Please join us for the Paprika Theatre Festival’s Fourth Annual 90’s TRIVIA NIGHT Fundraiser!

With your help, we are raising funds to support the free-of-charge training, mentorship and creative work of the young artists participating in the 17th annual Paprika Theatre Festival. This year’s festival will take place May 14 – 20, 2018 at the Aki Studio, in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts.

WHEN: Monday, December 4th at 6:30 pm at The Duke of York, 39 Prince Arthur Ave, Toronto. Trivia starts at 7:00 pm.

Sign up with a team or individually to compete. There will be prizes for the winners of each round and a special prize for the ultimate winners.

BUY TICKETS: only $30! Click here to get yours ASAP

REGISTER YOUR TEAM: Email create@paprikafestival.com with your team (90s puns preferred but not required)

Limited tickets available at the door (cash only).

See you in the 90’s!

We had the privilege of looking at over 90 applications for this years’ programs and can’t wait to tell you who will be part of the Fest this season. Until then, we’re honoured, thrilled, chuffed and psyched to announce some of the very talented artists who will be working with this years’ participants. (With more to announce soon!)


Yolanda Bonnell
Indigenous Arts Program Mentor

Yolanda Bonnell is an Ojibwe/South Asian performer and playwright from Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, ON.  Now based in Toronto, and a graduate of Humber College’s Theatre Performance program, Yolanda was named one of NOW Magazine’s Theatre Discoveries and most exciting artists to watch in Summerworks 2016.  Her solo show bug, directed by Cole Alvis is currently set for a world premiere at the Luminato Festival in 2018, followed by a tour. She was also a part of Factory Theatre’s The Foundry, a creation program for new career writers, where her play, Scanner continues to be developed. While another of her projects, White Girls in Moccasins is currently under development with the Animikiig Creators Unit at Native Earth Performing Arts with mentorship by Clare Preuss.Recent credits include: Ipruq/Atugauq in The Breathing Hole (Stratford Festival), Fanny/Robert in Treasure Island (Stratford Festival), Roe in Two Indians (Summerworks 2016),Theresa in The Crackwalker (Factory Theatre). www.yolandabonnell.com

(You just missed Yolanda at Stratford this season!)

Jeff Ho
Writers’ Circle Facilitator & Mentor

Jeff is a theatre artist, originally from Hong Kong. Most recently, he played Ophelia in Why Not Theatre’s Dora-Nominated Prince Hamlet. Select Acting credits include: Hana’s Suitcase (Tour: Toronto/Montreal/Seattle/YPT), Unknown Soldier (lemontree/Architect Theatre), Murderers Confess at Christmastime (OutsideTheMarch), Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet (Repercussion Theatre), Incorporated (SyFy/CBS), Orphan Black (BBC America). As a playwright, Jeff is premiering his first play, trace, as part of the 2017-2018 Factory Theatre season, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, in association with b current. He has held residencies with the Stratford Playwright’s Retreat 2016, Nightswimming, Cahoots Hot House Unit, The Banff Playwrights Colony, and Factory Theatre. Jeff is a graduate of the National Theatre School. 

(Plus! Jeff’s show Trace is coming up at Factory in November!)

Tanisha Taitt
TD Creators’ Unit Facilitator & Mentor

Tanisha is a director/actor/playwright/educator/activist and accidental essayist. She has worked with Obsidian, The Musical Stage Company, National Arts Centre, Nightwood, Buddies In Bad Times, and Soulpepper, and spent two seasons as a Resident Artist-Educator with Young People’s Theatre. Tanisha is a Drama mentor for tdsbCreates, a TDSB/TAC initiative that brings professional artists into classrooms to nurture artistic expression in students and teachers. She is an Anti-Oppression facilitator and Director of the Peace Camp program for Children’s Peace Theatre, an organization that teaches young people about conflict transformation through theatre. Also a singer and songsmith, she is a recipient of the Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters Award for excellence in songwriting. Tanisha spent 7 years as the Toronto and then the National producer for V-Day/One Billion Rising — the global movement to end violence against women and girls. In 2014, she founded Teenage Graceland, a youth theatre collective that challenges societal attitudes leading to gender-based violence. Tanisha was ‘Harolded’ in 2013 and in 2015, critic Lynn Slotkin bestowed upon her an inaugural “Tootsie” Award in the “They Can Do Anything” category. She is currently writing two musical theatrical works.  As of January 2018, she will join the part-time faculty of George Brown Theatre School, where she will teach 1st Year Contemporary Scene Study.  Tanisha is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.

(Tanisha just directed  The Seat Next to the King  at The Theatre Centre!)

Luke Reece
Training Day Facilitator

Luke Reece is a storyteller, arts administrator, and artist-educator from Mississauga. He loves engaging with artists that are as diverse as the community he lives in. Along with being the Producer at Obsidian Theatre Company Luke is the Artistic Director of Little Black Afro Theatre, co-creator of Dark Nights, and captain of the 2017 Toronto Poetry Slam Team.

(Obsidian Theatre & Paprika Fest Industry Partners, Cahoots Theatre are producing Amanda Parris’ The Other Side of the Game at AKI STUDIO, right now!)

Clare Preuss
Directors’ Lab Mentor

Clare has has collaborated with innovative companies across Canada and in Germany, Lebanon, Switzerland, Uganda and USA including: Alameda, Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, bcurrent, BeMe, Blyth Festival, Buddies in Bad Times, Buffalo Infringement, Cahoots, Carlos Bulosan, Driftwood, Dynamo, Factory, Friction Group, fu-GEN, Gwaandak, Native Earth Performing Arts, New Harlem Productions, National Arts Centre, Nightwood, Paprika, Stratford Festival, Sundown, Theatre Direct, Theatre Centre, Theatre Monnot, Volcano, Why Not Theatre and Young People’s Theatre among others. She has appeared on TV and in feature films, including her role as Caroline Kraft in the cult classic, Mean Girls. She is a certified yoga instructor and part-time faculty at Humber College. Clare is a recipient of the Houselighters of the Citadel Theatre Award and was named an outstanding director by NOW Magazine for Salome’s Clothes. Clare is an Associate Artist with Volcano Theatre and Resident Artist at KABIN.

 (Plus! Coming up in November, Clare is directing Cake at Theatre Passe Muraille!)


Lead Festival Administrator

Paprika Festival 2017/2018

Deadline to apply: Friday, September 15, 2017 at 5PM

Term: 10 hours/week, September 2017 – June 2018, increased hours around Festival time (May 14-20, 2018)

Honorarium: $750.00

This is a training position, designed as an exciting, hands-on learning opportunity for an emerging arts administrator or producer. For this position we are especially interested in candidates under the age of 30.

Paprika Festival is a youth-led professional performing arts organization (now in its 17th year) that runs year-round professional training and mentorship programs for youth culminating in a festival of new work by young artists. This year’s Festival is in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts and will take place in the Aki Studio Theatre. Paprika runs programs for youth interested in playwriting, directing, acting, collective creation and producing theatre.


The Lead Festival Administrator will lead Paprika’s Festival Administrators (8-15 people, ages 19-25) who provide invaluable visioning, prep-work, and on-site support for all Paprika programming and fundraisers. The Lead Festival Administrator will be in charge of organizing and leading meetings, spearheading Festival Administrator initiatives, and steering the direction of the Administrator program itself. Furthermore, the Lead Festival Administrator will have opportunities to shadow Paprika Festival staff in any aspect of arts management, programming or administration that interest them. A desire for mentorship and hands-on experience is essential! This is a great way to learn about how a charitable non-profit arts organization works. You will be designing your own portfolio of events and activities as you assist the Festival in connecting with new audiences, engaging participants with each other and the arts, managing training/festival logistics, and supporting the creation of new work.

Festival Administrators engage with the festival as creative thinkers, planning fundraising events and promotional projects to ensure the success of the festival for its participants and audience. From seeking sponsorship, to planning a hoppin’ fundraiser, to performing administrative tasks, Festival Administrators have a hand in it all and are a vital part of Paprika. The Lead Festival Administrator coordinates and oversees these initiatives and acts as the liaison between the Festival Administrators and Paprika Staff.

Important Dates:


The Lead Festival Administrator will:

The Lead Festival Administrator will gain meaningful hands-on experience and mentorship in:


Ideal candidates will have:


Please send your cover letter & resume to leslie@paprikafestival.com

In your letter, please address the following:
• What experience and/or skills would you bring to the Festival Administrators as Leader?
• What skills do you hope to gain from being the Lead Festival Administrator?
• How will you make time in your life to meet the time commitment of this program?

Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.
Thank you for your interest! Please send any questions to leslie@paprikafestival.com


We provide year-round theatre training and mentorship. At the end of the year, your original work is showcased in the week-long, fully-produced, uncensored Paprika Festival (May 14-20, 2018).

Paprika Festival is free for all participants.

We’re hugely dedicated to accessibility and diversity. We want to make this work for you (so that you can make your work!). Check out How to Apply below for alternative ways to apply to Paprika (and how we can support you).

What can you do with Paprika?


(Ages 15-21)


(Ages 15-21)


(Indigenous artists, Ages 15-30)


(Ages 15-21)


(Ages 15-30)


(Ages 21-25)

How to Apply:

Click here to see all programs, or select a program below to learn more about it and apply:



Indigenous Program

TD Creators’ Unit

Directors’ Lab

Festival Administrators

If you need help with your application or if you’d prefer to answer the questions in person, over the phone, or in another way, email ali@paprikafestival.com

Two years ago, I was a Paprika participant and experienced firsthand how meaningful and holistic the training here is:  Paprika strengthens young people not only as artists, but as leaders and innovators in all we do. No wonder this organization has thrived for seventeen years! Paprika plays a vital role in keeping the theatre industry industry exciting, diverse, and in-touch.  I’ve been fortunate to find mentors and a community in Toronto who keep me brave and I know how important it is to have a home as an artist. I’m honoured to join the team who make Paprika an inspiring and supportive homebase from which young artists can leap.  As one participant said this spring about Paprika: “It’s all pretty lit”. I totally agree.

Ali Joy Richardson

Norelle doesn’t think she can say no to white people. Can you?

A smash hit from last year’s Fest, Plum BOMB is back at Paprika for ONE NIGHT ONLY! Right before they take the show on tour to Montreal on May 22nd to perform at the 12th annual Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival





Plum BOMB is a comedy that explores what it takes for young queer people of colour to say no to white people. The play follows Norelle as she investigates, wrestles, dances and plays with questions that challenge her identity, values and upbringing. As queer people of colour, what do we have to blow up in order to be seen? What if we don’t want to be seen? How loud do we scream in order to be heard? And when we take space, and white folks listen, what do we have to communicate?

Click here to buy your $10 tickets! 

written and directed by: Bilal Baig   featuring: April Leung, Amaka Umeh & Carlos Albornoz   stage & production management: Nida Haroon   sound design: Maddie Bautista   choreography: Babar Baigproduced by: Maddie Bautista & Bilal Baig The team would like to thank: Erum Khan, Esther Jun and Tarragon Theatre, BarreWorks and John Echano.   Promo image credit: Erum Khan    

This year, General Manager Leslie McCue showed Paprika staff how to screen print and we never looked back!

We’re selling screen-printed Paprika tees for $10 to help raise funds for this year’s Paprika Festival featuring new work from over 40 diverse, young artists from across Toronto.We’ll also screen-print a t-shirt, tote bag or other item that you provide for only $5!

Support youth empowerment and rep your favourite Toronto youth theatre festival all year long with a Paprika Festival t-shirt!

Paprika logo final-01

There are currently 2 opportunities available to work with Paprika Festival! For the past 16 years the Paprika Festival has been the home of the emerging artist. We are a year-round youth-led performing arts organization celebrating the work of young and emerging artists. All of our programs include a strong focus on mentorship and training, and we are guided by four core values of accessibility, artistic development, community, and youth leadership.


Deadline: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 5PM

Term: Part-time, with possible renewal.
July 1 to June 30, with training hours beginning in April 2017.

We’re looking for an exciting young producer to join Paprika’s leadership team!

Due to Paprika’s youth-led mandate, the ideal candidate will be under 30


The role of Artistic Producer (“AP”) for Paprika Festival is a unique and exciting opportunity for someone at the early stages of their artistic and managerial career. It is a dynamic role that requires experience in both theatre creation and theatre production. It is ideal for an emerging leader with substantial time and willingness to extend themselves beyond the parameters of this job description.

The primary work of the AP is to co-run the operations of Paprika Festival. They function as a resource point for teenagers and young adults looking to share their own artistic material. The AP is a connector to the professional arts community and should be highly knowledgeable on the diversity of professional theatre artists, institutions, and community-engaged arts groups in Canada. The AP works as a partner to the General Manager and shares the administrative workload for the organization, including grant writing, contract negotiation, production resourcing, marketing, and fundraising. This partnership is critical to a healthy management structure, which includes three to four other part-time administrative collaborators on the executive team.



Administration/ Technical



Send cover letter/ resume to recruitment@paprikafestival.com. Paprika thanks all applicants in advance. Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. Paprika is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage applications from culturally diverse applicants and all other equity seeking groups.


Paprika Festival is looking for volunteers interested in joining the Board of Directors. We seek people who love theatre and are committed to helping young artists develop their craft within a supportive, inclusive and empowering environment.

Directors serve one-year terms. However, it is expected that directors commit to a minimum of two years.

Paprika Festival is a youth-led professional performing arts organization, which runs year-round training and mentorship programs. The program culminates in a performing arts festival showcasing new works by young artists.

The Board’s main responsibilities include supporting the executive and artistic leadership in an advisory capacity, fundraising on behalf of the festival, providing legal and financial oversight of the organization, promoting the festival, and performing community outreach.

Board members are expected to attend regularly scheduled board meetings (about 6 per year) and to assist with committee work according to their interests and skills. Board members are expected to participate in fundraising activities.

At this time we are seeking applications from people with experience in the following areas: fundraising, accounting, community engagement, and communications. We are also interested in individuals who live or work in Regent Park. However, we are always looking for committed, active champions of our festival and encourage those with experience in other areas to apply as well.

Above all, we want the Board to reflect the community we serve. We are an equal opportunity organization and strongly encourage applicants of any race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability status.


Please submit your resume with a brief explanation of why you are interested in joining the Board of Directors to recruitment@paprikafestival.com (Attn: Nominating Committee). Resumes will be reviewed on a rolling basis, beginning February 17, 2017.


Daniel Pink, Chair, Nominating Committee
16 Ryerson Ave
Toronto, ON, M5T 2P3

2017 is here and that means so is the first Training Day of the 16/17 Paprika season!

On Sunday, January 15 at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, over 50 Paprika participants, staff, mentors, artists facilitators and volunteers gathered for a day of creative skill-building and networking.  From 11AM-5PM participants engaged with 3 workshops and in group discussion with a professional artist.


Workshop 1: devising playspace

facilitated by: Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster

about Courtney: Courtney comes from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and is currently based in Toronto, Ontario. She performs regularly in theatre, musical theatre, tv, film and voiceover, and has also performed professionally as a vocalist and flautist. Courtney is a graduate of the Soulpepper Academy, UBC’s BFA Acting program, and of the Citadel/Banff Professional Theatre Program. She is currently a resident artist and member of the Artistic Director’s Cabinet at Soulpepper Theatre Company. Courtney has ample experience with devised work and script development. She enjoys every element of theatre creation and is always eager to explore new performance possibilities and experiences. She is also an educator, and has taught with a number of community organizations, including Soulpepper’s Community Programs and the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through the Arts program. Courtney is a founding member of The Howland Company, and in 2014, she took on her first directorial role as co-director of The Howland Company’s sold out Fringe Festival hit, “52 Pick-Up”. The production was acclaimed by critics and audiences, and was remounted for a sold out run in 2015.

Workshop 2: decolonizing our art practice

facilitated by: Joseph Recinos

about Joseph:Joseph Recinos is of Mayan ancestry born and raised on Turtle Island. He is a Dora nominated performer whose passion for the arts extends behind the scenes. Joseph’s commitment to equitable and diverse practices within the arts has led him to publish articles on equity and diversity and to sit on ArtsVote Toronto, Humber Advisory Committee, and several juries. He is also a trained facilitator working with youth and communities across Ontario. He was the Director of the SummerWorks SLIP Program and Program Coordinator for AVNU. He is also a beat poet. His television credits include roles on Mayday, Dual Suspects, and The Strain. Joseph is a 2011 Humber Performance Graduate. 

Workshop 3: movement creation

facilitated by: Stephanie Caldeira

about Caldeira: Caldeira is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist raised in her Latin roots of Brazillian and Peruvian culture. With her intended nature to intertwine multimedia visual arts with dynamic physical movement, Caldeira aims to academically research the relationship between contemporary – urban art and music, within her visual art productions. Caldeira has been invited to national and international urban dance events as a guest battler, performer and judge. She has worked for organizations such as the Family Channel, Ford, Luminato, Macleans, the Canadian Arts & Business Awards, the Canadian Music Awards, Gadfly and more. Caldeira has remained active throughout the years in hosting and managing integrated urban art events, including “Blurred Minds” and “Love is Hip Hop”- aiming to reframe and redefine the conventional standards of marginalized sectors of society.

Discussion: theatre producing and creation

with: Jennifer Brewin of Common Boots Theatre

about Jennifer Brewin: Jennifer Brewin specializes in the creation and development of new work, with an emphasis on large-scale, outdoor performance. She has created new plays for British Columbia’s Caravan Farm Theatre, the National Arts Centre English Theatre in collaboration with Ottawa’s Experimental Farm, Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works, and at the Canadian National Memorial in Vimy, France, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. She is a multi-award winning artist, receiving a Jesse Richardson Award (direction), a Dora Award (direction), a Harold Award, and the Armstrong Award of Excellence (with colleague Estelle Shook) in recognition of the Caravan Farm Theatre’s outstanding contribution to its community. She was Co-Artistic Director of the Caravan Farm Theatre and associate artist at the NAC.

about Common Boots Theatre: Common Boots Theatre began from Theatre Columbus– a company created when two young actors returned from France armed with a unique way of creating theatre. As the company evolved, site-specific performances were added to the seasons in 2011, with the establishment of its annual outdoor winter theatre production. This is a processional show performed in and around Toronto’s historic Evergreen Brick Works. Through these productions, Jennifer Brewin transformed the company into the company we know now as Common Boots Theatre. Jennifer Brewin became the artistic director in 2009. After a 20-year absence, Jennifer was tasked with reinterpreting the company’s founding practices for a new generation of artists and audiences. Common Boots Theatre (formerly Theatre Columbus) has been honoured with ten Dora Mavor Moore Awards and 53 nominations; and the Chalmers Best Canadian Play Award for The Betrayal, as well as nominations for Dr. Dapertutto and The Attic, the Pearls & 3 Fine Girls.

Special thanks to Jimmy’s Coffee for providing the caffeine fuel for artists and participants on Paprika Training Days.

You know us. Young. Relentless. Ready to conquer. Created and facilitated for emerging, exploring, experimenting, daring young people with mentorship provided by hand-picked seasoned professionals and programming organized by dedicated, hard-working, hilarious individuals — Paprika Festival has shared 15 seasons of original, creative, multidisciplinary, personal, political, raw work.

100% of funds raised by the Made with Love campaign will go towards our artist participants — from providing meals to renting our festival venue to fairly compensating our mentors, trainers and staff.

This month, give us what a week’s worth of coffees or cake, or a jar of nutella (it’s hard but it’s worth it) and in return we give you something from our hearts and our brains. Perks like:

We are small organization working to realize big dreams. We are made with love. From our sponsors, and community partners, and from you.

In the end, your donation goes towards supporting the work of over 50 (fifty) artists under 30. We want another 15 years of Paprika Festival. We know you do, too.

With love,

Paprika Festival