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On January 13, 2015 Theatre Network lost their home of The Roxy Theatre – which left a hole in the arts community and on 124 Street in Edmonton.

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Morris Foundation/Theatre Network Fund for Commission of Plays

Theatre Network is pleased to announce a new fund for the commission of new plays with funding from the Morris Foundation.

The intent and purpose of the Morris Foundation / Theatre Network Fund for Commission of Plays is to support the creation of scripts focusing on work relating to mental health and/or addiction. This fund was started with a generous donation from the Morris Foundation; a private foundation that supports innovative, evidence-based activities addressing mental illness and addictions in the youth population. This Fund will support the commissioning of Canadian playwrights and the development of new theatrical work that helps us better understand mental health issues and experiences.

The Morris Foundation and Theatre Network are pleased to announce the first commissioned playwright: Colleen Murphy and her new work entitled, Joan Upside Down.

Colleen Murphy is a playwright, filmmaker and librettist, born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec and raised in Northern Ontario. Her play Pig Girl (world premiere at Theatre Network) won the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award for English Language Drama as well as the 2014 Carol Bolt Award.  The December Man / L’homme de décembre won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for English Language Drama, the CAA/Carol Bolt Award and the Enbridge Playwrights Award.  Other plays include The Breathing Hole (shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize U.S.), The Society For The Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius (winner of six Jessie Richardson awards), Bright Burning, Armstrong’s War, The Goodnight Bird, Beating Heart Cadaver (shortlisted for a the 1999 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama), The Piper and Down in Adoration Falling. Twice she won awards in the CBC Literary Competition for Fire-Engine Red and Pumpkin Eaters. Libretti include Oksana G., composed by Aaron Gervais for Tapestry Opera, and My Mouth On Your Heart, composed by August Murphy-King for Toy Piano Composers and Bicycle Opera, as well Tapestry Briefs, including Bring Me The Head Of Our President (c. August Murphy-King), Hydrophis Expedition (c. Benton Roark), The Snow Globe (c. Ian Cusson) and My Eyes Are Bright And Sparkly (c. Rene Orth). Her distinct, award-winning films have played in festivals around the world. They include Girl with Dog, Desire, Shoemaker and The Feeler. In 2010 and 2011, Colleen was the Canadian Playwright-in-Residence at Finborough Theatre in London, U.K.  She has been Playwright-in-Residence or Writer at many theatres and universities including the Lee Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, 2014-2017. Recently Colleen was awarded a Canada Council New Chapter Grant to write a new six-hour play Geography of Fire / La Furie et sa géographie and also received the 2019 Playwright Guild of Canada’s Lifetime Membership Award for her outstanding body of work. Upcoming: Fantasma libretto (c. Ian Cusson) for the Canadian Opera Company, November 2020; feature film Armstrong’s War, release date 2021, and book for a new musical with Leslie Arden for 2020/21.

The commissioned play: Joan Upside Down
17-year-old Joan is stuck in family of brothers with substance abuse and dead end jobs on the oil fields. She suffers night terrors – visions of devastation so terrible she wakes up screaming. Joan is prescribed medication. She joins a school climate crisis protest and, inadvertently, she makes an impassioned speech that ends up on the local news. This angers her father and he kicks her out. Joan heads for the city. During a protest she curses out Thomas, a young, rich oil executive who is as obsessive as she is. She convinces him that what she sees in her mind’s eye is real…but Thomas’ boss is not happy. Joan knows that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, put there by the very people she helped save, but Joan believes the world has changed since the 15th century. Has it?

Joan Upside Down will be produced by Theatre Network in a future season at the New Roxy Theatre.

You can make an impact in the future of this program by donating through the Edmonton Community Foundation. With your support The Morris Foundation, ECF and Theatre Network can continue to provide opportunities for more Canadian playwrights.

“How an innovative Edmonton theatre company hopes to change the way we view mental illness and addictions”
ARTICLE: Morris Foundation

For more information on The Morris Foundation visit –
This endowment is set up through the support of The Edmonton Community Foundation