David and Makambe K. Simamba named co-playwrights-in-residence for Workshop West Playwrights' Theatre's 2019/2020 season by David van Belle

I’m so pleased to have been invited to serve as co-playwright-in-residence for Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre’s upcoming season. Workshop West has a mammoth history of developing important new Canadian plays stretching back 40 years. Some of my favourite plays of all time have premiered there.

But I’m even more STOKED to share this residency with Makambe K. Simamba, one of the most exciting playwrights in the country (cough cough two Doras cough cough). Makambe performed in GIANT at Ghost River Theatre and was indispensable in creating the world of the show, particularly in helping me think through some aspects of the script. She’s got a beautiful bold aesthetic that’s uniquely hers and I can’t wait to engage creatively with it.

I’ll be posting more details about what we’re creating together as it shapes up. In the mean time, here’s the official WWPT page about our residency:


Thanks to the Canada Council for funding this opportunity!

Velvet Revolution short-listed for the Alberta Playwriting Competition by David van Belle

Pleased to hear that Velvet Revolution has made the short list for the Alberta Playwrights Network’s 2019 Alberta Playwriting Competition. The winner will be announced at the Betty Mitchell Awards on June 24. Here’s their announcement:



Presented by APN in association with Theatre Alberta.


The 2019 Alberta Playwriting Competition Shortlist:

(Alphabetical by Playwright Last Name)

Kit and Joe by Jessy Ardern (Edmonton)

The Green Line by Makram Ayache (Edmonton)

WROL  by Michaela Jeffery (Calgary)

Boom Baby by Natalie Meisner (Calgary)

The Miracle Queen by Andrew Torry (Calgary)

Velvet Revolution by David van Belle (Edmonton)

There were many more plays that were recognized from the submissions and the three-person jury commented on the incredibly rich pool of talented voices creating theatre in this province.

The recipient of the Grand Prize, as well as the Novitiate Prize will be announced in Calgary on July 24th, 2019 at the Betty Mitchell Awards and posted immediately on Twitter - @APNPlaywrights

Eight Betty Mitchell Award Nominations for GIANT by David van Belle

So pleased to be recognized with eight nominations for one of my favourite shows ever. It’s truly a testimony to how everyone involved brought their A-game to the show. Here’s the list:

Outstanding New Play—David van Belle and Eric Rose

Outstanding Set Design—Robert Leveroos

Outstanding Costume Design—Patrick du Wors

Outstanding Lighting Design—Anton de Groot

Outstanding Sound Design—Anton de Groot (the man is a MACHINE)

Outstanding Choreography or Fight Direction—Brianna Johnston

Outstanding Ensemble—Jamie Tognazzini, Jamie Konchak, Genviève Paré, Makambe K. Simamba, Morgan Yamada

Awards ceremony is June 24!

David leads the Citadel Theatre's Playwrights Lab for 2018-2019 by David van Belle

I’m so pleased to be working with some very talented playwrights this upcoming year. The Citadel Theatre has been doing a terrific job in developing work by Alberta and Edmonton playwrights for its stages. We had our first meeting last week—can’t wait to see these great play ideas turn into real scripts! Here’s the media release text:




October 11, 2018

 The Citadel Theatre is pleased to announce the four Edmonton playwrights participating in THE LAB for our 2018-19 Season. Reneltta Arluk, Beth GrahamDarrin Hagen, and Kenneth T. Williams will be a part of this year’s LAB, led by Edmonton playwright and dramaturg David van Belle

THE LAB is the Citadel’s annual, dedicated, season-long commitment to new play development. The program provides support to four Edmonton playwrights over the course of a season to explore the writing and creation of a new work suitable for the Citadel stages. At the end of the year, each play receives a more intensive period of development, often including a reading by Edmonton actors. Playwrights are paid for their work.

“I am a big believer in new play development,” says Artistic Director Daryl Cloran. “The Citadel can provide playwrights with the opportunity to imagine stories for larger stages and larger audiences, to investigate what is required for a story to resonate to an audience of 700 people each night. I am committed to producing premieres of new Canadian work on the Citadel stages annually, and THE LAB is a great way to support playwrights as they create large-scale work.”

THE LAB forms part of The Citadel’s new approach to play development, Accelerator. Accelerator encourages large-vision projects, innovative work that challenges the traditional actor-audience relationship, and dynamic collisions of different artistic mediums. Our work is inclusive, reflecting the diversity of our communities and featuring a breadth of new stories, voices, and perspectives. Our vision is international, while retaining an emphasis on Edmonton-based artists and stories, placing them in the international spotlight.


Reneltta Arluk
 is Inuvialuit/Dene/Cree from the NWT. Plays: TUMIT, a radio adaptation of I Count Myself Among Them by Richard Van Camp and Pawâkan Macbeth dedicated to Frog Lake, AB. As part of THE LAB, Reneltta will be writing about Tookoolito, the Inuk woman guide and translator to Charles Francis Hall.

Beth Graham is an Edmonton playwright and actor. Her plays include: Pretty GoblinsThe Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, and Working It Out. She’s also a co-creator of The Drowning Girls. For THE LAB, Beth will work on the play Let It Pour, inspired by the myth of Medea.

Darrin Hagen is an award-winning playwright, composer, author, and drag artiste, and the Artistic Director of Guys In Disguise. For THE LAB, Darrin will work on Pansy Craze, a new comedy about the Speakeasies and the Pansy bars of Prohibition-era New York.

Kenneth T. Williams is a Cree playwright from the George Gordon First Nation in the Treaty 4 Territory. Kenneth’s project for THE LAB is Paris SK, a neo-noir play about a small city enthralled by an unsolved murder.  

Dramaturg David van Belle is an Alberta-based playwright with a 20-year history in new play development.  He has been an ensemble member of One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre, co-Artistic Director of Ghost River Theatre, and playwright-in-residence at Alberta Theatre Projects.

For more information on THE LAB or to view the artists’ full biographies, visit our website at: www.citadeltheatre.com/artists-learning/play-development



To arrange interviews, contact:

Sydnee Bryant

Senior Manager, Communications


Season Sponsor: Capital Power

A-Level Seats Sponsor: Landmark Homes

Government Funders: Government of Alberta; Alberta Foundation for the Arts; Alberta Lottery Fund, The City of Edmonton; The Edmonton Arts Council; Canada Council for the Arts; Canadian Heritage.




The Citadel Theatre and Academy is a registered charity that relies on the generous support of donors, sponsors, and foundation and government funders.

Easter Island opens Friday May 23, 2018! by David van Belle

After three years of development, Easter Island is ready for the stage!  Running March 23-31 at Motel in Arts Commons in Calgary.

Featuring Natalie Gauthier in a virtuosic performance.  Directed by Jamie Dunsdon.  Designed by Erin Gruber.  Dramaturged by Vicki Stroich.  Stage Managed by Kelly Goutsis.

More info and tickets here.

Read a preview article in the Calgary Herald here.

Creative Team for Easter Island by David van Belle

Really excited to get my new play Easter Island into rehearsals in just a few weeks for the premiere!  Verb Theatre has been a fantastic, supportive partner in the show's creation.  Here's who's making it happen:

Directed by Jamie Dunsdon

Performed by Natalie Gauthier

Designed by Erin Gruber

Easter Island runs March 22-31, 2018 at Verb Theatre.  Presented at Motel in Arts Commons, downtown Calgary.


Tomorrow's Child tours British Columbia in March by David van Belle

Tomorrow's Child, the show I co-wrote with Matthew Waddell and Eric Rose, adapted from Ray Bradbury's awesome retro-futurist story, will be presented in Burnaby's Shadbolt Centre for the Arts March 14-17.  The show then moves to Victoria to the Belfry Theatre's Spark Festival March 20-24.


You can find out more about the Burnaby run here, and the Victoria run here.

Easter Island short-listed for the Alberta Playwriting Competition by David van Belle

At the 30th Anniversary Sterling Awards in Edmonton, the Alberta Playwrights Network announced that Easter Island has been short-listed for the $5000 Grand Prize in the Alberta Playwriting Competition.  The winner will be announced at the 20th Annual Betty Mitchell Awards ceremony in Calgary on August 21.

The short list:

The Takeoff by Collin Doyle
A Beginner's Guide To Floating by Nicole Moeller
Easter Island by David van Belle
The Blue Hour by Michele Vance Hehir
Premium Content by David Walker
Do This In Memory of Me by Catherine Walsh

Congratulations to all!

Liberation Days book launch on May 8 at Audrey's Books! by David van Belle

May 8 at 7pm, Audrey’s Books (10702 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton)

Join Scirocco Drama and me as we launch the published version of Liberation Days.  The launch features scenes from the play read by Edmonton actors, as well as light refreshments.  Liberation Days premiered at Theatre Calgary in 2014 and has since been produced across Canada.  The play has been nominated for a Betty Mitchell Award (Calgary), a Robert Merritt Award (Nova Scotia) and has been short-listed for the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Prize in Playwriting (Alberta).  Set in the Netherlands during the months immediately following the end of World War II, Liberation Days follows Emma, a Dutch woman who seeks liberation through a relationship with a young Canadian soldier. 

Velvet Revolution to be read at Script Salon on May 7! by David van Belle

May 7 at 7:30pm, Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84 Avenue, Edmonton)

In 1989, 40 years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia were ended in ten days, when a spark of protest initiated by drama students was fanned into flame by the Czechoslovak theatre community. By the end of the year, a playwright, Václav Havel, had been elected President.  Velvet Revolution uses high theatricality to tell the story of these remarkable events, and then examines the even more remarkable actions of a new artist-led government.  A meditation on the ability of the theatre to effect political change… and on the ramifications of getting everything that you’ve asked for.

Read by Emma Houghton, Nimet Kanji, Natasha Prasad, Julian Arnold, Clinton Carew, Oscar Derkx, and Nicole St. Martin.

SCRIPT SALON showcases some of the most talented theatre writers in the region with new plays ripe for production read by professional actors in the elegant setting of Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Presented the first Sunday of every month with a different play by a different playwright featured every time, SCRIPT SALON is a bounteous buffet of sizzling comedy, drama, romance and adventure forged by the power of imagination.


Liberation Days nominated for 8 Merritt Awards by David van Belle

Two Planks and a Passion's excellent 2016 off-the-grid production of Liberation Days netted 8 Robert Merritt Award nominations including:

Outstanding Production

Outstanding Direction--Ken Schwartz

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (female)--Jamie Konchak

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (male)--Graham Percy AND Jeff Schwager

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (female)--Burgandy Code AND Stephanie MacDonald

Outstanding Costume Design--Jennifer Goodman

More details here:  https://www.localxpress.ca/local-arts-and-life/tale-of-ns-boxer-post-war-romance-and-disney-musical-top-merritt-award-nominations-553491