Festival Players Announces Residency Program and Launch of Kaplan Script Library

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RELEASE — Prince Edward County – Festival Players is proud to announce both their new Residency Program as well as the launch of the Kaplan Script Library as part of their new Studio Theatre facility in Wellington, Ontario.

The theatre, set to open in August 2018, includes an intimate performance studio, the Studio Theatre Shop filled with County-made art and gifts, and a library dedicated to displaying and celebrating Jon Kaplan’s impressive collection of over 1600 scripts.

About Jon Kaplan and his collection:

Kaplan was a much-loved theatre critic who wrote for Toronto’s NOW Magazine for 35 years. He was a kind-hearted champion of theatre artists and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the art form. He passed away in 2017, and Festival Players is honoured to have inherited the extensive collection of scripts amassed over his career, generously donated by his long-time partner and husband, Don Cole.

Now known as the Kaplan Script Library, over a third of the scripts in the collection will showcase a diverse cross-section from Canadian artists, as well as a large selection from modern, classic, international, and LGBTQ themed playwrights and performers.

Aaron Armstrong was instrumental in bringing this collection to Festival Players. A long-time friend of Kaplan’s, and now an organic farmer in Prince Edward County at Blue Wheelbarrow Farm, Armstrong has been cataloging the collection and reminiscing about their friendship over the past year. Armstrong is deeply touched to know that Kaplan’s legacy is being honoured in his own community by Festival Players.

“It makes me so happy that some part of Jon is here in the County; not just in the form of his play collection but in spirit through the stories of others – just ask Maev Beaty, Graham Abbey, Michael Healey, Rebecca Northan or any member of this season’s company to hear a few,” said Armstrong. “I guarantee they will speak with nothing but fondness for Jon and how each of them have been directly influenced by his generous nature and nurturing friendship.”

This vital collection and unique resource will be activated through a new residency program, through playwright readings and Q&A’s, and made available to the public during theatre hours or by appointment. The first playwright readings in the Library will be with The Drawer Boy playwright Michael Healey (August 13, 2018), local playwrights Suzanne Pasternak and Krista Dalby (August 25, 2018) and A Beautiful View playwright Daniel MacIvor (September 23, 2018)

For more information on the Kaplan Library, go to festivalplayers.ca/library.

About The Artist Residency Program:

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This Fall, Festival Players will launch the Theatre Artist Residency Program, two-week-long residencies for theatre artists with a primary objective being to share the Kaplan Script Library collection with the larger theatre community. These residencies will provide artists with access to the script library, use of the Studio Theatre facilities, accommodations, and support from Festival Players artists and staff in service of an artistic project.

“We are extremely honoured to be the custodians of Jon’s remarkable collection. We are offering these Residencies as an opportunity for directors, dramaturgs, playwrights, creators and artistic directors to take inspiration not only from the library resources and space, but also to be a part of this incredibly creative community in which to cultivate ideas,” commented Abbey.

Applications are now open for the first round of residencies (Fall/Winter 2018/19) with an application deadline of September 15, 2018. For more information about the residency program, go to festivalplayers.ca/residencies.

About the Studio Theatre:

Festival Players is putting down roots, opening The Studio Theatre, the company’s first bricks-and-mortar home at 310-312 Main Street Wellington. The Studio Theatre is an intimate performance venue that will house Festival Players’ productions as well as special events in the summer, and will be available for the community to rent year-round for small scale theatre productions, art shows, concerts, readings and other events.

About the Studio Theatre Shop:

The Festival Players box office and new Studio Theatre Shop will open on June 29th. The Studio Theatre Shop, curated by Edward Pickering of SHED Chetwyn Farms will feature local hand-made products, fine art, and theatre-related merchandise and will be open six days a week during the summer, including availability for pre- and post-show shopping. The Studio Theatre lobbies will also house two art shows curated by Craig Alexander of Sybil Frank gallery. For more information about The Studio Theatre facility, click here.

The Studio Theatre Shop, located at the entrance to the Festival Players Studio Theatre in downtown Wellington, is an intimate space curated with theatre patrons in mind.

Ceramics, glass, textiles and metal arts from the County and further abroad are showcased along with an eclectic assortment of hand-made greeting cards, gifts for children, and a small assortment of local preserves including honey, maple syrup and other comestibles. All this and more will be showcased in the light-filled shop adjoining the theatre bar and library.


Festival Players of Prince Edward County is the region’s professional theatre company, having presented a variety of live theatre experiences in unique County locations for the past 12 years. 2018 marks veteran actor, director and producer Graham Abbey’s first official season in the role of Artistic Director.

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Release source: Festival Players of Prince Edward County