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Playwrights' Gym

Green Thumb Theatre’s Playwrights’ Gym is a paid 4-week writing intensive lead by former Green Thumb Artistic Director, Rachel Aberle. The Playwrights’ Gym provides time to study and develop skills specific to creating for Theatre for Young Audiences — with a particular focus on work that tours to schools. This unique program features cohort and one-on-one meetings, self-paced writing time, and guest speaker sessions.

Our thanks to Y.P. Heung Foundation for their support as we launch this program!

2024 Playwrights' Gym participants:

Nathan Howe

Nathan (he/him) is a playwright, actor, and sound designer from Saskatoon who just moved to Vancouver from Toronto. He has an MFA in Scriptwriting from TMU, BFA in Acting from USask, and is a graduate of The Globe Theatre Conservatory. Nathan produces most of his work under the moniker Theatre Howl, recently premiering his meta rom-com, The Love Interest at Saskatoon Fringe. Other productions of his work include the solo show The Wild Dog Waits On The Concrete Path (OSAC Rural & High School Tour, Winnipeg & Vancouver Fringe), the wordless Frankenstein adaptation co-written with Morgan Murray, Aiden Flynn Lost His Brother So He Makes Another (Live Five, iPuff+, WildSide Festival, and Fringes in Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal – where it won Best English Theatre Production), and the not-very-fairytale folk musical, Matchstick (Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Regina, and Ottawa Fringe – where it won Outstanding Original Work); Matchstick was later produced by Persephone Theatre and GCTC. Nathan has also been in collective creations with The Blyth Festival and Sum Theatre. He has performed on stages across Canada, notably at Belfry, Gwaandak, Persephone, SOTS, Globe, MTC, Blyth, Crow’s, Mirvish, and Stratford Festival, and in Vancouver at the Fringe and Talking Stick. His composition and sound design credits include shows with Persephone, Blyth, Theatre Howl, and recently the Soulpepper podcast With Dignity, a companion to the play, Casey & Diana. He is thrilled to begin this new chapter in his new home exploring theatre for young audiences.

Ashleigh Giffen

Ashleigh Giffen is a 25 year old Oji-Cree multi-disciplinary artist exploring fragmented histories, place, and futurisms through lenses of critical Indigeneity and discouraging genre. Her first play, Kamwatan Nipe (Quiet Water) held its first reading at the Arts Club Theatre company, followed by a silver commission and artist in residency at the Arts Club. Her work has been featured in Briarpatch Magazine, Canadian Arts and Stories, and Room Magazine. Her stop motion film, Pesowan, created in collaboration with Maura Tamez, was featured in the Lake Country Art Gallery and was also featured at the Kelowna Art Gallery as well as her multimedia collage work. She currently lives in Vancouver BC with her two cats.

Alex Masse

Alex K. Masse is a writer and musician from what is colonially known as Surrey, BC. They’ve had written works presented with The Arts Club, Gateway Theatre, and more, as well as composing for works at Fabulist Theatre and Vines Art Festival, and performing at Vancouver Fringe Festival and Vancouver Pride. Most recently, their play, Faye’s Room, was selected for a staged reading at Realwheels Theatre. Alex owes much of who they are today to the theatre scene, and is eager to continue learning and growing as a creative within it, uplifting others’ stories with music and sound and telling their own about queer and neurodivergent resilience.

When not writing, they're making music, and when not making music, they're writing. Occasionally, though, they can be seen working on their degree, or cozied up with their cat.

Adonis King

Adonis Critter King, is a Black and nonbinary, inter-disciplinary poet, writer, theatre creator, director, facilitator, and activist. Their arts practice is rooted in social justice as daily practice, revolution as habit that starts in the home, and QT2BIMPOC safe space curation. Their work uses afro-surrealism, visionary fiction, and The Poetic Surreal to explore the joys and complexities of mad and disabled QT2MBIPOC life, the unsettling nature of becoming, and the difficult choices we must make to liberate our futures.  

Adonis was the 2016 Youth Poet Laureate of Victoria, the 2017 recipient of the VACCS (Victoria African & Caribbean Cultural Society) Community recognition Award, and in 2020 they received the Witness Legacy Award for Social Purpose and Responsibility Through Art.

2023 Participants

Ashley Chodat, Necko Smart, Tristen Foy, Vivian Li

2022 Participants

Tanya Banerjee, Lynette Bonin, Jenny Larson-Quiñones, Sangeeta Wylie

2021 Participants

Issiah Bull Bear, Ashley Cook, Alisha Davidson, Laura Anne Harris, Hannah Johnnson, Katie Voravong


Green Thumb acknowledges the support of Y.P. Heung Foundation