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Jobs (Edmonton): Playwright Commission – The Silver Skate Festival

The Virgin Trial – Alberta Theatre Projects
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Jobs (Edmonton): Playwright Commission – The Silver Skate Festival

The Silver Skate Festival is seeking to commission an amiskwacîwâskahikan/Edmonton or Treaty 6-based playwright to join a small cadre of artists creating new works for its annual Folk Trail.

About Silver Skate:
The Silver Skate Festival, the longest-running winter festival in Edmonton, is a 10-day family-oriented festival that runs each February in Edmonton’s scenic river valley. Rooted in cultural winter traditions, the festival combines culture, art, education, sports, and recreation.

Our Mission has always been “To Create Winter Experiences” and our “Vision” is “To Celebrate Winter Prairie Life.” We achieve this by “learning of prairie life in the past, celebrating our now, and building for our future.” The Silver Skate Festival takes pride in showcasing the incredible local talent which is as diverse as the Northern Metropolis we call home. Moving forward, Silver Skate’s new Environmental, Societal, and Governance (ESG) policy focuses on aligning our programming with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

About the Folk Trail:
For the past 14 years, the festival’s Folk Trail component has employed professional artists to bring a variety of folk stories to life, delivering them to the public free of charge outdoors in the heart of winter. These artists have included storytellers, actors, visual artists, lighting designers, and snow sculptors. Each year, between 75 000 and 125 000 people engage with the festival. In the past few years, we have moved from staging a traditional folk tale to a contemporary one written specifically to speak to the times (“celebrate our now”) and to help us “build for our future.” The telling of these tales is often interactive, taking advantage of their setting along an outdoor trail and embracing–rather than fighting–the snow, early darkness, and cold of the winter by using big, warm costumes that have lights stitched into them, and by encouraging the audience to move and keep warm.

Details of the Commission:

The Playwright will be tasked with writing two (2) five-minute plays which:

  1. Requires to be created to be performed outdoors in the wintertime on the festival’s Folk Trail;
  2. Require two actors;
  3. Imaginatively engage children and families in themes of social justice via an original contemporary fable, parable, and/or folk tale;
  4. Respond, in some way, to one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (; and,
  5. Inspire audiences to use their imaginations.

Playwrights will be asked to write a prose version of the play (see the Folk Trail website for examples:

Playwrights will receive developmental and production dramaturgy support from Silver Skate’s Folk Trail and Live Theatre Coordinator, Charlie Peters, including a development workshop with professional actors.

Compensation: $2250CAD for exclusive performance rights for 3 years. Playwrights retain copyright of the works. After a premiere at a Silver Skate festival, playwrights will be compensated industry standard rates for all remounts.

Deadline for Submissions:
May 15th 2023
Selection of Playwright: End of June 2023
Deadline for First Drafts: September 2023
Workshops of Second Drafts: October/November 2023
Final Drafts Due: January 2024
Production: February 2024 (or subsequent festivals at Silver Skate’s discretion)

The Proposal:
Playwrights are invited to submit:

  1. A CV, resumé, or artistic biography, and
  2. A one or two page letter or a 3 minute video explaining their interest in this project. Possible topics to cover include
    1. What social justice topic(s) you might wish to explore and why (ex. what themes need desperately need to be explored in our world right now? What is you “in” for these topics?)
    2. Which sustainable development goals you might want to engage with
    3. Previous experience that sets you up for this project

Please send all proposals or questions about this commission to Charlie Peters ( Proposals are due May 15th, 2023. All submissions will be acknowledged within one week of receipt. Both successful and unsuccessful submissions will be notified by the end of June, 2023.

Thanks to the Edmonton Arts Council and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for making this project possible.

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