Theatre

New playwrights group finds a home at the Bus Stop Theatre

Group takes long, collaborative approach to script writing

The Playwrights’ Unit is based out of the Bus Stop Theatre on Gottingen Street.   John Sandham

Meghan Hubley and Michael Lake recently noticed something was missing in the Nova Scotian theatre scene. The two playwrights saw few opportunities for those who want to attempt playwriting or want to do it as a career. They decided to start the Bus Stop Theatre Playwrights’ Unit last month.

The aim of the nine-person group, which is the second of its kind in Nova Scotia (the other is supported by Eastern Front Theatre), is to provide a space and act as a launching pad for emerging writers. These are people who Hubley says, “might not have such a big body of work behind them.”

Kevin Hartford is a member of the group. He has written plays for DaPoPo Theatre’s Live-In Festival since 2014. His work was also featured at the Atlantic Fringe Festival earlier this year, with his play Tunnel of Love winning Theatre Nova Scotia’s Next Step Award. He likes the collaborative process of writing the group encourages.

“Writing’s a pretty solitary process,” Hartford says. “It’s kind of nice to be amongst eight other people who are also doing the exact same thing.”

Each member had to go through an application process in order to be considered for the Playwrights’ Unit. Over the next eight months, they will each write a full-length play and assist and collaborate with each other, providing feedback and advice.

A process like what the Playwrights’ Unit puts its writers through requires all members to be on the same page. It’s something Hartford says he’s had no problems with so far.

“There’s no duds in the group,” he says.

When asked what she hopes members will get out of the experience, Hubley says she hopes they’ll appreciate being given time to “complete a script that isn’t just a huge rush to get produced.”

Hartford agrees.

“I like working on one thing over a long period of time,” he says.

Each member’s script will be completed and given a stage reading in August. The point of this is to introduce the Nova Scotia theatre community to the group and its writers.

“We really want to be a part of the community,” Hubley says.

Co-founders Meghan Hubley and Michael Lake.   Courtesy: Facebook/Bus Stop Theatre Playwrights' Unit

Hartford says being a part of the Playwrights’ Unit has already helped him figure out his role in the province’s theatre scene.

“I think immersing yourself in the scene is a great way to start to figure that stuff out,” he says.

The playwrights are also writing shorter plays, the first round of which were submitted on Monday. Those plays will be performed at the Bus Stop Theatre on Dec. 17.