New Play Development Workshop

ArtSpring presents a week of new play development with two events that come together in a free rough cut on Friday, August 3rd at 6:30pm.


You Need A Dramaturge

with acclaimed director and dramaturge Pamela Halstead

(Open to anyone wanting to try writing for the stage)

August 1 & 2 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm


Do you have an exciting idea but don’t know where to start?  Many writers have an idea for a piece or have started a play that they are stuck on and have questions:

  • At what point in the action should I begin the play?
  • How do I make the characters vocally distinct from one another?
  • What is the shape of the play? How do I get where I want to go with it?

Now you have a chance to ask a dramaturge. Bring your idea and/or a few pages of your opening scene to the workshop. You will get to discuss your vision and the jumping off point you have chosen with award-winning dramaturge, Pamela Halstead. She will discuss with you your concept, ask dramaturgical questions to focus you and give you a clear direction to get started. You will not be “judged” on work accomplished. Whether you write only a few pages, an outline or finish your play during the workshop. It is about process!!

Writers participating in the workshop will be offered the opportunity to read a brief excerpt of their work before the reading of Natalie Meisner’s BOOM BABY on August 3, 2018 at 6:30pm.

Register by contacting ArtSpring’s Box Office

250.537.2102 |


A cast of experienced local actors and visiting artists will rehearse and present selections from a new Canadian play in development.

Friday, August 3 starting at 6:30pm

Free for the public to attend

Boom Baby by Natalie Meisner

Iona is a young Maritimer who has been drawn out west for work in the mining camps. She is a loader operator, a strong young woman and fits into the working environment without complaint, striving to be “one of the guys.” That is until she becomes pregnant after a casual sexual encounter with a friend. Unwilling to have an abortion, and not seeing a way out of her situation, she meets Brooke: A PR woman for an oil company who is unable to have children herself. In Canada prospective birth mothers cannot be paid, but under the assumptions of altruism. And yet everything in a work camp environment is measured in dollars and cents. The deal the women contemplate raises the question of what can and can’t be given a dollar value.  A new human life? An existing one? A river? A water table? The future?

Selections from Boom Baby as well as selections from the work of workshop participants will be presented to audiences on August 3 at 6:30 pm in lively free event that celebrates cutting edge new play development and shares the excitement of seeing work in progress.


Metta Rose (McNairn) as Iona was born and raised on Salt Spring, studied Musical theatre for two years at Capilano University, as well as trained in various other theatre, dance, voice, and workshops both in Canada and the US. Some favourite past shows she’s been involved in are Cabaret and Spamalot (exitStageLeft Prod), Just So (CapU), Harvey (Metro Theatre), Wizard of Oz Panto (SMP Dramatic Society), Little Shop of Horrors (GISS), Peter Pan (SS Centre), and Alice (Stage Coach).

Kaya Reiss as Brooke is a story-teller, visual artist, and actor. She grew up on Salt Spring and studied theatre at Concordia University in the 90s.

Jeffrey Renn as Owen took early retirement from a career as an actor, director, teacher to become an organic farmer. After reaching the lofty sum of 35 cents an hour he has returned to the theatre to support his farming habit. He studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and is an Alumnus of both of Canada’s Shaw, and Stratford Festivals; Jeffrey has also appeared on Broadway in Moliere’s The Miser and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Dustin George as Justin is a Toronto based actor, writer, and director. After studying theatre at Capilano University he moved to Toronto where he trained at the Bravo’s New Musical Theatre Intensive, CMTWC Writer’s Workshop, Second City Conservatory, Bad Dog Theatre, and Professional Actor’s Lab. George has written two musical’s Tuck & Daisy and Wheels-A Song Cycle, and just finished directing The Pansy Craze- A New Musical at the Toronto Fringe. When he’s not creating, he can be seen on stage or television. He is so thrilled and thankful for this amazing experience!

Patrick Byrne as Hort was born in Newfoundland and spent his early years traveling the world with his family. He has always loved live theatre and had the opportunity to appear in Sean O’Casey’s Shadow of a Gunman in 1999 as Tommy Owens. He has been on Salt Spring for six years and has worked as a saxophonist which is how he was cast as Uncle Paddy, the booze addled sax playing uncle, in the production of Peter on the Brink written by Suzanne Laine that had a week long run at ArtSpring. Patrick is thrilled to be a part of this production.

Pamela Halstead (Halifax) is an award-winning director, dramaturge, actor, teacher, and arts consultant.

Natalie Meisner (Salt Spring Island) is a widely produced playwright, and award-winning multi-genre writer.

Presented by ArtSpring and generously supported by The Quercus Foundation and the Salt Spring Arts Council.