Brian Quirt

Artistic Director


Rupal Shah


Support Nightswimming by making a charitable donation via this link...

Donate Now Through!

Please help us...!




Celebrating 15 years of exploring the boundaries
of theatrical storytelling...

Nightswimming is an award-winning dramaturgical theatre company, established in 1995 by dramaturg Brian Quirt and producer Naomi Campbell, devoted to developing new plays, performance works and dance. We explore new forms by commissioning Canada's leading artists in the fields of theatre, music and dance. We create powerful, moving and beautiful works of performance, and pursue the study of stories and how they are told in the theatre.

Nightswimming commissions, develops and workshops these projects but does not produce them itself. We seek out established performing arts companies as partners in an extended developmental process leading to premiere productions by our partner companies. Nightswimming is devoted, through the creation of these new works, to advancing the field of dramaturgy and play development in Canada.

Nightswimming is dedicated to theatrical innovation.
Our critically acclaimed plays-in-production explore challenging theatrical forms and emotionally rich stories with bold visual style. We commit to long-term relationships with our writers and provide them with the tools they need: substantial commissions; readings and workshops; high calibre actors; research; colleagues from the areas of design, choreography and music; on-going dramaturgical support; and a developmental process that is ideally suited to their requirements. We believe this approach will inspire these artists to create some of their best work.

Why Nightswimming is Unique
We give writers invaluable space in which to create, free from the pressure of most deadlines. While they're working, we act as a broker, seeking out the ideal theatre company for the new work, and convincing them to eventually produce it. We give the writer an unfettered opportunity to create and we offer producing theatres shows that they couldn't have developed themselves.

We work with established artists such as playwright Judith Thompson and choreographer Julia Sasso; award-winning novelists like Jane Urquhart and Michael Redhill (a Giller Award nominee); and new writers such as Anosh Irani (whose second novel - The Song of Kahunsha- was recently published by Doubleday), and Anita Majumdar, star of Bombay Black and the talented writer/performer of Fish Eyes.

Nightswimming offers these talented artists the rare opportunity to create a new piece through a substantial commission. We surround them with the best collaborators in the fields of theatre, dance, design and music and the means to work on their dream project.

A Commitment to research and dramaturgy
The Nightswimmming Pure Research program – in association with the University of Toronto's Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama – challenges artists from across Canada to investigate new ideas in dramaturgy. We provide space, money and resources for studio-based research into provocative theatrical questions of form and performance.

Educational Partnerships
Nightswimming is committed to mentoring students, providing internships to emerging artists and establishing partnerships with theatre training institutions.

City of Wine
Our major project from 2006-2010 has been Ned Dickens' seven play cycle CITY OF WINE, which we developed through an innovative partnership with nine theatre training institutions across Canada. Please see Current Events for the latest information.

Recognized by our Peers
Since 1995 Nightswimming has been recognized by the arts and cultural community with 7 Dora Awards, 3 Governor General's Award nominations, 17 Dora Award nominations, and 4 published scripts. Artistic Director Brian Quirt has received the Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Dramaturgy in North America in 2003 and 2009. Founding Producer Naomi Campbell was the 2009 recipient of the Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Arts Administrators and the Toronto Vital People Award, both for her sustained contributions to and leadership in the arts community.

Nightswimming's works have premiered at Canada's leading theatre companies, toured the country and appeared at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, On the Verge, Canada Dance Festival, Alberta Theatre Project's playRites Festival and Harbourfront's World World Stage and World Moves Dance Series.

Visit Us
Our office is located in one of the most exciting urban developments in Toronto: Artscape's revitalization of the Distillery District. We are sharing with two of the city's most acclaimed theatre companies, DVxT Theatre and Modern Times Theatre. As well as bringing us together in one complex with dozens of Toronto's performing arts companies, the new office enables us to hold play readings and meetings in our own space. Visit us if you're in the area!

Please join us – as audience, patrons and colleagues – as we search for unique ways to tell powerful stories.

Brian & Rupal




Rupal Shah

Leora Morris
Intern Dramaturg

courtesy of
George Cedric Metcalf Foundation

Writers in Residence

Anita Majumdar

Colleen Wagner

courtesy of
OAC Playwright Residency program


Board of Directors

Terry Raininger

Linda Keyworth


maxine bailey

Colin Rivers



Company Principals

Brian Quirt
Artistic Director

In addition to his work with Nightswimming, Brian was President of LMDA (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas) from 2006-2008 and continues to serve on its Executive as Past-President. He has received the LMDA's Elliott Hayes Award for Dramaturgy twice in recognition of his work in creating and directing Nightswimming, and for his dramaturgical work on CITY OF WINE. He was nominated for Dora Awards for Outstanding Direction for his work on Andy Massingham's ROUGH HOUSE (2005) and Don Druick's THROUGH THE EYES (2003) at Factory Theatre. He gave the keynote address at the 2007 PACT Conference (Professional Association of Canadian Theatres.

His production of Pierre Brault's PORTRAIT OF AN UNIDENTIFIED MAN premiered at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 2005, and has since been seen in St. John's at Magnetic North 2006, at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, and London's Grand Theatre. It was revived in 2009 and toured to New Zealand's Christchurch Festival. In April 2008, he directed the premiere production of Brault's 5 O'CLOCK BELLS at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, and his productions of BOMBAY BLACK and ROUGH HOUSE embarked on Canadian tours. 5 O'CLOCK BELLS has been revived for tours to the Grand Theatre, Toronto's Luminato Festival, Winnipeg's Manitoba Theatre Centre, Whitehorse's Yukon Arts Centre and the Banff Centre for the Arts.

His writing and directing work includes Tarragon Theatre (directed Jason Sherman's AN ACRE OF TIME - Governor General's Award nomination; adapted and directed THE WHIRLPOOL, based on the novel by Jane Urquhart); Factory Theatre (directed Don Druick's THROUGH THE EYES, Jason Sherman's READING HEBRON and Sean Dixon's THE EPIC PERIOD); Theatre Passe Muraille (writer and director of THE DEATH OF GENERAL WOLFE); The Hugh Bris Co. (directed Michael Healey's KICKED in Toronto and on tour across Canada and in Australia); Great Canadian Theatre Company (KICKED, Jason Sherman's AN ACRE OF TIME and Sean Dixon's FALLING BACK HOME); Modern Times Theatre (co-adaptor of AURASH; Dora nomination for new play; recently toured to Cuba, Bosnia and Iran) and Nightswimming (Don Druick's THROUGH THE EYES).

His Factory Theatre production of THROUGH THE EYES was showcased at the 2004 Magnetic North Festival in Edmonton following a second run at Factory, and then played for five weeks at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque.

Brian was Dramaturg at Toronto's Factory Theatre from 1998 -2004 and at the Theatre Centre from 1992 to 1999; prior to that he worked at the Canadian Stage Company in a variety of dramaturgical positions. He has also worked as a dramaturg for many independent companies and artists and specializes in dance and choreographic dramaturgy. With Factory Theatre, his ongoing collaborations included new plays by Linda Griffiths, Claudia Dey, Michael 0'Brien, Hiro Kanagawa, Anosh Irani, Celia McBride and many others. He established the Factory Theatre Playwrights Lab, and helped create Factory's acclaimed CrossCurrents Festival devoted to writers of colour.

Back to top ^

Rupal Shah

Rupal was appointed Nightswimming's Producer in August 2010 following two years as the company's Associate Producer, during which she played a major role in administering the City of Wine Festival. She brings not only an in-depth knowledge of Nightswimming to her new position, but a wealth of experience from Toronto's independent performing arts community.

In addition to her work at Nightswimming, her current associations include serving as Producer for DVxT Theatre (including their multi-Dora Award winning production, The Turn of the Screw), the Training & Apprenticeship Coordinator at Obsidian Theatre, and the Community Outreach Coordinator at Pleidies Theatre.

As a freelance administrator, Rupal has worked with Theatre Ji, Aluna Theatre and Nightwood Theatre. She has worked in community outreach for the Janek Khendry Dance Company and inDANCE. Rupal was the Associate Producer at the Classical Theatre Project and the Toronto Youth Theatre, as well as a freelance stage manager, production manager and tour manager.

Back to top ^

Ned Dickens
Playwright in Residence

As a Playwright Ned’s staged credits include: OEDIPUS (Under the Gardiner Expressway by DIE IN DEBT. 2 Dora Mavor Moore Awards including Outstanding Production); BEO’S BEDROOM (YOUNG PEOPLE'S THEATRE, GRAND LONDON, NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE, & THEATRE NEW BRUNSWICK; Dora Award, Chalmers Award nomination); ICARA (ANANKE THEATRE. Dora Award nomination. NOW Magizine's top ten of 2000.); THE STAR CHILD (A libretto for THE CANADIAN CHILDREN"S OPERA CHORUS, Harbourfront Centre. John Greer, Composer); HORSE (THE THEATRE CENTRE). For Television: six episodes of the highly successful ROLL PLAY series (Treehouse). For CBC Radio Drama: BEO’S BEDROOM, LUKE AND THE BIG CIRCLES (Gold Medal, The New York Festivals), CHEESE MAGIC, and LUKE AND THE TERRIBLE THING.

Ned was, for a while, a regular contributor to RICHARDSON’S ROUNDUP on CBC Radio 1. Ned taught high school for seven years. He has also taught Creative Writing at St Lawrence College, served as Playwright in Residence at the National Theatre School and at Nightswimming, amongst others, and designed and delivered innumerable workshops for groups including the Toronto District School Board, Queens University, George Brown College, the Green Party of Canada, and various corporate clients. He lives in Kingston with his wife and two children.

Back to top ^

Anita Majumdar
Playwright in Residence

Anita is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and has a degree in English, Theatre, and South Asian Languages from the University of British Columbia. A member of the 2004/05 Tarragon Writer's Unit, Anita was also one of three playwrights across the country invited to be part of the Vancouver Playwrights Theatre Centre's inaugural program, The News. Additionally, her self-written/self-performed solo show Fish Eyes (Dora nominated) has been acclaimed across Canada and internationally and continues to tour regularly. Most recently she toured her latest solo show The Misfit (Dora nominated) in a development tour across Canada including the PuSh Festival for Performing Arts in Vancouver and HATCH Emerging Artist Projects at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The Misfit premiered at Theatre Passe Muraille.

Acting credits include: Bloom (Modern Times Stage Theatre), Bombay Black (Cahoots Theatre), and Tales from Ovid (Centaur Theatre). Film credits include: Murder Unveiled for which she received the Best Actress award at the Asian Festival of First Films in Singapore. Additionally, she accepted an award from Premier McGuinty (Ontario) for her contribution to the South Asian performing arts as well was one of fifty artists invited to celebrate the Canada Council for the Arts' 50th Anniversary with Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean. Anita is the 2009/10 Playwright in Residence at Nightswimming Theatre where she will work on her latest work, Aisha n' Ben, which underwent a workshop production earlier this spring with the support of the 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad.

Back to top ^