Solo Collective

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Solo Collective is a Vancouver-based theatre company run by Aaron Bushkowsky and Marisa Smith that exclusively produces new Canadian plays.


Solo Collective began life as the Solo Co-op in 1999 with “Two By Two,” written by Aaron Bushkowsky and Shawn Macdonald. To date, Solo Collective productions have earned 30 Jessie Richardson Theatre Award nominations for writing, directing and performance, with six wins.

Solo Collective Theatre is celebrating its fifteenth year of commissioning, developing, and producing exclusively new Canadian work.

The company’s focus is on actor and text, with design elements that are spare but impeccably chosen to support the work. Solo Collective’s evenings of theatre are unique, intimate and completely original. For the past few years the company has produced full-length shows as well as an evening of one-act plays. Each year the company also produces a workshop reading of a new play open to the public. This reading is part of the company’s goal of new play development hopefully toward a full professional production.

In 2004 Solo Collective began its Annual Emerging Writers Competition. Held each spring this competition reaches out to emerging writers from across Canada. All applicants receive feedback on their work from two dramaturges, with the top four or five monologues being selected for ongoing dramaturgical assistance and a public staged reading at our SOLO FLIGHTS showcase evening.

In 2004 Solo Collective also initiated a Dramaturge Intern program to assist in the development of emerging dramaturges. Previous participants include Kris Nelson, Xanthe Faulkner, and Andrea Yu.

Solo Collective is a professional company that operates under the Canadian Actors' Equity Association ITA agreement, a registered charity, a Member of the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA), and an affiliate of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT).[1]

Current Season

Small Parts

Small Parts is inspired by playwright David Hudgins’ real life experience directing his mother’s first play about her talking and singing body parts, while learning that she was dying of ovarian cancer and dealing with his mentally ill sister. Funny, heartfelt and musical, Hudgins has taken this very personal story and created a theatrical memory play rich in little truths and big questions.[2]

Production History


by Anton Lipovetsky November 21, 2013 - Performance Works, Vancouver

A funny fusion of caffeine and romance with hipsters and wannabes, this play delivered an entertaining and romantic night out for anyone who has found themselves alone at Starbucks. Solo Collective’s first musical garnered raves from all the critics and broke box office records. “There’s a hipster hit in Cool Beans….” The Georgia Straight.[3]


by Aaron Bushkowsky November 20, 2012 - Performance Works, Vancouver

A man with a checkered past and a criminal record tries to reconcile with the memory of his parents as zombies after meeting the girl of his dreams in a vineyard in France. An imaginative and whimsical show that culminates with a battle between zombies and a ninja, and impossible love. “Playful Play With Monsters Kills at Performance Works” — Vancouver Sun Nominated for four Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards: Malcolm Dow (Sound Design), Aaron Bushkowsky (Outstanding Original Play), Karin Konoval (Outstanding Supporting Actress), Josette Jorge (Outstanding Supporting Actress). Josette Jorge with Andrew McNee. Directed by Rachel Peake; Stage Managed by Lois Dawson; Sound Design by Malcolm Dow; Lighting by Itai Erdal.[4]


by Aaron Bushkowsky November 22, 2011 - Performance Works, Vancouver

A down-on-her-luck school teacher tries to find love in Israel by making herself up to be a famous actress only to run into a wannabe script-writer soldier with many tall tales. After Jerusalem written by Aaron Bushkowsky, featured Andrew McNee as Vladimir and Deb Williams as Carol, the high school teacher from Saskatchewan. Playing to sold out audiences for the last weekend, After Jerusalem garnered many positive reviews. “Do you want to see some artists having a really good time? After Jerusalem is a banquet of pleasure. Playwright Aaron Bushkowsky and actors Deborah Williams and Andrew McNee don’t just chow down on the material, they roll around in it.”[5]


by Amiel Gladstone and Adam Underwood November 09, 2010 - Performance Works, Vancouver

Two short plays by playwrights Ami Gladstone (The Trolley Car), directed by Rachel Peake and Adam Underwood (Coffee Makes Me Cry), directed by Sarah Rodgers. Occupied Germany sets the background for a secret love affair in Ami Gladstone’s deeply poetic work, while comedy reigns supreme in Adam Underwood’s modern-day fable of a blind date that goes horribly wrong. Trolley Car (above), by Ami Gladstone, was performed by Emma Slipp (above) and Emelia Symington Fedy (below) and Raphael Kepinski. Directed by Rachel Peake this production was nominated for three Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards in 2011, Outstanding Direction by Rachel Peake, Outstanding Performance for Emma Slipp, and Outstanding Costume Design, Drew Facey.[6]


by Aaron Bushkowsky November 01, 2009 - Performance Works, Vancouver

Hollywood tries to save Africa from starvation when a director plans a documentary on needy Africans on the coast when things go horribly awry. Performed by Lindsay Angell and Andrew McNee (above), Sarah Rodgers, Alvin Sanders (above right), and Maiko Bae Yamamoto Directed by Rachel Peake Set by Yvan Morissette, Lighting by Jonathan Ryder, Video by Jamie Nesbitt, Costumes by Drew Facey, Sound by Michael Rinaldi, Production Managed by Jonathan Ryder, Stage Managed by Susan Miyagishima, Dramaturgy by Jan Derbyshire with Nicole Gordon[7]


by Lorena Gale, Dennis Foon, Ian Weir October 20, 2008 - Performance Works, Vancouver

Three short monologues by established playwrights Dennis Foon, Ian Weir, and Lorena Gale. My Acid Trip by Dennis Foon, directed by Camyar Chai, performed by Todd Thomson. The Voice by Lorena Gale, directed by John Cooper, performed by Mercedes Baines. Hope and Caritas by Ian Weir, directed by Rachel Ditor, performed by Jennifer Clement. Two Jessie Award Nominations Best Actor in a Lead Role, Todd Thomson (My Acid Trip); Outstanding Original Script, Dennis Foon (My Acid Trip) Set and Lighting by Yvan Morissette, Sound by Alexander Brendan Ferguson, Technical Direction by James Foy, Stage Managed by Noa Anatot[8]


by Victoria Maxwell, Jan Derbyshire, James O'Shea November 09, 2006 - Performance Works, Vancouver

Three stories about crazy people on the edge. Lifeline by Victoria Maxwell, directed by Jane Heyman, performed by Lara Gilchrist. The Audition of the Embarrassed Woman by Jan Derbyshire, directed by David Mackay, performed by Dawn Petten. Thbump by James O’Shea, directed by Del Surjik and performed by Derek Metz. Lara Gilchrist and Derek Metz, photos by Aaron Bushkowsky Set and Lighting by John Webber, Sound by Rob Parker, Production Managed by Chris McGregor, Stage Managedby Jaimie Tait[9]


by Aaron Bushkowsky February 08, 2006 - Performance Works, Vancouver

An exploration of the meaning of art and a darkly comic look at relationships among the living. Directed by Johnna Wright, Performed by Bill Dow, Chris Fassbender, Erin Mathews, Marilyn Norry, Laara Sadiq. Set and Lighting by Alan Brodie, Projections by Tim Matheson, Costumes by Sheila White, Sound by Paul Moniz de Så, Production Managed by Jayson McLean, Stage Managed by Caryn Fehr, Featuring the artwork of Brent Boechler, Victor Bonderoff, Sherry Cooper, Maggie Manning, Alice Rich, Wendy Smith, Nadine Surjik, Marti Wright Jessie Award Nominations Outstanding Set Design, Alan Brodie; Significant Artistic Achievement (Projections Design), Tim Matheson[10]


by Vern Thiessen, Alex Ferguson, Dorothy Dittrich May 10, 2005 - Performance Works, Vancouver

Three monologues about things that go bump in the night. Back to Berlin by Vern Thiessen, directed by Johnna Wright, performed by Scott Bellis. Two by Alexander Ferguson, directed by Johnna Wright, performed by Josh Drebit. If the Moon Falls by Dorothy Dittrich, directed by Sarah Rogers, performed by Bridget O’Sullivan. Set and Lighting by Del Surjik, Sound by Noah Drew, Production Managed by Terence van der Woude, Special Properties by Yayah Studios, Stage Managed by Anne Taylor Jessie Award Nomination: Outstanding Original Script, Vern Thiessen, Back to Berlin “Satisfying from start to finish… top-notch. …Some of our best writers, directors and actors at the top of their game.”THE VANCOUVER SUN[11]


by Aaron Bushkowsky, Kendra Fanconi, Amiel Gladstone November 01, 2003 - Performance Works, Vancouver

Secrets Three What’s the big secret? Three short plays come together to tell a story that is more than the sum of its parts. The Stone Boy by Aaron Bushkowsky, directed by Aaron Bushkowsky, performed by David Mackay, Jillian Fargey and David Beasely. Bonehouse by Kendra Fanconi, directed by Rachel Ditor, performed by David Beazely. Lena’s Car by Amiel Gladstone, directed by Rachel Ditor and performed by Jillian Fargey. Lighting by Alan Brodie, Set concept by Del Surjik, Sound by Amos Hertzman, Special Properties by Rob Lewis,Dramaturgy by Aaron Bushkowsky, Jennifer Lord, Produced by Johnna Wright, Stage Managed by Jessica Chambers Jessie Richardson Award: Amiel Gladstone, Outstanding Original Script, Lena’s Car[12]


by Jaan Kolk, David Mackay, Lucia Frangione December 10, 2002 - Playwrights Theatre Centre, Vancouver

Three original Christmas monologues…a surprising alternative to the usual Christmas fare. Wobbling Madonna by Lucia Frangione, directed by Craig Hall, performed by Sheelah Megill. Killjoy by David Mackay, directed by Johnna Wright, performed by Lois Anderson. Office Party by Jaan Kolk, directed by Del Surjik, performed by Bill Dow. Set & Lighting by Del Surjik, Sound by David Hudgins, Stage Managed by Caryn Fehr Jessie Richardson Award: Lois Anderson, Outstanding Performance, Killjoy Craig Hall, Outstanding Body of Work by an Emerging Director, including Wobbling Madonna Jessie Award Nominations: David Mackay, Outstanding Original Script, Killjoy Johnna Wright, Outstanding Direction, Killjoy Outstanding Production, small theatre[13]


by Aaron Bushkowsky, Dawn Petten, Jamie Norris January 15, 2001 - Performance Works, Vancouver

Three new monologues about loss… and life. Samaritan by Jamie Norris, directed by Patrick McDonald, performed by Michael P. Northey. Cusp by Dawn Petten, directed by Johnna Wright, performed by Sarah Susut. Between Mothers by Aaron Bushkowsky, directed by Tom McBeath, performed by Megan Leitch. Lighting and Set Design by Shaun August, Sound Design by John McCulloch Jessie Richardson Award: Significant Artistic Achievement, Jamie Norris, Patrick McDonald, Michael P. Northey, Samaritan “… accolades. That’s what the collective has been getting from audiences… How does a playwright hold our attention for a 30 to 40 minute one-hander? Let writers Dawn Petten, Jamie Norris and Aaron Bushkowsky count the ways.” VANCOUVER COURIER[14]


by Aaron Bushkowsky, Jaan Kolk, Meah Martin October 20, 2000 - Playwrights Theatre Centre, Vancouver

Three original monologues about sanctuary and self-doubt. The Waterhead by Aaron Bushkowsky, directed by Del Surjik and performed by Tom McBeath. Brown Wasp by Meah Martin, directed by Johnna Wright and performed by Wendy Noel. Love and DNA by Jaan Kolk, directed by Pam Johnson, performed by Kim Seary. Set and lighting by Del Surjik, Sound Design for Brown Wasp by John McCulloch, Stage Managed by Caryn Fehr Jessie Richardson Award: Outstanding Original Script: Aaron Bushkowsky, The Waterhead Jessie Award Nominations: Outstanding Performance: Tom McBeath, The Waterhead Outstanding Performance: Wendy Noel, Brown Wasp Outstanding Direction: Del Surjik, The Waterhead Outstanding Production[15]


by Aaron Bushkowsky, Shawn Macdonald November 14, 1999 - Playwrights Theatre Centre, Vancouver

Two new works about solitude and being a stranger in a strange land. The Promised Land directed by Katey Wright and Aaron Bushkowsky, performed by Alex Zahara. Uncle Exile by Shawn Macdonald, directed by Johnna Wright, performed by Shawn Macdonald. Set and Lighting by Del Surjik, Sound Design for Uncle Exile by Bruce Turpin, Sound Design for The Promised Land by David Epp, Stage Managed by Johnna Wright. Jessie Award Nominations: Outstanding Original Script: Aaron Bushkowsky, Promised Land Outstanding Performance: Alex Zahara, Promised Land “Two transcends. Poetic, sincere and with the perfect amount of levity, Uncle Exile and The Promised Land … celebrate the resilience of all those who leave home.” VANCOUVER COURIER[16]

Emerging Writers

Solo Collective often holds an Emerging Writers Competition. A call for submissions is sent out every January looking for new monologues written by emerging Canadian playwrights. The competition is currently on hiatus. Watch for further announcements.

All applications receive written feedback from two of our professional judges, and the top five entries are selected to receive ongoing dramaturgical assistance and a staged reading at our annual Solo Flights showcase evening.[17]

Previous Winners

  • Ken Cameron
  • David Copelin
  • Josh Epstein
  • Laura Farn
  • Ron Fromstein
  • Rebecca Harrison
  • Corrina Hodgson
  • Cornelia Hoogland
  • Katie-Ellen Humphries
  • Will Johnson
  • Raphael Kepinski
  • Matthew Kowalchuk
  • Erin Macklem
  • Tanya Marquardt
  • Victoria Maxwell
  • Susan Miyagishima
  • Kristina Murphy
  • Laura Nessler
  • James O'Shea
  • Nadia Pestrak
  • Jon Lachlan Stewart
  • Valerie Sing Turner
  • Miriam Westland
  • Peter Wilson
  • Sherry Yano[18]