About Us

How it Works!

Founded by Thatz Showbiz Theatre Project and funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation "3 Plays in 30 days" is a creation lab (that will be FREE of charge to its participants) where youth in York Region (and around the GTA) between the ages of 13 to 18 submit ideas for 1 Act plays about the youth experience as they see it. 3 play ideas are selected and those 3 youth become lead writers. Additional youth (13 - 18) will be selected through an audition and/or application process to participate as actors, directors, stage managers, set and lighting designers. Over a period of 60 days; 30 days for development and creation of the script itself and 30 days for rehearsal of the play (approximately 11 hours a week) the youth will work alongside the mentorship and guidance of professional writers, directors, actors, stage managers and technicians to bring these works to life. At the end of the 60 day process 3 fully produced plays will be mounted (with lights and set) at the Yorkwoods Theatre to an open audience.

Our Mission

We want all young people to have access to the ultimate creation lab to tell and create the stories they want to see and hear.  Through "3 Plays In 30 Days" we harvest creative expression, artistic skills, community connection and open the curtains so that all deserving youth have the exact same opportunity.  We want to represent diverse stories so special consideration will be given to trans, queer, young artists of color, female artists and Indigenous youth.

Meet the Mentors

These are some of the professional mentors the youth artists will be working with.  As new mentors join the team we will update their information here so keep checking back!

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Julia Lederer

Playwright Mentor

Julia is an internationally acclaimed playwright from Toronto. Recent productions include: a new version of With Love and a Major Organ (The Theatre @ Boston Court in LA, Ovation Recommended and Nominated for the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for theatrical excellence 2017), Reality Theatre (SummerWorks Performance Festival), Frame (Seven Collective in NY; Alumnae Theatre in Toronto), Spooning (InspiraTO Festival in Toronto; Midnight Summit Ensemble in Chicago; Midtown International Festival in NY), The Best Plan for Living Happily (VideoFag, Toronto), Reality Vision (Gi60 UK in Leeds), and With Love and a Major Organ (Strawdog Theatre in Chicago). With Love and a Major Organ was also the first (and currently only) Canadian play to receive a featured production at The Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Alaska (2017). It's published by Scirocco Drama.

Julia has developed work with companies including: Roseneath Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Driftwood Theatre (Jury Prize Recipient), and The Thousand Islands Playhouse. Currently she is the Associate Playwright for SMOOTHIELAND Performance Projects, a company creating Episodic Youth Theatre. www.julialederer.ca

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Hanlon McGregor

Playwright Mentor

Hanlon is a trans and queer writer/performer with a BA in Acting from Dalhousie University in 1993. Hanlon wrote and performed in theatre in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and also taught dance and movement to acting students at Memorial University. After moving to Toronto in 1995 Hanlon founded and ran an independent dance company called Touch of Tartan in Toronto for 8 years.

Hanlon feels his gender transition has allowed him to begin to feel comfortable in his own skin, not only as a person, but also as a theatre artist. He began writing monologues about his transition and performing at Buddies in Bad Times as part of curated events by Michael MacKidd. These monologues were based on his personal exploration of gender and coming out to himself as trans. This led directly to Hanlon writing the play Unexpectedly Trans (with Mihaly Szabados as co-writer) that premiered as a workshop at the Halifax Fringe in 2017. From the play Hanlon and Mishy developed and created the short film Holding Hands with the Awkward which will likely be released in 2018.

Hanlon is excited to be joining the team at 3 Plays in 30 Days because theatre can change the world and young writers and performers have new messages and these - especially plays about trans experience - need to be heard!

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Jeff Ho

Playwright Mentor

Jeff is a theatre artist, originally from Hong Kong. Most recently, he debuted his first play, trace, as part of Factory Theatre's 2017/2018 season, in association with b current, directed by Nina Lee Aquino as well as performing as Ophelia in Why Not Theatre's Dora-Nominated Prince Hamlet directed by Ravi Jain. Select Acting credits include: Hana's Suitcase (Tour: Toronto/Montreal/Seattle/YPT), Unknown Soldier (lemontree/Architect Theatre), Murderers Confess at Christmastime (OutsideTheMarch), Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet (Repercussion Theatre), The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu), Incorporated (SyFy/CBS), Orphan Black (BBC America).
As a playwright, Jeff is currently obsessed with adaptations of western classics: a new version of Antigone with Young People's Theatre and an exploration of interlingualism in Shakespeare's canon with Repercussion Theatre and Playwrights Workshop Montreal. He has held residencies with the Stratford Playwright's Retreat 2016, Nightswimming, Cahoots Hot House Unit, The Banff Playwrights Lab, and Factory Theatre. Jeff received a Harold Award 2017 ("harolded" by Brian Quirt into the House of Nadia Ross!) last year for his mentorship and community work in the theatre. Jeff is a graduate of the National Theatre School.
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Susan Cuthbert

Director Mentor

Susan Cuthbert is a director, choreographer, writer and performer.  Susan began her career as a dancer, then as Anne in Anne of Green Gables (Charlottetown Festival, Canadian tour, Canadian Cast recording). She is best known for playing the lead, Christine in the original Canadian production Phantom of the Opera    (Hal Prince, Director). Three years ago, Susan recreated four roles in CATS which she played in the original Canadian production. She has been nominated twice for Dora Mavor Moore Award.  Favourite roles include: Maria (Westside Story, Neptune),  Alice (Alice,YPT), Jacques Brel (Woman 1&2 (Canadian Tour), Dames at Sea (Ruby), Les Feux Follet (Dancer). Susan has played leads at Stratford (Susan Schulman, Director) and performed in concert with Mandy Patinkin, Colm Wilkinson and Michael Burgess. Last fall she was fortunate to work with Harold Green Jewish Theatre as Assistant Director, with renowned Artistic Director Robert McQueen on The Immigrant. Susan also recently was assistant director for Mirvish's Musical of Musicals and for Kerry Stratton's Brundibar (Toronto Concert Symphony).  Early in her career, Susan danced on many CBC Special but her recent acting TV credits include a recurring principle on Degrassi: Next Generation and recent film work, include Facilitator Film’s Understanding Sexual Violence.    Susan is excited to work with Sarah Magni, the Thatz ShowBiz team and all of the young talent for the 3 Plays in 30 Days!

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Alicia Richardson

Acting Mentor/Playwright Mentor

Alicia juggles her time between her three loves: acting, playwrighting, and voice coaching. As a playwright, she wants to celebrate and complicate the narratives of blackness. She is determined to bring much-needed laughter and empowerment to her people. Recent works include: How to Be Black (one-woman show: York University's Graduate Acting Program) Articulation (social satire: Obsidian Theatre Company's playwrighting unit), Sweeter(TYA play: Cahoots Theatre Company's HOT HOUSE Creator's unit). Upcoming: she will draft her next piece, Solve For X, as the Playwright-In-Residence of The Driftwood Theatre Group. Her current project Sweeter will have a workshop and staged reading in February 2019.

As Vocal CoachMa Rainey's Black Bottom (Soulpepper)Clybourne Park (Theatre Erindale); Really Really (Theatre Erindale); Tough! (York University); Hamletmachine (York University); Much Ado About Nothing (Dalmaji Amphitheatre); All in the Timing (Yeol Rin Art Hall).

As ActorShe Stoops to Conquer (Guild Festival Theatre); Judas Noir (BDB Productions); The Millennial Malcontent (Tarragon Theatre); Still (Binocular Theatre / Unit 102); The Baby (Storefront Theatre)

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Aaron Jan

Director Mentor

Aaron Jan is a Hamilton-born theatremaker. He is currently the dramaturgy intern at Cahoots Theatre and was an inaugural member of Factory Theatre's Foremen Directing Unit as well as a member of their Natural Resources Playwriting group in 2017. Aaron is also the director and co-writer of the critically acclaimed Silk Bath Collective, whose eponymous work had a sold out run at the 2017 Next Stage Theatre Festival and will premiering a new work in the fall. He has worked with Canadian Stage, Tarragon, Fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, Theatre Aquarius, and Native Earth Performing Arts in writing, directing, dramaturgical and mentorship capacities.

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Meghan Swaby

Acting Mentor

Meghan is an actor and playwright born and raised in Toronto. As an actor she’s worked with; b current, Necessary Angel, Blyth Festival, Roseneath Theatre, Birdtown and Swanville, Harbourfront Theatre/The Kitchen (NYC), Nightwood Theatre and Obsidian Theatre. Most recently she performed in the critically acclaimed and sold out run of Calpurnia written and directed by AudreyDwyer (Nightwood, Sulong Theatre). She is also the voice of Mrs. Bunty in the animated series Max & Ruby. As a playwright, Meghan recently participated at Stratford Playwriting Retreat and is a past Write from The Hip Participant. Her work was presented at The Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, as part of the inaugural 50in50: Writing women into existence. Meghan is an alumni of the International Actors Fellowship, at Shakespeare's Globe in London, England and received her BFA in Acting from The University of Windsor.

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Jenna Harris

Acting Mentor/Playwright Mentor

Jenna is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts theatre conservatory program in New York City. She is an actor, writer/creator, arts educator and dancer, and the Artistic Producer of Discord and Din Theatre. Jenna's play Mine had its premiere at the Next Stage Theatre Festival in Toronto. Jenna has been part of Studio 180 Theatre's inaugural IN DEVELOPMENT program, the Tarragon Playwrights Unit, Thousand Islands Playwright's Unit, as well as Playwright in Residence at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

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Samson Brown

Stage Managing Mentor/Acting Mentor

Samson Brown was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario.

Actor: Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls (Roseneath Theatre); Secrets Of A Black Boy (Playing With Crayons Productions); 11:11 A Monodrama in 7D (Watah Theatre)

Stage Manager: Judas Noir (Big Dreamers Brotherhood Productions); Mesh (Rhubarb Festival); Bleeders, She Mami Wata, Addicted, Oughtism (Watah Theatre); Bright Lights (Theatre Brouhaha/Fringe Festival 2016)
Production Manager: Lukumi (Watah Theatre); Judas Noir (Big Dreamers Brotherhood Productions); Munschtime! (Young Peoples Theatre/Obsidian Theatre Apprentice); Passing Strange, Master Harold and The Boys (Obsidian Theatre/Obsidian Theatre Apprentice)

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Sarah Magni

Artistic Director

Sarah has spent the majority of her life on the stage and has an extensive background in all types of performing arts. Sarah studied classical music with top vocal coaches and competed and flourished in vocal competitions from a young age. She performed for the Conservative Party of Canada and with the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra. She later shifted gears and went on to study Musical Theatre in New York City at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and The New School University (BFA Musical Theatre). Additionally, She studied and performed improv at the acclaimed Upright Citizen’s Brigade in NYC.

In New York City she performed in an Off-Off Broadway sketch comedy show and a tour with the Theatre Rehabilitation for Youth. She was a main puppeteer and performer in a number of NYC’s Shadow Box Theatre’s productions.

Sarah’s exploration of the arts led her to pen her one woman show, Stamped: A Story About Daniel, who Happens to have Autism that premiered at the Toronto Fringe Festival July 2012 and received rave reviews. From there, Sarah’s solo show was later performed for 500 4th year nursing students at Ryerson University and for the Autism Ontario National Conference. Sarah’s show most recently had a run at the legendary Kraine Theatre in New York City for Autism Awareness Month. Following the show’s success, Sarah had the great honour of being invited to speak on a panel at City College New York for their highly regarded Theatre Education program about theatre and disability.

She was a resident performer, singer and puppeteer with the world renowned Famous PEOPLE Players.

She has a firm belief in theatre as a tool to educate. empower and for social change and that's why she created "3 Plays In 30 Days."

Hayden

Hayden Finkleshtain

Assistant Director

Hayden has been the Assistant Director of Thatz Showbiz Theatre Project since its conception 6 years ago.

Hayden studied at the Ryerson Theatre School’s Acting Conservatory program.    Hayden also studied performance abroad in the beautiful Hydra, a Greek island.

Hayden has made it a mission to try as many styles and mediums of performance as he can – which in turn, he feels, makes him a much more understanding instructor. Hayden has had practical experience in: musical theatre, contemporary theatre, verbatim theatre, on-site theatre, voice work for soundtracks and animation, and film. He also enjoys writing his own work.

Hayden has performed for Nickelodeon Creative Advertising and Bristow Global Media among others. Currently he can be heard in Nickelodeon’s ‘Nationwide Make Safe Happen’ campaign and in the viral web series ‘Super Science Friends’ as the voice of Nikola Tesla.