  And I got gone enough to forget it all, except the parts I couldn’t.  But that’s not the point of this story.  The point is, I want to tell you, run away!  No matter who tells you not to, running away is the only true freedom you’ll ever know.  And besides, if you don’t run then how can you know who’ll follow?  And if you don’t know what’s chasing you, what do you know?              

OPTION TWO: From “The Silencer” by Ellen Ross Stuart
In the dark we hear slightly blurry TV noises.  It is a western, or maybe a gangster movie.   Shouting and gun shots.  Lights come up on a white room, with an old fashioned box television set on the SR side of the stage.   This is the only piece of furniture in the room.  There is a doorframe, but no door, on the upstage wall.  The room seems narrow, whether it is or not.   There is a man, not too young and not too old, leaning against the back wall watching the television at full volume.  He has not been in this room for a long time.   Serena steps into the room.  She looks shaken even before she sees the man.  She sees him.   She feels everything there is to feel, and almost speaks, but there is nothing to say.  The man, her father, wishes he hadn't come.  Serena leans back against the same wall about a meter away, and slides to the floor, where she sits with her head back and her knees close to her chest.    They wait. Serena stands up, walks towards the TV and turns the volume all the way down.  Turns and faces David for the first time.

David:  Hi.  (Silence. Looks around.  He'd forgotten) You have no furniture.