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The Assembly Theatre and One Four One Collective are proud to announce we are partnering with local Toronto playwright, Michael Ross Albert (Tough Jews, Dora Award nomination - Outstanding New Play; The Huns, Anywhere, Best of Toronto Fringe/Patrons Pick; The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome, Best American Short Plays 2014-2015) to offer a COVID-safe and affordable 4 week Playwright-Director Lab!


This unique creation lab is geared towards collaborative teams of playwrights and directors working together on the development of text-based plays in progress. Over the course of four weeks, playwrights will be able to workshop their scripts in development with the dramaturgical feedback of a director, who will have the opportunity to guide professional actors through the workshop process. 


In sessions moderated by Toronto playwright

Michael Ross Albert, playwrights and directors will

have the opportunity to explore the collaborative

process of new play development, receive insights

into their creative work, and gain a deeper

understanding of the crucial artistic relationship

between playwrights and directors while working on a new script in a safe, sensitive, and good-humoured development lab.


The four-week lab will be moderated by award-winning Toronto-based playwright, Michael Ross Albert. Michael has an MFA in Playwriting from the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City. He has taught new play development as an instructor of record at the University of Waterloo. 


The lab will focus on how a team of artistic collaborators can influence the development of a new work-in-progress for the stage. Rather than writing a new play week to week, playwrights should have a first draft of their play complete or in progress before applying.


Over the course of four weeks, playwright-director teams will rehearse with actors contracted by the Assembly Theatre. The company of actors will be finalized after considering the casting requirements of each new play. If playwright-director teams have specific actors in mind for the workshop, they will be welcome to invite them into the lab. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO NOTE THIS ON YOUR SUBMISSION!


Throughout the lab, playwrights-director teams and actors will present weekly excerpts from their projects. Following each excerpt, playwrights and directors will receive feedback on their work from the lab moderator. The teams will also be given space to openly discuss their collaboration to assess how the creative team may be influencing the play’s development, and to lay a respectful framework for artistic collaboration on the project.


WEEK ONE (June 7 / June 9)

  • Introductory Session: playwrights and directors will introduce themselves, their projects, and their development goals.

  • Moderator will lead discussion about collaboration, expectations of different roles in the rehearsal room.

  • Moderator will provide insights on successful collaborations and tips for successful, sensitive, and open-minded collaborations.

  • Playwright-Director teams will be separated into breakout rooms with their assigned actors. The first rehearsal with actors will begin. Teams will receive one-on-one input from the Moderator during each breakout session.


WEEK TWO (June 14 / June 16) 

  • Actors will perform the rehearsed 20-30 minute excerpts from each new script.

  • Following each reading, the Moderator will give feedback to writers on their play, and discuss the collaborative process with the creative teams. These feedback sessions will be 20-30 minutes per group. If time permits, writers and directors may receive additional feedback from other lab participants.

  • Teams will then be divided into breakout rooms to discuss the feedback and make decisions about next steps.

  • One group will be asked to conduct a rehearsal with actors for the following week’s presentation outside of the lab’s scheduled hours. 

WEEK THREE (June 21 / June 23) 

  • Playwright-Director teams and actors will meet in individual groups to present the next 20-30 minute script excerpts. 

  • While each team presents their work, the other groups will have time to rehearse the next excerpt with actors in breakout rooms.

  • Feedback on individual scripts will be limited to input from the Moderator in this session. Actors will be invited to discuss the script and the process, with an emphasis on their character’s intentions, motivations, and perspective.


WEEK FOUR (June 28 / June 30) 

  • Playwright-Director teams and actors will once again meet in individual groups to present the final 20-30 minute script excerpt.

  • Other teams will be allocated time to rehearse the next excerpt with actors in breakout rooms during other team’s presentations.

  • Feedback on individual scripts will be limited to input from the Moderator in this session. This session’s feedback will focus on the overall success of their collaboration and plans for further development of the script.

  • At the end of the session, all Playwright-Director teams will be invited to participate in an open discussion about their individual collaborations, and the practicalities of producing new works for the stage



The Assembly Theatre is NOW accepting 6 writer and director pairs to participate in this new initiative. Individual writers and directors who are not currently working as a team are also encouraged to apply to the lab. If selected to participate, writers and directors who have applied separately will be paired together. However, applications submitted by playwright-director teams will be prioritized. 


The Assembly Theatre is committed to addressing barriers both within the theatre industry, and within our community of artists. We strongly encourage and will prioritize submissions from equity-seeking communities, including artists who are BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, and/or Disability identified. We will do our best to meet all accessibility accommodations required by participants. 


The lab will be divided into two cohorts which will meet once a week throughout the month of June. Cohorts will meet on either Mondays or Wednesdays between 7pm-9pm. All sessions will be held over Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The participation fee for this 4-week workshop is $175/pair OR $100/individual. 


Space is EXTREMELY LIMITED. If you are interested, please apply via this submission form.  All applicants will receive a confirmation email regarding their application status once the selected participants have been finalized.











Have questions? Feel free to reach out to us at

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