Tuesday, December 04, 2007


As told by Esther Jun

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So with minor hiccups we have arrived and settled into Niagara on the Lake!

Jovanni Sy and Wendy Lee picked up me, Tara Beagan and Nina Lee-Aquino at Factory theatre and we headed off on a lovely crisp clear day. The ride was fairly quick with lots of talk of the theatre going on in Toronto. It even inspired Jovanni to put on the Sweeney Todd soundtrack, which was Tara’s favorite moment no doubt. After a quick detour over an unknown bridge and a trip to Shoppers for supplies we arrived at the main house. It’s a bit creaky and very old, but it has a certain charm. We then all headed out to check out Nina’s place (which is very cute complete with piano), than Tara’s (a bit far from Shaw but more modern with working heat!) We went back to the main house to get Jo’s keys and do some grocery shopping. I suddenly felt extremely ill and puked on the front steps of the house! Yeah Esther! Welcome to Shaw! So I stayed behind and tried to feel better. The house was freezing and I was woozy. When Wendy came back we tried to watch some TV but we have no cable (damn, but probably useful). Wendy and I had fun trying to get a good picture with the bunny ears and watched Family Guy. Dave the caterer came and set up the food. Slowly the house was warming up and becoming quite cozy. Jo, Nina and then Tara arrived and we had out first gourmet meal together. Procsuitto and hearts of palm, rare beef on crostini appetizers, roast pork loin with pear jus, roasted fall veggies and a harvest fruit pie we barely crammed in. If this continues, we shall all be quite fat. It was a great evening just getting to hang out and meet people. Nina’s heat was not working, poor thing, and she just played the piano in her “salon” for heat. Marjorie Chan and Ruth Madoc-Jones were to arrive at around 10:30pm, but were denied access to the bus twice, even though they had tickets. People going to NYC had priority. So they decided to try the morning bus.

Monday, November 26, 2007

In the morning Wendy went to pick up Ruth at the bus station but no Marjorie as she had slept in. At 10am we meet at the Stage door and had a quick tour with Jerry. Wendy had to leave and get Marjorie in Toronto as she was denied access AGAIN, due to lack of receipts?!!! Marjorie was livid with the lack of customer service and rightly so!

At Shaw we had our laptops set up for wireless and then we all parted ways. I have a lot of reading to do for Jovanni. I am helping him to do research for his new play about food and where it comes from. Plus, I will be a sounding board for his ideas- he likened me to a psychiatrist, without offering advice. It is such early days he just wants to get the ideas to the page I think.

Shaw green room is the only place most of us have access to internet unfortunately (except Marjorie and Ruth who have somehow lucked out with free Wi-Fi!) and I hate lugging this laptop around.

Did a quick peek into some shops and found a nice variety of British food stuff. There is also tons of touristy stuff to look at. Perhaps I can get some Christmas shopping done!

Everyone arrived at the main house at 6:30pm a little soggy from a downpour. We had lovely bruschetta in the living room caught up on things. Moved into the dining room and feasted on Asian coleslaw, sea bass and stir fried veggies. It was delicious. We had fun scaring Nina about our ghost stories and started a wonderful conversation on the “Canadian” theatre model and is it outdated? Is there distinctly “Canadian Theatre?” I say yes to both points. We moved to amazing chocolate mousse and then into the living room, where we talked about TnT, the Rockettes and all sorts of silliness. It was a really lovely evening and everyone left quite full and in good spirits.

Tuesday, November 27

I had a rough night sleeping due to spooking myself out about this very old house. I finally gave up around 9am and got up. Enjoyed my new Greaves jams and finished reading one book for Jo. I went out for a walk to enjoy the cold sunshine and see the sights. Niagara-on-the-Lake is beautiful! The houses that back onto the lake are truly picturesque. Meeting with Jo cancelled. He was out for a walk and I think he was in a good place and wanted to roll with it. Went to theatre to do some photocopying of readings for Jo and check emails. Talked with Nina about theatre, women and children. It was a very touching conversation and has convinced me that women are still dealing with a lot of prejudices in this industry- and not just from male counterparts. Women have made great progress but there is still a long way to go to achieve equality. I went back home to do more reading. I am starting to feel the need to get out and create my work anyway I can. I am surrounded by these amazing artists and feel inspired to start creating something!

Dinner was lovely again even though we were down one as Nina has left for a few days. Chicken Cacciatore, which David insisted was curry, an eggplant Parmigiano, couscous, and pecan pie. It was a funny evening as we discussed crazy TV shows, but Marjorie’s “Meerkat Mansion” won hands down for the most ridiculous yet sublime. You could tell writing mode had kicked in for everyone as most people headed out early to get back to work. Tara seemed to be in “the zone” and said she feels pressure as she is now very close to the family of the subject she is writing. She feels obligated to them to do a good job. Ruth stayed for the finale of “Dancing with the Stars,” or tried to, but it was so dragged out and was OTT, that she decided to go home after an hour. We had fun though dreaming of swirling skirts.

Wednesday, November 28

Had another rough night trying to sleep. I think it is the absolute silence that is scaring me. It seems “heavy” with history and I am freaking myself out with mind games.

Finished the third book and went to Shaw to photocopy it all for Jovanni. We meet up there and went to the Prince of Wales Hotel for afternoon tea. It was delightful and decadent considering how well we have been eating. We talked about my notes and then talked about food for 2 hours! I went back to Jovanni’s and picked up more books(!) and then back to Shaw where I caught up on emails. Back at the house I decided enough of food and read an old script of Madness in the Square. I am looking very forward to hearing a reading!

Dave arrived with the food and stayed for a drink. He is a very interesting man…More talk about food and Las Vegas. We talked about The Drawer Boy, and how Michael Healy stepped in for the free show. We were all disappointed to have missed a special moment of what is sure to be Canadian Theatre history. When he left we moved to dining room and had veggie lasagna with Caesar salad. Just the right proportions this time! Talk turned to sports and Jo seemed quite glad to some more “manly” conversation. We also discussed Ruth’s time working the night shift with stolen buses and Marjorie’s days at Madison Square Gardens and the ACC. For dessert we stayed in the dining room and had baked apples with nuts and raisins that I simply had no room for.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I’m back from Toronto! Lots of snow made life a little difficult but finally made it. Met Michael Rubenfeld, Tara’s boyfriend who is really nice and adds a new energy to the group. Leanne, Jovanni’s wife, and Richard and Eponine were also part of the group. I think everyone was really excited our scheduled field trip and a break from the writing. Marjorie, however, decided to keep working. Nina as well wanted to continue to write but Shaw was closed so she decided to join us.

We started off to Chateau des Charmes winery with Nina and family following behind in their car. The place is a bit more secluded than the other wineries and housed in a very big stone mansion. The tour was informative and fun. We had lots of fun sampling different Rieslings and bought quite a few bottles. I think everyone was slightly buzzed from the wine and it was nice not be talking “shop.” After a few circles (basically Jovanni thinking he was going the wrong way but not) on the road we made our way to the chocolate place. Not really a factory or a tour but they talked a little about how they coat everything and anything in chocolate and offered us alot of samples. We were all quite high on sugar after awhile. We made our way back to town and everyone took a little siesta. Back for dinner which seemed a little quiet. Leanne was sick unfortunately, and Wendy went off to pick up Michaela, so there were less people. I’m sure everyone also had had a sugar crash. Eponine as always was our main entertainment. How can someone be so cute??!! She and Michael have a new show they want to take on the road called “Eponine and the Jewish Actor.” Michael and Tara waited for Michaela’s arrival and we watched TV. When Wendy returned with Michaela we all sat around and watched Desperate Housewives.

I really envy everyone’s close working relationships. They all seem to be quite comfortable with each other’s process.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Today is grey and windy! That makes only one day of sun here, but it is a lot warmer than Toronto.

Lots of problems with the internet at Shaw, so after running some errands with Wendy, most importantly picking up booze for the next week (and armed with my new wine knowledge), I have settled at the Irish Harp, enjoying Guinness in front of the fire. I have learned that Jovanni is a bit frustrated with his progress. I have recommended scotch and the fireplace. He has said though, he works better under pressure, so with 2 days till a public reading he should be quite prolific the next little while!

Dinner was quite nice with lots of people. Everyone seems to have made progress with their pieces and seemed to be happy with where they are. Ruth and Marjorie are busy preparing for the arrival of actors tomorrow and Tara and Michaela were in the rehearsal room today.

We had black bean chicken, egg foo young and vegetable fried rice. It was all very tasty, although not quite Chinese. The best though was the apricot bread pudding. A bit soggy for some, but how can you go wrong with milk soaked sweet bread? Yum-yum

Most people went early as there is a lot to prepare for; I waited for the actors to arrive. Nina decided to spend the night, to stave off the cold and haunted spirits. The actors arrived safely and in good spirits. They had lots of questions and a great energy. I can see the next couple of days will be lots of fun and good for the playwrights to get out of their heads and see their work come to life.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

There seems to be excitement in the air. By the time I reached Shaw I ran into Jovanni who seemed to have made some progress. He was in the library and decided to do away with video and to keep things very simple. He seemed a little less stressed then yesterday. Down in the green room I met Michael who was on his computer. The Madness of the Square people were about to do lunch they seemed to be quite happy and excited to be here. Marjorie and Ruth also seemed energized having actors to work with. Wendy was running around doing a gazillion little things for tomorrow. We also discussed the set-up for the green room. Tara, Michaela and their sound designer Andy Moro, who just came up for the day came into the green room for lunch as well and they too also seemed in good spirits.

After lunch and lots of photocopying for me, I snuck into the rehearsal rooms to take some pictures with the digital camera that hates me. Marjorie and Ruth were doing table work with everyone, discussing the events of the play. Tara, Michaela and Andy were doing the same talking more about structure I think.

Nina was back in the green room working away. She seems to be on a roll right now and enjoying herself.

Later Wendy had to take Andy to the train station so I set up for the big dinner. John Ng came over quite early so we sat around and chatted.

Soon everyone arrived and it seemed a little like a family reunion, it was a very full house! There was a spinach dip for appetizers which disappeared quickly. For dinner we had pork in a vindaloo sauce, rice, cucumber salad, an amazing mango chutney and coconut rice pudding. It was pretty tasty! Most people were in the living room, but myself, Marjorie, Keira, Jovanni and later Ruth sat in the dining room and discussed Keira’s new job at Stratford. The topic moved on to the model of new playwriting. Marjorie, though used to the model, feels perhaps having a workshop with actors for only one day and then doing a public read may not be the most effective thing for a playwright. Having more time with actors, for example to work through the text and then read each scene, would be more beneficial as opposed to her just trying to fix things in time for the public. Keira mentioned how at Stratford they are working to develop a better model and how they were defining exactly what a reading, workshop, and commissions are. They also discussed how to get the audience more involved in new play development. Keira mentioned the Raw Raw festival at CanStage being a useful model for her and how she enjoyed it.

Overall, there was lots of good conversation, fun, laughter and satiated theatre artists by the end of the evening. Most of the writers went home early, while the actors stayed around a little longer and chatted. I don’t think they could actually move. There was a real sense of community and anticipation in the air.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The big day went off very smoothly with the exception of some bad traffic for our poor Toronto counterparts. I was in rehearsal with the Madness of the Square cast most of the day, as I was reading stage directions. I don’t mind reading stage directions as it is pretty important for a reading and as Ruth said, a bad reading of stage directions could ruin things. Maybe she was just trying to make me feel useful! It was unfortunate that we did not have more time. After lunch, we only had an hour and a half which we basically used just to get through the stage directions. I think it would have been much more useful to the actors and Ruth if they could have gotten another reading of each scene in. Which goes to what Marjorie said yesterday about this model of play development. And why is it, for all the money in the world and beautiful facilities are rehearsal rooms still freezing cold?

Either way, the reading went quite well. We had some Shaw membership people who I saw during the reading and they seemed very enthralled. We did have to postpone the start for about 20mins waiting for the Toronto people. They still had not made it by the time we started however, and they sheepishly snuck in about half way through. Traffic!! Hamilton!! Argh!!

We moved into the green room afterwards for appetizers and drinks. After many kudos and congratulations, most of the Shaw people left except Jerry and Joanna. We also had Ann-Marie from Magnetic North, Andy McKim and Marc Bendavid. There of course were the Cahoots office crew and all the actors. It was great. The food was really delicious. It was a Thai theme with green curry, pad thai and stir fry, and I was very impressed, although David once again was a little weird. He seems to have a vendetta against vegans…Dessert was flambĂ© bananas in the sweetest sauce I have every tasted.

Jovanni got up and read his work on “Taste of Empire.” I think he used his model from the Dim-Sum festival but it was much more researched and fleshed out. It was very funny and engaging. We all really enjoyed it, especially the part were he postulated what if the east had taken over the world as opposed to the west. As the crowd was 90% Asian, it went down well. It took forever to move people out as they were having a great time, Tara recommended going to The Irish Harp for post drinks which I valiantly tried to get people to do. We finally just left as the Cahoots crew ended up having a bit of a meeting. At the Irish Harp we just sat around recovering from the long day and once again full bellies. It’s not done yet though. I am looking really forward to Quilchena….

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Today seemed so much relaxed since the big showing was over. After lazing about I went to Shaw to return some books I had taken from their library. I read some shorts by Shaw and found a few that I really like and am considering for Summerworks or Fringe. I sat in on a little of the rehearsals for Quilchena. I marvel at Michaela and Tara’s abilities and obvious connection as artists. Tara is very soft spoken but very clear and precise with her direction. Michaela just has amazing instincts. I really cannot wait to hear this piece! Jovanni was just observing. I am starting to realize dramaturgy is really whatever you can offer to the writer to help out and I think everyone works differently. Andy joined later in the afternoon and was just in rehearsal doing his own thing, asking or showing things to Tara as he went along (or so it seemed). They all seemed so very comfortable with each other. I think having your designer in there as much as possible is a great idea. They all seemed to be in synch with each other.

At 3:30pm everyone else met up in the green room for our American shopping trip. Flannery, Ruth, Marjorie, Jovanni, Wendy and myself piled into the minivan while Nina and family led the way in their car. At the border, there was no line-up. We waited maybe 5 mins. Jovanni moved one stop sign too close to Richard’s car however, and the border guard went a bit nuts. He started screaming at us to move back. Richard said he had his hand on his firearm! It was a little scary and we were a bit terrified as we pulled up to him. He asked us lots of questions but we made it through. Sheesh! Power-trip…Richard who was in front of us, said when the guard starting yelling the look on Jovanni’s face was priceless. He had trouble not laughing. Luckily, with the ever adorable Eponine in the back of their car, the guard calmed down.

We hit the outlet mall very shortly after. We entered the monstrosity tentatively. Richard and Nina wasted no time getting to business. The rest of us had a snack at Wimpy’s Burgers. Then we all headed off in different directions. It was quite large but I bumped into random people at different intervals. I was not too impressed with stores or the prices. Except at the Umbra store which had insane doorcrashers and deals. I had given everyone permission to hit me if I tried to buy shoes. Luckily violence was not necessary as I avoided the shoes stores at all costs.

After an hour and half I went back to the meeting place. It took forever to get everyone back- at least an hour as people went off again to shop. I ended up getting my ass kicked on Jovanni’s new travel scrabble board. He is a serious player, and well, my first word was “one.” You can imagine how fast downhill it went from there. Everyone got some good stuff without spending too much money. Marjorie won the prize for most spent, but only cuz she bought a gorgeous new leather bag.

Next on the list was to find a bar with good buffalo wings. We got directions from this store called “Lids” on this great bar called Judy’s. Turns out the bar was ACROSS the street from the mall yet we went about 15 mins out until Richard stopped and asked someone for directions. Sigh!

The bar was quite the experience. When we walked in EVERYONE there just stared at us. Evidently, a large group of Asian people is a rarity. We settled near the back and ordered a great deal of unhealthy bar food. It was pretty tasty, in that not healthy way. One couple walked into the bar from the back and I could see this gentlemen just staring at us. He came back a few minutes later and said “WOW, you never see this many Asians here! Where are you guys from. I mean your heritages?” We were a bit flabbergasted as this is the second time on this trip someone has asked us this. We tried to be polite but no one was really saying anything. He finally left, I think a bit miffed at us but oh well!! We enjoyed clogging our arteries immensely and it was ridiculously cheap. When we walked out, it was unbelievable how everyone stared HARD at us. There were more people at that time, and it was like we were aliens. I shake my head…

The border crossing back was easy, although Nina and Richard had a little duty to pay. We took the scenic way back from Niagara Falls and it was stunning, with giant old houses and huge trees lining the way. It was a great day. I had a sense of family.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

SAMPRADAYA and Lata Pada present Mythili Prakash in a Bharatanatyam Solo

We are delighted to present Mythili Prakash in a stunning solo performance of bharatanatyam in “Stree Katha”. This riveting work, accompanied by four invited musicians from India, explores the untold stories of the three tragic stories of the Ramayana: Keikeyi, Shurpanaka and Sita... We invite you to discover the roles of these significant women from the Ramayana and their link to contemporary society, from an artistic perspective.

Mythili Prakash, whose dance has been described by India’s leading dance critic, Leela Venkataraman as
"Simply Sparkling…a Bharatanatyam delight…

“…it was the dancer’s inner fire that spoke. The strikingly bold stances…after electrifying movement, the chiseled beauty of the araimandi and toe-heel kudittu-metta, all executed with such joy and passion sprang from the obvious fountain of youth and agility. But what of the interpretive skill where Mythili’s capacity for internalization carried everyone on a magic carpet, the entire space charged with emotion”

Date and Time
: Sunday October 14, 2007 at 4 pm.
Venue: Meadowvale Theatre, 6315 Montevideo Road, Mississauga, ON
Tickets prices
: Adults $25, Students & Seniors $15

Call (905) 607 8454 for tickets and information.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Just Theatre Tour Coordinator


Position: Just Theatre Tour Coordinator
Organization: Ontario Council for International Cooperation

Position Type: Contract
Date posted: September 11, 2007
Duration: October 2007 - March 2008
Deadline: September 21, 2007 - 12 noon
Location: Toronto, ON


The Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC)
is a coalition of Ontario-based voluntary organizations
committed to achieving global development in a peaceful
and healthy environment, with social justice, human dignity
and participation for all.

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Just Theatre Tour
Coordinator will be responsible for helping to develop,
undertake and evaluate all aspects of a pilot school-focused
theatre project, to be launched in January 2008.

The ideal candidate will be a dynamic organizer with
proven experience facilitating projects with diverse
stakeholders. S/he will have creative ideas, strong
communication skills, and knowledge of international
development issues. As a key member of a small staff
team, s/he must be able to work independently on a variety
of tasks, and to motivate others to participate.


* Further developing a database of and relationships with
educators, school boards, teachers federations and the
Ontario Ministry of Education to promote the tour and
other global education resources and opportunities;
* Liaising with key stakeholders (above) and serving as the
primary contact person with the actors/theatre company
throughout planning, implementation and evaluation of the
* Creating appropriate communications materials and
website content to promote the tour;
* Assisting in the development of a workshop to follow
the play;
* Promoting and booking the tour to schools;
* Implementing a media/outreach strategy;
* Assisting with the development of the tour schedule and
overseeing tour logistics (such as renting vehicles and
booking hotel rooms, where necessary);
* Driving equipment, props, actors and other materials to
schools, on time, throughout the tour;
* Introducing the play and representing OCIC at schools;
* Facilitating the workshop with students and teachers in
schools, where requested;
* Documenting best practices/lessons learned;
* Assisting with follow-up activities, such as synthesis of
evaluations, preparation of financial and final report items;
* Responding to tour-related and general telephone, email
and fax inquiries, as assigned;
* Providing support to OCIC public engagement activities,
including the OCIC Global Citizens Forum (October), the
Kaleidoscope Real World Video Challenge (from October)
and International Development Week (February), as

Desired Experience, Skills and Qualifications:

* Valid drivers license, excellent driving skills and comfort
driving a van loaded with equipment and actors;
* Knowledge of international development issues
(especially child labour, fair trade and global citizenship);
* Minimum of 2 years experience working with
international development organizations;
* Demonstrated group facilitation and public presentation
* Demonstrated experience in public
awareness/engagement with youth;
* Demonstrated experience coordinating activities and
* Knowledge of global education resources;
* Ability to build relationships and work as a team player
with diverse stakeholders;
* Interpersonal and cross-cultural communication
* Detail-oriented with ability to organize work, set
priorities, meet deadlines, monitor progress towards goals
and track information;
* Excellent computer skills (MS Word, Excel, internet, e-
* Enthusiastic and creative;
* Bilingual (English & French) an asset;
* Knowledge of GTA-area schools and experience driving
in the GTA an asset.

Salary: $15.00 per hour / 28 hours per week

To Apply:

Interested applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, the
names of two references and a writing sample of no more
than one page (such as a press release of an upcoming
theatre tour, or an invitation to participate in a project)
to info dontspaam ocic.on.ca* by 12 noon, Friday, September 21, 2007.

Please note Just Theatre Tour Coordinator in the subject

Interviews will be conducted October 4th or 5th. The Just
Theatre Tour Coordinator position will ideally commence
immediately thereafter.

OCIC is an equal opportunity employer and is committed
to hiring individuals who reflect the diversity of Canadian
communities. As such, we strongly encourage First Nations
people and people of colour to apply and self-identify in
their cover letter. While OCIC appreciates the efforts of all
applicants, only those selected for an interview will be
*Note: e-mail addresses above (if any) have been masked to reduce spam.
To form the correct address, rejoin the two blue portions, separated with @
Date posted to GoodWorkCanada.ca: Sep 12 2007
Disclaimer: GoodWork/People & Planet does not verify the accuracy of the above information. We also do not screen, approve or endorse the organizations or individuals involved. It is the responsibility of the reader to confirm important details and assume all risks. Please take suitable precautions before and during employment, a contract or any other arrangement.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Canada Can and Should Do More

Embassy, September 5th, 2007

Advocates Urge Canada to Get Active on Burma

Instead of China-Burma relations, conference-goers last week discussed Canada's role in the Asian nation, calling on the Harper government to back up its talk of change with actions.

By Lee Berthiaume

Burmese political leaders and pro-democracy advocates said Canada can and should do more to help spearhead change within the military junta-ruled country by pushing for dialogue along the lines of North Korea's six-party talks and establishing a country-specific aid program at CIDA.

The leaders and advocates were in Ottawa for a two-day conference, the first of its kind in Canada, to discuss the role China is playing in the Southeast Asian country that is also known as Myanmar. However, much of the dialogue instead focussed on Canada's role.

The meeting came the same week the junta staged a brutal crackdown on protestors who were upset over a fivefold increase in fuel prices. Government forces are reported to have beaten up the demonstrators, jailed 41 of them, and hired thugs to break up any new protests.

Conference participants, including officials from the National League for Democracy-Liberated Areas (NLD-LA), a political party that operates in the Thai-Burma border areas and abroad, and exiled Burmese activists, drafted a declaration that called "on Canada, ASEAN, the European Union, the United States of America, Russia and Burma's neighbors, to convene a multi-party talk similar to Six-party Talks on North Korea, to facilitate reforms and a transition."

They also called on Canada and the international community to "urgently address the deteriorating political, economic and humanitarian situation in Burma," and on Canada itself to find an effective way to support the empowerment of civil society and democratic development in Burma."

In a presentation on Aug. 30 to those assembled, Conservative Deputy House Leader Scott Reid said the Canadian government remains committed to pressuring the military junta to release political prisoners, halt human rights violations and embrace democracy.

"Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's leadership, the government of Canada remains firmly committed to promoting democratic reform," Mr. Reid said.

Since the Burmese military took control in 1988, Canada has imposed sanctions on the country, implemented visa bans on senior military officials, and repeatedly voiced its concerns over the junta's poor human rights record and draconian measures to clamp down on pro-democracy efforts.

Mr. Reid highlighted the sanctions and bans Canada has placed on the junta's leaders, and said the government believes the international community must work together to address the situation.

"Canada actively encourages other nations, particularly Burma's immediate neighbours, to press Burma's rulers to take concrete steps towards genuine political dialogue with the opposition," Mr. Reid said, adding Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier "is a strong supporter of an uncompromising stance on the Burma issue."

"It's only through the kind of principle shown by Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister Bernier that we can expect the international community to successfully pressure the regime in Burma to make real changes."

Canada 'Well-Positioned' as Mediator

Tin Maung Htoo, executive director of the Canadian Friends of Burma, which organized the conference, welcomed Mr. Reid's comments, but said statements are not enough.

"I sincerely hope the government of Canada will be more proactive, especially under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's leadership," he said. "Issuing statements and condemning those atrocities and crackdowns on peaceful demonstration is encouraging for people inside Burma. At the same time, we should show something tangible for support of these people."

Harn Yawnghwe is the son of Sao Shwe Thaik, who was the first elected president of Burma when it became a republic in 1948. Mr. Thaik died in prison in 1962 following a coup, and Mr. Yawnghwe has since moved to Canada where he has worked as an advocate for democracy in Burma.

"As Canadians, we are too modest," Mr. Yawnghwe told participants on Aug. 30. "We say we are too small a country, that we can't do anything."

However, Mr. Yawnghwe said Canada is well positioned to facilitate talks between the military junta and its neighbours to resolve the situation. The idea of such talks is not new, and has been forwarded by such people as Michael Green, a former advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush.

The situation in Burma represents a security threat to the region, advocates said, adding that it appears China is opening its eyes to the need for a resolution in the country to ensure instability doesn't spill over into its borders.

Earlier this year, China hosted a secret meeting between a key U.S. diplomat and junta officials in Beijing, which the advocates took as a sign of China's willingness to play a constructive role in Burma.

If India, Bangladesh and key members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations–of which Burma is a member, can be brought on side, as well as the United States, a political resolution is possible, Mr. Yawnghwe said.

Mr. Yawnghwe acknowledged that Canada has placed sanctions on Burma–though at least one Canadian mining company continues to operate in the country, supplying much-needed cash to the junta–but real sanctions through the United Nations aren't possible because Security Council approval hasn't come to pass.

"So you have to take another angle," he said in an interview. "We've [proposed talks] several times, but no one has wanted to take it on."

It would take political capital to kick-start such talks, Mr. Yawnghwe said, but the potential for success is there, and Canada could "become a leader on the world stage again."

Special Aid Program Urged

Those comments were echoed by Nyo Ohn Myint, head of the NLD-LA's foreign affairs committee and a former aid to detained Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"We'd be very happy if Canada mediates the situation," Mr. Myint said.

Mr. Myint said Canada is well suited to persuade the military junta, Burma's neighbours, including China, and other groups to hold talks to resolve the ongoing problems plaguing the country. The United States, he said, is not well regarded by the junta, and Scandinavian countries like Norway, which has championed talks in Sri Lanka, have openly supported the opposition.

Participants also called on the Canadian government to establish a specific aid program to Burma. The country is noticeably absent from CIDA's long list of development partners, and Mr. Yawnghwe said this is the result of the Burmese pro-democracy movements own success.

"We lobbied in 1988 for it to be cut off," he said.

The two men said CIDA does run some humanitarian projects along the borders, specifically where refugees are living in Thailand and Bangladesh, but that money is often scraped together from other places or regional funds and there is no dedicated funding.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade document available online notes that "Burma-based projects are limited and are only supported when they meet the requirements set out by [Ms. Suu Kyi] that assistance be accountable, transparent, and reach the intended recipients."

Mr. Myint said Canada needs to spend more on long-term projects like strengthening civil society, and improving education and health systems.

He acknowledged there is a great deal of controversy surrounding all aid to Burma. Some believe donor countries should only fund projects in the borderlands, while others say money for civil society groups toiling in the country are also needed.

Both men felt any and all aid, as long as it didn't go directly to the junta, makes a difference.

"Helping refugees, applying diplomatic pressure, that's really needed and really appreciated," Mr. Myint said. "But we need more concrete moves from Western countries."

Makhampom Theatre Laboratory

This is a fantastic theatre organization in Thailand. I was able to work with them briefly in Chiang Dao -- they do great professional work in Bangkok, as well as work in hilltribe communities and Burmese refugee camps... Wonderful people.


Makhampom Theatre Laboratory

a 14-day intensive theatre laboratory training in Thai theatre and intercultural performance

October 22 – November 4, 2007

Likay – Thailand’s traditional popular folk theatre (4 days)

* Vocal forms * Verse composition * Character types

* Movement and gesture standards * Clowning * Improvisational aspects

Intercultural Theatre (4 days)

* “Let the Body Talk” (movement-based text) * Image theatre

* Ensemble movement and sound improvisation

* Environmental theatre * Multi-lingual dramaturgy

Theatre Devising (3 days)

* Thematics and performance research process * Group devised scenario making

* Simultaneous dramaturgy

Performance at the Bangkok Theatre Festival

* Travel to Bangkok and perform at the opening weekend of the festival

At the Makhampom Living Theatre

Ban Dong village, Chiang Dao town, 75 km north of Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand

and the Bangkok Theatre Festival, Bangkok

Who Should Come?

* Performers, actors, directors, dramaturges, dancers, anyone with performance experience and an interest in ensemble performance, inter-cultural theatre, and Thai or Asian theatre.

* There are a minimum 5 and maximum 10 places available for international participants, with another 10 places allocated for Thai participants.

For enquiries/registration:

Email inter@makhampom.net or makhampom2@hotmail.com

Fax + 66 2 6168474

Price AUD $1,750 (conc. $1,500) (does not include flights)

For further information about the programs, and our internationally renowned trainers, Pradit (‘Tua’) Prasartthong, Pongjit (‘Jon’) Saphakhun, and Richard Barber, please visit


Monday, August 20, 2007

The PTC Colony on Granville Island


The PTC Colony on
Granville Island

November 16-26, 2007

The PTC Colony is an annual play development intensive operated by Playwrights Theatre Centre in
Vancouver, BC, open to professional Canadian playwrights. The 2006 Colony included Jason Bryden's The Dissemblers, slated for production by Touchstone Theatre in 2008, and Trina Davies'Waxworks, winner of the 41st Annual Alberta Playwriting Competition. Entering its second year, the Colony will provide a group of five playwrights-in-residence with a dedicated creative context, dramaturgical resources and a company of actors to read their work at intervals throughout the seven day colony. The focus is on the individual development of each playwright's work as well as the creation of a unique supportive and productive community of playwrights, directors, dramaturgs and actors. Playwright/novelist Don Hannah ( Ragged Islands) joins PTC Executive Director Martin Kinch and Associate Dramaturg Heidi Taylor as Colony dramaturgs. Participating playwrights must be available for full-time residency during the Colony and will receive accommodation, a meal allowance and, where necessary, travel to and from Vancouver. See below for application guidelines and more information.

Application Guidelines:

Application Deadline: September 5, 2007

Notification Date: September 17, 2007

Applicants must submit:

1) A completed application form along with a cheque or money order payable to Playwrights Theatre Centre to cover the application fee:
$25 for PTC Members / $50 for Non-Members.
Please note: The $50 application fee for non-members includes a year-long PTC Membership.

2) A copy of the current draft of the play you propose to work on during the colony. Copies must be unbound on 8 1/2" x 11" paper. Times or Courier 12-point font is preferred. Bound, three-hole punched or stapled scripts cannot be accepted.
Please note: Submissions by e-mail or fax will NOT be accepted. Hard copies only.

3) A letter outlining the developmental history of the play and what specific elements the playwright intends to focus on and develop through the colony.

4) A playwright's resume.

The successful plays will be selected based on recommendations from an advisory committee made up of Playwrights Theatre Centre artistic staff and Canadian theatre professionals.

Submit completed applications to:

PTC Colony on Granville Island
Playwrights Theatre Centre
#201 – 1398 Cartwright Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8


Wednesday, September 5, 2006, 5:00 PM,
Please allow enough time for your submission to reach the PTC office by the deadline. We will not accept applications submitted via e-mail.
For more information, contact Heidi Taylor at 604-685-6228 or heidi@playwrightstheatre.com.