Banner photo of Simon Mallett leading a post show discussion after "Crime Does Not Pay" by falanafoto

Have a project in progress that is bold, inclusive, and asks complex questions about the world we live in? Maybe it’s more at the beginning stages and you need some outside support to make that idea kernel pop into popcorn. Or perhaps you’ve got the idea and you’re applying for grants and think a letter or support from an established theatre company would really help you nail it.

If so, Downstage is interested in you and your work! The Simon Mallett New Work Program is offering support to artists regardless of experience who do work that lines up with Downstage’s mandate of creating conversations around social issues. We’re not looking to groom a project to be in one of our future seasons – we simply want more of this kind of theatre created and out there.  Let’s open conversations that reflect the multiplicity of our communities, whether that’s here in Calgary or an artist’s home community anywhere in Canada.

This program is named for our founding Artistic Director Simon Mallett, who started Downstage in 2004 while he was completing his MFA in Directing at the University of Calgary. Simon’s strong commitment to supporting new work was evident in his contributions as a programmer, director and dramaturge for many Downstage projects including the World Premiere of Sharon Pollock’s Man Out of Joint, three collaborative works by the Downstage Creation Ensemble (Bust, In the Wake, Good Fences), and new scripts by Albertan artists such as My Family and Other Endangered Species, Benefit and the new musical Crime Does Not Pay. We are delighted to continue this legacy and grateful for his generous gift that makes this new work development program possible.

How to Apply

Application Form

We ask that you send your application via email to Artistic Director, Clare Preuss, at The list of questions can be downloaded here.

We also have created a sample application that took 2 hours to write to offer a sense of what we are looking for.


Please submit your proposal before October 1st, 2019 in order to be considered for Winter 2019 through Spring 2020 activities.

If your project is accepted

If your project is accepted, we will ask you to sign a short one-page agreement, which outlines:

-       How you can acknowledge our support,

-       What we want to know once you’re done, and that

-       We don’t get dibs!

Read the template for the agreement.

Due to the high volume of submissions, we do not offer feedback on any submitted material outside of accepted projects.

Check out examples of work past artists have done through this program:


Winners & Losers through Chromatic Theatre

  • 1 Week Creation Space in Motel

"...[Downstage's] support is a strong indication of the community's belief in our work - which goes a long way for the morale and growth of a young company. Additionally, the workshop space allowed us to free up resources to better support our artists, and keep our project moving forward. We used the time in Motel to complete a first draft of our script, which will now allow us to move confidently into the production phase of the project!" 

- Jenna Rodgers, Artistic Director of Chromatic Theatre

The Listening Room by Michaela Jeffery through Cardiac Theatre

  • 1 Week Performance Space in Motel

  • Financial Support for Playwright

"...[Downstage's] support will allow us to expand the scope and scale of our work in many ways. It will allow Michaela, the playwright, time to devote to further development of the script, provide a platform for Cardiac's work to be seen by new audiences, and support a redevelopment week between the Edmonton and Calgary productions of the show. This gift of time and space will be a enormous benefit to the production in deepening our exploration of the play and further refining this first professional production of Michaela's bold and fresh play."

- Harley Morison, Artistic Producer of Cardiac Theatre