The Directors Lab is geared towards emerging directors looking to develop their craft. Participants receive mentorship, participate in workshops and labs with a professional director to allow for experimentation with new directorial approaches and practices. Celebrate the explorations, discoveries and risk-taking of this year’s Directors Lab during this work-in-process sharing. Costume Design Lab participants collaborated on each of the projects, and Directors chose from a database of open source plays as well as new plays in development from local playwriting programs — including Tarragon Young Playwrights Unit, Nightwood Theatre Write from the Hip, and Paprika Playwrights Unit alumni.

This program is presented with support from The Stratford Festival as the Lead Lab Partner.


Philip Geller

Philip Geller

Philip Geller (he/they) is a Jewish (Ashkenazi) and Métis-Michif with roots to Rooster Town and the establishment of the Red River Settlement. They are a theatre/performance artist, scholar, and educator. He is focused on decolonizing and indigenizing his process by listening to and dialoguing with ancestral and cultural knowledge. They have worked across Turtle Island as a director, actor, producer, devisor, clown, and educator with organizations including Buddies in Bad Times, Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts, Gwaandak Theatre, and Stratford Festival. They hold a BFA in Acting (University of Alberta) and MFA in Directing (York University).


This is my third year facilitating the director’s lab and each year is a magical tangled journey full of learning and growth, for the participants and myself. This year each director chose a script that was either offered to the festival from a playwright or from the public domain. It has been a great experience focused on the relationship of the director to text and bringing a written vision to life. All the director’s pieces you witness in the festival are thoughtful, experimental, rooted in culture and community, rigorous, and full of play, just like the directors themselves.

Whenever I gather with Grace, Hemali, and Autumn I am reminded of the root of why I do this work, why tell stories, why hold space, why create? In a world seemingly full to the brim with conflict and grief I have felt paralyzed, that surely our playing in the dark cannot affect the change that is required. But these three artists reignite my flame with their compassion, curiosity, and drive. I have rarely been asked such thoughtful and engaging questions. I have rarely been part of such open and empathetic dialogue. 

This year we peeled back the layers and got to the root of the stories and the storytelling. I am grateful and indebted to Autumn, Hemali, and Grace for all their strength throughout this lab, and the great wisdom shared with me throughout the process. 

Trust the power of story, return to the simple, find the seed.

Kihchi-maarsii (thank you very much)

— Philip Jonah Logan Geller, Directors Lab Facilitator (2023/24)