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Call for Submissions

New Play Development

2023 Residency of Howling Winds by Juan Carlos Velis

ECT is now accepting submissions of new unproduced plays from Niagara-based playwrights for our 2023/2024 New Play Development Program and Residency. Playwrights of all experience levels are encouraged to submit with priority going to underrepresented communities and locally relevant stories.

Past works include She’s Mine by Stephanie Jones, A Shot to the Head by Spencer Smith, White Crow by Dawn E. Chrysler, Learning to Swim by Radha S. Menon, Wings of Wax by Lindsay Price, Our Lady of Delicias by David Fancy. We are building a Canon of Niagara Plays!

In 2022/2023, we helped develop Juan Carlos Velis’s poignant new play Howling Winds intending to mount a full professional production this season. Continuing on this trajectory, a new work selected through this program will be developed throughout the year and produced the following season.


  • Commitment to supporting you in the development of your play’s draft and concept into a full-length script.
  • The opportunity to develop your creative process and to test the work as you see fit. 
  • Suitable rehearsal and office space. 
  • Marketing and administrative support including printing, materials, and funding applications.
  • Connection to a professional Dramaturg.
  • Two week-long workshops in our rehearsal space in November 2023 & May 2024
  • Two no-tech table readings with professional actors.
  • Payment of mentorship fees for actors, designers, and tech to contribute to your work and learn from their processes. 
  • A feedback session with invited industry guests in November
  • A public reading in May, followed by a Q&A discussion with the audience
  • Once a final draft is completed, ECT intends to mount a full production of your work in our 2024/2025 season


  • The deadline to submit is September 1, 2023, but the sooner the better!
  • Send submissions to with the subject line New Play: and your working title.
  • In your email, give a summary of your play, how long you’ve been working on it, the size of your intended cast, its connection to Niagara, and your contact information.
  • Attach your most recent draft as a PDF or Word document or include a link for access.
  • In  September, all submissions will be reviewed by a committee comprised of a cross-section of local artists, ECT staff, and our Board of Directors 
  • We may contact you with questions about your submission but will make our selection by October 1st, 2023
  • We welcome any questions or feedback about our selection process

CONTACT or 289 990 7095

About ECT

Essential Collective Theatre (ECT) is a non-profit theatre company based in St. Catharines, producing professional Canadian contemporary plays and creating original works that resonate with Niagara audiences.

We create intimate and compelling theatre performances that reflect our region’s unique identity and provoke conversations about our past, present, and future. At the core of ECT’s vision is further developing the Niagara Region’s performing arts community by supporting and retaining local theatre professionals and emerging artists with artistic collaboration and mentorship to inspire creative energy and fresh perspectives.