As of September 2017, Meg Braem becomes the fifth artist to take up the Lee Playwright in Residence, following most recently in the footsteps of Colleen Murphy, who was also one of Meg’s former mentors.

The nature of the three-year residency allows the artist to split their time evenly between writing their own projects, and doing outreach with students and other artists within the community. As Colleen Murphy did with Bright Burning, so too will Meg begin working with the BFA Acting students on a commissioned play to be presented in 2020.

Previous Lee Playwright in Residence, Colleen Murphy, with the BFA Acting class of 2017, workshopping the commissioned play, Bright Burning.

“I’m excited to meet the class I’ll be writing for,” says Meg. “I’ve got a few ideas bouncing around, but it’ll be more solidified once I know who I’m writing for,” she says. “It is such a lucky circumstance to be put in, to write for a specific group of people.”

Meanwhile, Meg will provide mentorship to U of A student writers (including those participating in the U of A New Works Festival in January), as well as lead regular playwriting workshops open to the Edmonton community. This U of A Playwrights Forum has already begun, meeting Sundays from 1 PM – 3 PM at the Sandra Faye Guberman Reading Room (Rm. 3-136 in the Fine Arts Building, U of A main campus).

She invites anyone from the Edmonton community (even those who are new to writing) to come, share their work and receive mentorship. “I always want to offer the mentorship I’ve had. I feel like it’s my job to give the same kind of mentorship to other burgeoning writers.”

Meg’s plays have been nominated for the Governors General’s Literary Award and won the Alberta Literary Award for Drama, the Alberta Playwriting Competition and Playwright Theatre Centre’s “The News Competition.” Her work has been presented at Theatre Calgary, Lunchbox Theatre, The Belfry Theatre, Sage Theatre, Sparrow and Finch Theatre and others. A past playwright-in-residence at Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre and member of the Citadel Playwrights Forum, Meg is also co-director of the Alberta Theatre Projects Playwrights Unit.

Originally from British Columbia, Meg originally started as an actor, graduating from the University of Victoria with a degree in theatre.

“The first professional gig I got out of acting school was at this penitentiary in Victoria, hiring female actors to work with the inmates. And I thought the circumstances of that were more interesting than the play we were doing,” Meg recalls. “The parts I was getting weren’t that interesting. I realized I wanted to have more control, and tell stories that I want to tell. The very first play I wrote was about that experience.”

Making the decision to pursue playwriting, Meg moved to Calgary to pursue her MFA in Playwriting at the U of C. While in Calgary, Meg worked extensively with different companies including Alberta Theatre Projects and Lunchbox Theatre, and taught at the University of Lethbridge and the University of Calgary.

Her thesis project, Blood: A Scientific Romance, was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award in 2013. It’s already had two productions (Calgary and Saskatoon) and may be coming to Edmonton within the next few years.

Her newest play, Flight Risk, will premiere in October 2017 at Calgary’s Lunchbox Theatre, whose cast includes BFA Acting alum Kristen Padayas.

To participate in the U of A Playwrights Forum, contact Meg at megbraem@gmail.com.

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