Playwrights Unit


The 21/22 Playwrights Unit focuses on the process of developing a script for the stage, and building a career as a playwright. This program will take place online, and is open to applicants from across the country. 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 first-time playwrights to already-produced! Three participants will learn about: character development, scene structure, creating honest dialogue and sustaining tension in writing, along with administrative skills — such as grant writing, crafting playwright resumes, and how to pitch your project to a theatre. Many 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.

We encourage new artists and artists in the first few years of their practice to apply. Applicants from across the country will be considered. The Playwrights Unit public readings will be performed in person and live-streamed to an online audience.

*Indigenous artists who are interested in participating in the Indigenous Arts Program along with the Playwrights Unit will receive full support through both programs, and will have the option to return for a second year of project development through IAP. You will only need to submit one application – please check the box to let us know you are interested in IAP when applying.

If you have any questions about the Indigenous Arts Program, please feel free to email Jay Northcott, the Indigenous Arts Program Producer at


Bilal Baig

Playwrights Unit Facilitator 2021/22

Bilal Baig (they/them) is a queer, trans-feminine, Muslim playwright, performer and workshop facilitator. Bilal’s first play, Acha Bacha, had its world premiere in 2018 and has been published by Playwrights Canada Press. Other written work in development includes Kainchee Lagaa, Kitne Saare Laloo Yahan Pey Hain, and I want that free mind! Bilal is a core team member at non-profits such as Story Planet and Rivers of Hope, where they develop and facilitate workshops for youth in under-resourced neighbourhoods in Toronto focused on creative writing and literacy (Story Planet), and combatting Islamophobia through the arts (Rivers of Hope).

Training Days

In addition to being part of this program, all participants gather for five virtual Training Day Labs led by professional artists, with workshop topics ranging from physical theatre, to pitching your show, to re-Indigenizing artistic practices, and building a career in the arts. These days are a chance for participants to meet and work with one another (and find future collaborators!)



Online (from wherever you are! 🖤)

COVID-19 Considerations

This program will be offered entirely online. Participants will also collaborate and connect with other Paprika program participants during Paprika Training Days and the company-wide meet & greet, which will take place digitally. The Playwrights Unit festival sharings will be live-streamed for an online audience, and presented in person at the festival where possible and when sensible, and in accordance with public health directives.