Image: Anita Majumdar in Let Me Borrow That Top (Dahlia Katz)

Dramaturgy Resources

Dramaturgy is at the heart of Nightswimming. We’re very aware that this word and the range of work it describes can appear hard to define and is often invisible in the final production. You can read about our approaches to dramaturgy throughout this site, particularly in the ‘Dramaturgy and process’ section within each project page, where Brian provides a snapshot of some of the critical decisions made during the creation process.

Nightswimming’s dramaturgy can be explored in the following articles in which Brian expands on the company’s processes, values and history.

  • ‘Making Waves’ – Brian’s keynote address to the 2007 PACT Conference includes his description of the founding of Nightswimming and the development of City of Wine…plus a series of provocative challenges to the Canadian theatre community.
  • ‘Nightswimming and Process’ – A concise overview of how Nightswimming approaches dramaturgical work on a new project.
  • ‘The Art of Commissioning’ – As Brian comments in the introduction to this article published by Playwrights Workshop Montreal, he doesn’t recommend that companies commission new work, but here is why Nightswimming does it anyway, and the unique way we do it that puts the artist’s interests foremost.
  • ‘Work Quickly but Think Slowly’ – This article examines Pure Research’s impact in light of partnerships with Nordic theatre research organizations, relating lab work conducted in Reykjavik, Iceland, to Brian’s practice as a dramaturg and theatremaker.
  • ‘Dance and Dramaturgy’ – Brian’s article for The Dance Current examines his approach to dramaturgy with choreographic works, a process that continues to underlie Nightswimming’s interdisciplinary processes.
  • ‘Blue Note’ – The score for this music-based Nightswimming project was published in Canadian Theatre Review #140, with an essay on the dramaturgy and creation process by Brian and co-creator Martin Julien.

Brian has also written these articles that address a variety of dramaturgical issues and topics:

  • ‘Flashes of Red – Brian’s 2022 article for Danish publication Peripeti about ‘interference’
  • ‘Huge’ – Brian’s 2014 article for SpiderWebShow examines the scale of our City of Wine project…and how and why to think big – or, rather, huge – in order to get improbable projects on stage.
  • ‘Pure Research’ – Brian’s 2004 article in the Canadian Theatre Review addresses why performance research was so important to Nightswimming that the company established this initiative to fund it, and the program’s origins in Brian’s work at the Theatre Centre.
  • ‘Inclusion & Equity’ at the Banff Centre’s Playwrights Lab – Brian has written a series of articles about his work as Director of the Banff Centre Playwrights Lab. In addition to ‘Inclusion and Equity, these articles include: ‘Performing to a Changing Audience’; ‘Names Matter – Renaming the Lab’; and ‘First Drafts’.
  • ‘Journey to China – a dramaturgical adventure’ – Brian’s participation in the 2011 Congress of the International Theatre Institute is the inspiration for this essay exploring the complexities of international networking, and the experiences of a dramaturg abroad.
  • ‘Creating Reading Hebron’ – this 1997 article relates the dramaturgical process of developing Jason Sherman’s play Reading Hebron, dramaturged and directed by Brian and premiered by Factory Theatre in 1996. Although not a Nightswimming project, the article explores Brian’s early approaches to playwright-centric dramaturgy and creation process.

Nightswimming’s work has been the subject of the following articles and chapters in books about theatrical process and dramaturgy.

  • Dramaturgy in the Making: A User’s Guide for Theatre Practitioners by Katalin Trencsényi, 2015.
  • ‘Telling Stories Across Forms: An Interview with Brian Quirt’ by Yolanda Ferrato – in New Dramaturgy, 2014.
  • ‘Ecologies of Dramaturgy’ by Beth Blickers & Brian Quirt – in Theatre Topics, Volume 24/3, September 2014.
  • ‘Contemporary New Play Dramaturgy in Canada’ – in The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy, 2014.
  • Creative Expression, Creative Education by Robert Kelly and Carl Leggo, 2008.
  • ‘Pure Research’ and ‘Nightswimming’ articles in Developing Nation, edited by Bruce Barton, 2007.
Explore the field of dramaturgy in Canada and around the globe…

If you’d like to dig deeper into the world of dramaturgy, we’ve compiled these resources to support further exploration into dramaturgy, theatre making and innovative approaches to performance creation. We’ll periodically add to this list as Nightswimming encounters sites, companies and publications that illuminate ways of exploring how stories are told on stage and beyond.

These Canadian organizations offer dramaturgical resources and programs…
These organizations have inspired us and they might inspire you as well…