Sadleir House, 751 George St. N., Room 305, Peterborough, ON, K9H 3T2 (705) 933-4510

Playpen: new script submission program

In order to foster the creation of new works, mysterious entity has created “Playpen.”

Please note:  we will not be issuing a call for submissions this year.
The following is for information only:

This program will call for submissions from writers approximately every 18 months to 2 years.  Our goal is for scripts and playwrights to go through an intensive workshopping process with members of our company.  Our hope is that this will lead to full productions of selected scripts in future seasons.

Playpen focuses on plays which explore marginalized voices and stories. Scripts are judged by a committee of theatre professionals.

Attention Playwrights!

Mysterious Entity Theatre is thrilled to announce its fourth call for submissions to Playpen – our new script development program.

We are currently looking for original unpublished scripts, or works-in-progress, that have not been previously produced.  Scripts that have been submitted to previous Playpen calls are not eligible.  Writers must have a STRONG connection to our region. Please specify your local connection in a cover letter to be included with your

We are looking for work that expresses or explores marginalized voices and stories.  Past original work developed by Mysterious Entity has tackled issues such as mental health, sexuality, gender and race.  We are committed to presenting work with an inherent political and social conscience.

If you think that your work fits our mandate, this is an opportunity to have one of Peterborough’s leading professional theatre companies contribute to the exploration and further development of your script.

If you have a piece that you are working on that has never been produced or published please send a synopsis (one submission per artist please) along with a cover letter, your resume/bio, and a script sample (20 pg max) to:
Mysterious Entity Theatre
Sadleir House, Room 305
751 George Street N.
Peterborough, Ontario K9H 3T2

or call (705) 933-4510

Playpen 2013

“Playpen for me was a huge gift.  It’s not often that a playwright gets to sit around a table with other playwrights and professional actors, and go through a script with the sole purpose of developing and creating a better text.  Playpen is a special little gem.  It’s like an overly luxurious gift that someone gives you that you come away from feeling really blessed for having received.  Playpen answered so many questions that would have taken me months to figure out on my own.  I’m grateful.”  Frank Flynn

“The Playpen Off The Page weekend workshops gave me the opportunity to revisit a piece I had started writing many years ago and see if it was still viable. Constructive feedback and improv exercises proved extremely informative and encouraging.”  Dianne Latchford

“Off The Page catapulted my script from draft one to a piece ready to be workshopped by actors.  The feedback was intelligent, insightful and supportive.  It takes a very long time to make a play, much longer than most people realize.  Off The Page supplies critical support to get the writer over that first gap between conception and performance – support that is lacking for this region’s playwrights.  Thank you!”  Kate Story

Playpen 2012

In May 2012, Mysterious Entity hosted a weekend workshop of new original scripts selected from our third Playpen Call for Submissions.  Facilitated by Artistic Director Em Glasspool, company members worked with local writers to
support and foster the creation of new work.

From some of the participants:
“Great workshop with Mysterious Entity.”  Laurel Paluck
“Thanks to Mysterious Entity and the play writing workshop this weekend!  Well done one and all.”  Ryan Kerr
“Three years ago I made a goal of working with Mysterious Entity.  After this past weekend that can now be checked off.  Life is always surprising and had you told me three years ago that I would be taking on the role of ‘playwright’ , I would have laughed.  Inspired, empowered and intrigued.”  Amy Cummings

Congratulations to the winners of our second playpen call:
Marie-Claire Marcotte & Rebecca Davey
for their script submission: “GO GO GO GREEN!”

Play Pen 2009

Congratulations to our first playpen recipient:
“A Mean Thing” by Cathy Petch

The script was workshopped for 2 weeks with the playwright and members of the company, directed by Em Glasspool and dramaturged by renowned Canadian playwright Dave Carley.

To see a photo gallery from the 2009 & 2010 workshop presentations, click HERE.

Our thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for supporting this project.

Read some thoughts and comments on the Playpen 2009 process from Cathy Petch (playwright) and
Dave Carley (dramaturge).

Thanks to a grant from the Ontario Arts Council and Mysterious Entity’s submission contest for the summer of 2009, I was able to workshop my play “A Mean Thing”.

Before the workshop, I was put in touch with a Dramaturge, the renowned David Carley, who became both and advocate and a partner in playwriting. The workshop itself was 5 full days at Market Hall Theatre. They supplied
me with actors for all of the parts and we began with a read.

From that first moment I could hear what was and what was not working with the script. The director Em made it very clear that the actors were there to act, not to make suggestions. They would be allowed to ask me questions at certain allotted times. The suggestions for improvement came from Em Glasspool and David Carley. This very much helped the process as I found the few times where this was not enforced became very non productive.

Through work shopping, the strengths and weaknesses of the script presented themselves. I found that I had a lot of the same notes for myself that the director and the dramaturge did.

Being able to see the actors work with their characters made the weak ones very obvious. Seeing someone trying to occupy an unfinished work quickly made me want to defend and develop the lesser characters.

When I look at the script I began with and the draft I am currently submitting, I feel immense pride.  This will change the way I write, the way I think about a script and the method in which I would develop a piece. There are more levels to my script that I have yet to write, but I know that I will employ all that I have learned during Mysterious Entity’s workshop.

I would highly recommend this process to anyone who loves to write scripts.  Being open to work shopping made my writing stronger and my show something that I feel is at the height of my talents.

Cathy Petch


I had a blast working with everyone on the workshop of Cathy Petch’s play A Mean Thing. It was great to work with talented and committed theatre people who cared deeply about the work they were developing. And, of course, it’s always good to be back in Peterborough. But enough about me…

I think it was a very constructive couple of weeks for Cathy. The fact that we were able to front-end my involvement as dramaturge was extremely useful for Cathy. For starters, it nicely removed that horrific (for a playwright) feeling of walking into a rehearsal hall and seeing some alien beast entitled “dramaturge” who you just know is going to attack your play… Because of my pre-involvement, by the time Cathy and I began the formal part of the process at Market Hall it felt like we were old friends, and we’d had a couple of very useful person-to-person sessions as well as much email back-and-forthing. There was a good level of trust in place.

Em’s approach to the workshop was very protective of Cathy, and the text and, as a writer, I really admire that. She made it clear that the actors were (as one would later eloquently describe herself) “vessels” and they were there to help realize the words, but not rewrite them. That freed the actors to do what they do best, and Cathy to also do what she did best without umpteen quarterbacks.

The week-later staged reading was much more useful than the normal sit-and-read type event, as the audience was able to see something of a forming directorial vision for the play and just seeing the actors move about added clarity to the text and underlined some of its key components. It also pointed up some interesting non-textual choices that Cathy can and did make about movement.

Very, very impressed with the level of discussion afterwards, both with the insights but also with the level of supportiveness that the Mysterious Entity audience brought to the event. The first public outing of a play is when the playwright is most naked and raw. Cathy may not, in fact, mind being naked and raw most of the time, but I think she hugely appreciated the level of constructiveness that cocooned her at this event.

The Play Pen process moved A Mean Thing forward by leaps and bounds, a play has emerged and it is going to be fascinating to see what the future holds for it.

Dave Carley