Physical Playwrighting: Creating Stories on Your Feet!
Given by: Mary Ellen MacLean

For anyone 16 and over/ Two hours/ English
Centre Wakefield La Pêche

Returning this year to TaDa! is Mary Ellen MacLean’s workshop designed for those new to creating/writing their own work and those experienced in creating theatre, dance, puppetry, movement — whatever your arts practice!

You’ll be introduced to a method of creating characters and stories “on your feet” – in other words, you won’t be sitting at a desk or computer writing down your ideas or story, you’ll be moving! This method is about physicalizing the ideas, feelings, and thoughts you have.

Mary Ellen has used this method of creation throughout her 30+ year career as a creator, performer, director, and educator. The techniques explored in this workshop can be used in solo and ensemble work. The use of improvisation, following impulses and instincts, are used to create one’s own personal style of expression. Throughout the two hours, participants will be working together and doing some individual work as well. Participants are asked to come with an open mind and heart to new ideas.

Here’s what the two hours will look like:

Warm-up: This is fun and gets folks moving as well as getting to know each other a bit. All exercises/games are designed so everyone can take part.

Exercises: There will be a series of exercises which will explore premise work and taking on different characters (don’t worry, we’ll explain!) All exercises are designed so everyone can participate.

Improvisation: Mary Ellen will guide the participants through a few exercises that can be built on allowing premise, instinct, and impulse to come alive.

Wrap up: At the end of the session there will be time to ask questions and reflect on the two hours as a group.

Please bring a notebook to jot down ideas, thoughts, feelings. And remember to wear clothing and footwear you can move in like sweatpants, sneakers, T-shirt, or long-sleeved shirt.

Mary Ellen MacLean

Mary Ellen MacLean (a proud Nova Scotian now living in the Gatineau Hills) is a performer, creator, teacher, director, and producer who works in theatres across Canada as well as internationally. She studied with physical theatre and mime mentor/director Tony Montanaro, who was based in Maine, USA.

Mary Ellen was a founding member of the Halifax physical theatre ensemble, Jest in Time, touring worldwide for 20 years. Some highlights with Jest performances at the Sydney Opera House, a tour of Japan, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Just for Laughs in Montréal, a performance for Queen Elizabeth and three national CBC TV specials. Her one-woman play Frankie has toured across Canada and aired on Bravo TV.

Some TV/film credits include Hatching, Matching and Dispatching, Wilby Wonderful, Wound-Up, Made in Canada, Liocracy and Shattered City.

Nova Scotia Merritt Theatre Awards: Twenty Years of Theatre Excellence (Jest in Time); Best Production (Trip-Jest); nominations for Best New Play (Frankie), Best Actress (Trip, Frankie). She is co-artistic director of Frankie Productions who produced her play Velocipede, using 21 bicycles, and seven dancers/performers. Throughout the year Mary Ellen teaches physical theatre, movement, improvisation and performance to all ages and levels.

She is the Artistic Director of The Big La Péche Puppet Project for Theatre Wakefield and the director of Rae Maitland’s Mayfly. Mary Ellen and her wife Wendy have created an artist retreat – The Open Skyridge Studio — located in the Gatineau Hills for artists of all disciplines.

Upcoming: Queer Elder Storytelling at the NAC late August and choreographer for be careful with each other at GCTC in 2024. In February she will give folks a sneak peek into her new creation For Puck’s Sake at GCTC.

Sunday September 14,
10am – 12 noon