Archive for the ‘Neil Fleming’ Tag

Helping The People Who Help The People Who Write The Plays   2 comments


This came in the form of an email from my old friend and brother in arms in the playwriting game, Neil Fleming, who is the current President of the Alberta Playwrights Network:

I’m wondering if we can hit upon your goodwill as an APN member playwright to participate in an event we have coming up on November 28th.

APN is turning 30 this year and we are trying to raise $30K in 30 days by asking for 1000 donations of $30.
On day 30, we are hosting a Birthday Bash with a playwright version of TV’s Chopped.
Chopped pits 4 chefs against each other. Each round they are given mystery ingredients and have to make a dish. Each round is judged, and one of the chefs is “chopped” from the competition until there’s a winner.

We plan to do “Turg-ed” where each donation of $30 allows you to buy a word (ingredient) for the four playwrights to make something out of. $300 for curse-words
Playwrights would have 30 minutes to incorporate things the best they can, and then they’re work would be read out loud.
One writer would be cut from each round until there’s a winner – but each “turged” writer would then become a ‘turge and join the judges.
There will be one event in Calgary and one in Edmonton.

We’d love you to be one of our Calgary Writers if you’re willing (and available on November 28th)

What could I say? I’m a sucker for punishment and the type of public humiliation that playwrights know probably better than anyone else. (Maybe other than goalies and placekickers?) I am also past president of the APN and so I am aware first hand of the great role this organization plays in helping Alberta playwrights get their work from page to stage.  Without their support, for example, my play Queen Lear would likely still be lying in ruins instead of being currently produced in Russia of all places. (I’m big in Russia, what can I say?)

It should be fun. If you check out the trailer below you will get a better idea of what’s in store Saturday evening. (Honestly, I’m still trying to get my head around it myself.) Clearly, I am the grey beard in this group, but I’ve been training hard and hope to be the last writer standing. Or sitting. Or drinking. Or whatever.

Should you be reading this and have no chance of making it to the event, don’t be afraid to go to the APN website and make a donation. 30 bucks sounds about right. It’s an investment in the future of theatre in Alberta, that is, the theatre that is created in Alberta, by Albertans, for Albertans and maybe even for audiences far away. That’s got to be worth 30 bucks, right?

The event takes place Saturday, November 28 at the APN offices WHICH HAVE MOVED — they are now at #208 – 331 41st Ave. NE. Doors open at 7:00, the writing commences at 8:00. There will be a silent auction. And a DJ. And there will be a bar.  At least there bloody well better be a bar!

For further info here’s the APN website:

There’s an online auction here:

And finally, just below, the trailer.

Thanks for reading!



bhouse_logosoloA number of years ago my friend Michael Finner and I started up a small publishing house in Calgary called B House. It has gone through good times and bad, happy and sad. It’s obviously interesting times in the publishing world. Everything is up in the air. Everything is topsy-turvy. The old rules no longer apply and no one really knows what the new rules are.

In this regard, we are certainly living in interesting times.

While we have been down, we have never really been out. And now, amazingly, we are having an omnibus launch of 5 new books this spring.

Here is the press release I wrote about the launch:

B House Publications is pleased to announce an Omnibus launch of 5 new B House publications featuring the work of some of Calgary’s finest writers. The books will be launched in one evening at Calgary’s Shelf Books, at the corner of 4th Street and 13th Avenue SW on Thursday, June 6 beginning at 7:00 PM.

The evening will be hosted by B House editor in chief, Eugene Stickland. There will be readings by our authors from their books, in the following order.

1. Neil Fleming will read from his play, “Last Christmas.”

2. Eugene Stickland will read from “Cartwheels,” a collections of letters written by Amy Doolittle chronicling her experience with ALS.

3. Virginia Nemitz will read from her volume of poetry, “Swans I have Known.”

4. Jude Dillon will read from his volume of poetry, “The Fractured Garden.”

5. Kirk Miles will read from his volume of poetry, his second with B House, “Hotel on the Cliffs of the Heart.”

There will be an intermission so our friends can look around this beautiful book store and mingle with the authors. There will be a reasonably-priced cash bar and some nibblies.  All in all, it will be a rare experience to launch so many books by so many great writers at the same event. Please share this with as many people as you can.

All of these books will also be (or have also been) launched individually by their author, so please check with them to see if there will be other events to celebrate these books. 

See you at Shelf Life June 6.


On the night, I will speak on the ever-changing mandate of B House and offer some insight into what I think is going on in the publishing world. I certainly invite friends in Calgary to take in this event and support our local writers.

There is a link to Shelf Life on the left side of this screen.

Thanks for reading.

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