Theatre 4.669 has become one of Ottawa’s premier new play development organizations. Since 2010, we have developed forty new projects working with over one hundred different actors, writers, designers, stage managers and theatre creators. The company has won six Prix Rideau Awards with eighteen nominations. We have also won three Fringe Festival awards, including two Best Productions.
We develop projects in four phases:
I = Experiment II = Develop III = First Performance Draft IV = Production
Phase I: Experiment
Projects begin their creative journey during our annual spring/summer Creators’ Lab. Following an application and interview process in April, we select three to five new projects to germinate, in studio, over four months (May to August). This is “Phase I” of our process. So far, almost half the projects from our Creators’ Lab have gone on to further development with Theatre 4.669, or with other companies, and half have been excellent professional development experiences. These projects have been aesthetically diverse and multilingual. We have developed works in English, French and Spanish (Inside Out Borders, 2020). We have explored site specific work, theatre for young audiences, playwright created plays, improv shows, puppetry, clown, dance based, opera inspired, and rock musicals. All forty projects have had unique development experiences that were driven by the artists involved and culminate in a small presentation to an invited audience, generally in mid-August. Following the presentations, next steps are determined after a conversation with the artist(s) involved. If all parties agree, the project moves to Phase II.
Phase II: Develop
Phase II takes the material discovered during Phase I and dedicates more hours of development between September and December following the summer Creators’ Lab. Then, in the new year, the project receives an intensive week-long rehearsal period and we invite an audience to a bare-bones staging/reading of the play. From the feedback and experience of the workshop, the project will undergo rewrites, rethinking and some reworking. This is our Phase II. This phase anticipates that the project will be moving towards a first performance draft, what we call Phase III.
Phase III: First Performance Draft:
After Phase II, 4.669 looks for an opportunity to perform a modest version of the work for a paying audience. To date, these opportunities have been within a festival context. We rehearse and perform the play for the general public. We call these our “first performance draft”. Phase III projects have included: Bifurcate Me (undercurrents 2011), We Glow (Ottawa Fringe 2012), Fucking Carl (Les Fêtes internationales du théâtre in Valleyfield, QC, 2014), Dicky Dicky Dream Factory (Ottawa Fringe 2017) Un-Countried (undercurrents 2017 & 2019). It is these Phase III presentations that have garnered multiple PRA nominations and awards.
In addition, other producers have picked up shows developed during Theatre 4.669’s summer Creators’ Lab for presentation in their theatres. These include: Araignée (Théâtre de l’Île’s Carte Blanche series 2012 & Fringe 2014), Bread (undercurrents & The Magnetic North Theatre Festival, 2012), Much Ado About Feckin Pirates (Perry Riposte Productions 2014, The Toronto Clown Festival 2015, undercurrents 2015), The Peptides’ Love & Hate (undercurrents and SummerWorks 2015), Little Boxes (undercurrents 2018), Entangled (Fringe 2019) and No More Mr. Rice Guy (undercurrents 2021).
It is our goal that projects will have developed far enough, by the end of Phase III, to be ready for a full production supported by an outside producing company or large festival. Theatre 4.669 has had three projects reach full production, what we call Phase IV.
NB: As a development company, Theatre 4.669 will creatively, financially and logistically support projects through to the end of Phase III.
Phase IV: Production
If a project moves to Phase IV, it is produced and financed by others, while the creative team remains 4.669 artists.
Moving beyond a small festival “first performance draft”, we then seek the support of theatrical partners to take one final step into a full production. Our creative projects are seeing success in this final phase. Note again, these “Phase IV Productions” are produced by separate companies, individuals or festivals. They are created by 4.669 but not produced nor financed by 4.669.
In 2014, We Glow toured to both the Winnipeg and Edmonton Fringe Festivals. While artist-funded, this project received rave reviews, and an invitation for an extended run after the Edmonton Fringe, an honour afforded to only six, of more than 200, shows. Because of the successful box office returns, the artists involved were compensated above CAEA minimums. In 2015, Bankrupt was given a full Equity run by Plosive Productions at the Gladstone Theatre. And in July 2016, Théâtre du Trillium produced Fucking Carl as part of their 2015/16 season. It enjoyed a successful run at La Nouvelle Scène and was remounted in February 2017. Théâtre du Trillium then toured Fucking Carl to Toronto, Kingston, Sudbury, and Hearst in 2018.
Theatre 4.669 believes in creative partnerships. Projects that have reached Phases III & IV have been connected to a dozen different producing partners.
Much Ado About