The Paprika Playwriting Program focuses on the process of developing a script for the stage. We ask that playwrights bring us a project they are passionate about, whether it is a clearly outlined idea for a play, a full length draft ready to be workshopped, or anything in between. Paprika accepts playwrights at all stages, from beginner to already-produced! This program has a suggested age limit of 21.

Playwrights have a lot input in how they want to develop their work, with what kind of mentor they would like to connect, and what their final product for the Festival presentation will be (a full-length draft, a one-act play, a completed first act, etc). Many young playwrights have gone on to have their scripts staged as full productions at Paprika and beyond as a result of the development support they received in this program.

For the second year as a Community Partner, Cahoots Theatre, with a culturally-inclusive mandate, will be supporting our Playwrights’ programs. They will be opening up select Hot House sessions to our playwrights in residence. Playwright sessions will take place in the Cahoots Creation Studio in Corktown.

The 2017/18 Writers’ Circle Facilitator is Jeff Ho. Click here to learn more about Jeff

JEFF HO is a Toronto-based performer, playwright, and arts educator from Hong Kong. As an actor, he most recently played Ophelia in Why Not Theatre’s Dora-Nominated Prince Hamlet. Select credits include: Hana’s Suitcase (Tour: Toronto/Montreal/Seattle/YPT – 2015 Dora Nomination – Outstanding Performance, Ensemble), Unknown Soldier(lemontree/Architect Theatre – 2014 SummerWorks Honourable Mention: Spotlight Award for Performance), Murderers Confess at Christmastime (OutsidetheMarch – 2013 SummerWorks/Theatre Centre Emerging Artist Award), Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet (Repercussion Theatre), Incorporated (SyFy/CBS), Orphan Black (BBC America).As a playwright, Jeff will be debuting his first piece, trace, at Factory theatre in association with b current theatre, to be directed by Nina Lee Aquino in Fall 2017. He is also working on a modern adaptation of Antigone for Young Peoples’ Theatre, as well as a commission from Repercussion Theatre for whisper. Recently, Jeff was a member of the Stratford Playwright’s Retreat 2016, the Playwright in Residence with Nightswimming Theatre 2016-2017, and was a member of the Cahoots Hot House Writers Unit. Jeff has been in residence at Factory Theatre 2015-2016, the Banff Playwrights Colony 2015, Factory Theatre’s Natural Resources Creation Group 2014-2015. Winning a 2017 Harold Award for his contributions to mentorship and community in the theatre, Jeff works as a passionate arts educator intent on nurturing theatrical voices from diverse perspectives, Jeff has worked for the Paprika Festival as the Writer’s Circle Facilitator, and as an Associate Producer of the Intersection: a conference for emerging artists. He is a Resident Artist Educator with Young People’s Theatre. He was the Apprentice Artistic Director with Nina Lee Aquino at Factory Theatre 2016-2017. Jeff is a graduate of the National Theatre School.

We have two streams of Playwright development (the application is the same for both):

- Playwrights in Residence: working individually with a professional mentor (up to 10 hours) for feedback and guidance

- Writer’s Circle: joining a circle of fellow playwrights lead by a shared mentor for regular meetings and peer-to-peer learning

We support playwrights by:

- Tailoring the program and mentorship to suit the individual needs and goals of the participants.

- Providing a public reading of each playwright’s work in the 17th Paprika Festival by professional actors.

Recent playwriting mentors include:

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, Lisa Codrington, Briana Brown, Judith Thompson, Susan Coyne, Djanet Sears, Damien Atkins, Marjorie Chan, Jordi Mand, Adam Seelig, Andrea Romaldi, Jeff Ho, and many other respected and award-winning writers.

Training Days:

In addition to being part of one of this program, all participants gather for four Training Day masterclasses led by professional artists, with workshop topics ranging from physical theatre, to pitching your show, to decolonizing arts practice. These days are a chance for participants to meet and work with one another (and find future collaborators!).


- Writers must attend meetings for either The Writers Circle or Playwrights in Residence (the application process is the same for both programs)

- Playwrights must commit to regular meetings with their professional artist mentor.