Playwrights & Creators


Formerly the OAC’s Theatre Creators’ Reserve Grants! 

Deadline – December 18th, 2017 – 5pm

Download Application Form

Program Objective:

  • To assist theatre creators to create new work

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Eligible applicants for Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators funding are Ontario-based individual professional artists and collectives; formal organizations are not eligible for funding.
  • Artist must have been a resident in Ontario for at least a year before the application is made and have lived in Ontario for at least eight months a year. Artists who live in Ontario may leave the province for up to one year and continue to be eligible for Ontario Arts Council’s (OAC) support if the absences are temporary (i.e. for an educational or artistic opportunity) and they do not also apply for support from the jurisdiction of their temporary residence.
  • The OAC defines a professional artist as someone who has developed skills through training and/or practice, and is recognized as such by artists working in the same artistic tradition, and has a history of public presentation or publication, and seeks payment for their work and actively practices their art. Short breaks in artistic history are allowed.

Program Guidelines:

  • All applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for the Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators Program.
  • Proposals should be made directly to Odyssey Theatre, and not to the OAC.
  • Funds may not be used to underwrite production expenses.
  • Applicants may not be employees or board members of Odyssey Theatre.
  • Applicants can receive more than one grant from this program in any one-year.
  • The recommendation does not oblige Odyssey Theatre to produce the applicant’s work, nor is the applicant obliged to produce the work with Odyssey Theatre.
  • All recommendations are subject to OAC approval.
  • The confidentiality of the applicants, their applications and support materials will be kept.
  • Copyright of the applicants will be protected.

Selection Criteria:

Priority will be given to projects that meet as many of the following criteria as possible. We invite applications for projects that:

  1. incorporate a discipline related to masked theatre: including physical theatre, Commedia, buffoon, clown, puppetry, dance-drama;
  2. incorporate theatre forms from diverse cultural traditions;
  3. involve artists who have established skills in the above areas;
  4. are innovative.

Applicants Support Material Requested:

  1. Cover letter explaining how the project meets Odyssey’s criteria;
  2. A description of the envisioned play or performance piece (max. 3 pages) including:
    • Artistic aims or theme explored;
    • Brief synopsis of the content or storyline as currently envisioned;
    • Description of the theatrical style (i.e. is it mask, physical theatre, clown, etc.) of the final project;
    • Plans for future production – when and where it will or you hope it might be performed, what phases of work it will likely go through along the way (workshops / readings / rewrites)
  3. Description of the phase of work you are applying for funding for (max. 2 pages) to include:
    • Work to be undertaken (i.e. – writing an outline, a first draft, or a rewrite; or for holding a creation workshop);
    • Goal for this phase of work;
    • Budget for this phase of work – If your budget is more than you are requesting from us, please indicate where you hope to find the rest of the money. Please note that only the fees for creators are eligible for support from the Recommender Grant For Theatre Creators;
    • Timetable for this phase of work;
    • For collaborative creators only: please describe your process of working.
  4. Résumés of principal creators;
  5. Support material of your choice which may include letters of reference, reviews etc.

Amounts Awarded:First time applicants are advised to apply for $1,000 for a specific phase of work. Larger amounts may be awarded for repeat applicants, depending on the scope of the proposed work.

Dramaturgical Support from Odyssey: Odyssey will endeavor to provide dramaturgical support to successful applicants free of charge if they request it, although it is not in any way required. If you wish this support, please include a note to that effect in your covering letter.

Final Report: Successful applicants must submit a 1 page final report upon completion of the phase of work for which they had applied for funding, stating what they used the money for, the dates work was undertaken and what they achieved.

Writers / Collaborative Creators: we accept applications from both.


Assessment will be undertaken Odyssey’s artistic leadership team. Factors involved in making the decision will include:

  1. caliber of the project description;
  2. qualifications of applicants;
  3. whether the project meets our funding priorities.

Please send your applications to:

Recommender Grant For Theatre Creators, Odyssey Theatre, 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6E2




Odyssey creates original plays and takes them onto the stage. We nurture writers for our art form. Our program, unique in Canada, provides writers with skills in movement-based theatre forms and creators with structured approaches to new play development. Our program has led to groundbreaking productions. We have taken 19 new plays or original translations/adaptations into full production, held public workshop performances of nine additional works, and supported more than 30 creators, including independent artists and those pursuing projects for Odyssey.
Odyssey provides a supportive environment for writers and offers the public opportunities to participate in the process through:

  • Classes in writing for masks, Commedia, physical theatre, and clown
  • Dramaturgy: dramaturges have included Steven Bush, Brian Quirt, and Laurie Steven
  • Writer-in-Residence position
  • Workshops for new plays
  • Public work-in-progress performances
  • In the Works: a new play festival of staged readings
  • Canterbury Residency – connecting professional playwrights with young artists

Creators supported include: Balwant Bhaneja, Jesse Buck, Linda Carson, Dean Gilmour, Janet Irwin, Kathy MacLellan, Andy Massingham, Joanne Miller, Kevin Orr, Robin Patterson, Chetan Rajani, Maristella Roca, Kim Selody, Alix Sideris, Lib Spry, Laurie Steven, and Liangtee Tue.

Company Dramaturge Janet Irwin:
Ottawa’s distinguished playwright, dramaturge and director leads Odyssey’s New Play Creation Program. She provides writers with dramaturgical and training support and directs workshops of scripts under development.

Janet is a 35-year theatre veteran who has written plays for the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC), Upper Canada Playhouse, Caravan Stage and the National Arts Centre (NAC). As a director she has worked with companies including the NAC, the GCTC, Easy Street Productions, Upper Canada Playhouse, Opera Lyra Ottawa, the Manitoba Popular Theatre Alliance, Third Wall Theatre, and CanPlay Productions. She is the former Dramaturge for NAC/GCTC’s Playwright Unit and former President of Theatre Ontario. For Odyssey, Janet directed The Barber of Seville and wrote They All Do It, which Odyssey premiered in the summer of 2010.



Playwrights who have a completed script they wish to be considered for Odyssey’s Theatre Under the Stars production may submit a two-page summary and a cover letter explaining how the play relates to our style of work and venue. See New Play Creation.

Playwrights or creators with a proposal for a play for Odyssey who would like to participate in our New Play Creation Program can submit a 5-page treatment by August 1, 2017.