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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!

2023 Playwrights' Gym participants:

Ashley Chodat

Ashley Chodat (she/her) is a playwright, dramaturg, deviser and teaching artist. In these roles, she has been fortunate to work for companies like Bard on the Beach, Arts Club, The Cultch, Arts Umbrella, Little Mountain Lion, Carousel Theatre for Young People (Vancouver) Theatre SKAM, and Kaleidoscope (Victoria). She is passionate about stories that explore teenage girlhood, science fiction and intergenerational relationships. Recent playwright credits include: June Bug (Vancouver Fringe winner of TYP Family Forward Award, UpintheAir’s rEvolver Festival, Victoria Fringe) and FRANK (Impulse Theatre Peek Show 14/Intrepid Incoming Fest). Ashley holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Applied Theatre from Uvic and a diploma in Theatre Performance from Douglas College. 

Neko Smart

Neko Smart is a BFA Creative Writing student at UBC. As 2020 Victoria City Youth Poet Laureate, they emphasized the importance of cultivating open dialogue about mental health in order to reduce stigma and increase safety, particularly for youth. They’re a member of Raising Voices and Wordplay poetry workshop facilitation rosters, and currently sitting as the Slam Champion of Vancouver. They recently had their first play, Yes, And, produced at The Bryan Wade Brave New Play Rites Festival. They are grateful for the opportunity to work with Green Thumb Theatre.

Tristen Foy

Tristen Foy is a theatre artist originally from Winnipeg and now based in Vancouver. He is a graduate of the Studio 58 Acting Program with a diploma in Theatre Arts. Before Studio 58 Tristen studied acting at both the University of Winnipeg and University of Alberta. He is so thrilled to have discovered a love for playwriting during his time in school and is now in the process of pursuing a BFA in Creative Writing from UBC.

Vivian Li

Vivian (Xiao Wen) Li is a writer, musician, director, and interdisciplinary artist. Her creative works have been published in The New Quarterly, League of Canadian Poets Anthology, and The Massachusetts Review, among others. Most recently, she was a Finalist for the Peter Hinchcliffe Short Fiction Award and Shortlisted for the Vancouver City Poems Contest. Her debut musical dramedy, In Silence, We Sing, premiered at the 26th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, and her debut chapbook, Someday I Promise, I'll Love You, was published by 845 Press. Her past acting/ playwright credits include Little Women (UBC Players Club) and Guitar Strings (Festival Dionysia; Coffeehouse Theatre Society; Green College Players). She has directed for the Or Festival and the Brave New Play Rites Festival. She is currently working on a full-length play about three women of successive generations descending into a realm based on the Chinese Underworld, fighting against spirits and addressing their repressed wounds. A MFA candidate at the UBC School of Creative Writing and an editor for Augur, she can be reached @vivianlicreates. She is excited to be exploring theatre for young audiences this summer!


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