Nightswimming Theatre

Exploring the Boundaries of Theatrical Storytelling

Nightswimming is an award-winning dramaturgical theatre company, established in 1995 by dramaturg Brian Quirt and founding producer Naomi Campbell, devoted to theatrical research, creation and performance. 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 is devoted, through the creation of these new works, to advancing the field of dramaturgy and play development in Canada. Nightswimming commissions, develops and workshops these projects but generally does not produce them. We seek out established performing arts companies as partners in an extended developmental process leading to premiere productions by our partner companies.

We are committed to conducting ground-breaking research in our field, and to supporting artists from across Canada through our Pure Research program.

Our critically acclaimed plays-in-performance 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 our commitment to research, creation and performance inspires these artists to create some of their best work.


Anita Majumdar biography – Playwright, Choreographer, Performer
anitaAn award-winning actress, playwright and dancer who has been profiled in magazines such as Vogue India, and Fashion. Anita attended the prestigious NationalTheatre School of Canada after moving from her native Port Moody, BC. A Dora Mavor Moore Award-nominated choreographer, Anita trained in Kathak and other forms of dance for over 15 years. Having debuted in the film Murder Unveiled, for which she was awarded Best Actress at the Asian Festival of First Films, Anita went on to other roles in television projects such as the CBC’s Diverted, Republic of Doyle, and Gavin Crawford’s Wild Wild West. She is a noted theatre actress who has graced the stages of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and other theatres across Canada. She was the only featured Canadian actress in Deepa Mehta’s film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012 and has since been seen worldwide. As a playwright, Anita was recently awarded the 2013 Governor General’s Protege Prize in playwriting under the mentorship ofJohn Murrell, with the support of the National Arts Centre and the Banff Centre for the Arts. Same Same But Different, a Bollywood-inspired musical written, choreographed and performed by Anita, premiered in early 2014 at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto and Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary. Anita also appeared as a judge on the OMNI/CityTV program Bollywood Star, a 2013 reality competition searching for Bollywood talent across Canada.

Emma Mackenzie Hillier biography – Curator 
emmaEmma Mackenzie Hillier is a dramaturg and producer based in Toronto. Emma graduated from the University of Windsor’s BFA – Acting Program in 2008 and relocated to Toronto where she began her career as an actor before swiftly switching gears to behind-the-scenes.

Over the last four years Emma has worked extensively as a stage manager, producer, assistant director, dramaturg, and general jill-of-all-theatre trades. From 2010 to 2013 she was the Grant Writer for Small Theatre Administrative Facility, and this past summer served as the Interim Executive Director. She is currently working with STAF on the National Arts Administration Conference, discussing indie theatre arts administration practices with artists and administrators from Vancouver to St. John’s. From 2011 to 2013 she worked as the Founding General Manager and Producer for Shakespeare in the Ruff, a critically acclaimed company dedicated to producing accessible and innovative Shakespearean works in Toronto’s East End; the highlight of which was producing Diane D’Aquila’s Directorial debut, Richard III in 2013.

Emma is the current Metcalf Foundation Intern Dramaturg and Associate Producer at Nightswimming Theatre, where she produced Brian Quirt and Martin Julien’s Why We Are Here and Heather Nicol’s flash mob Soft Spin. Recent dramaturgical credits include the award-winning production of He Left Quietly at the SummerWorks Festival; Intern Dramaturg on Same Same But Different, for which she built the dramaturgical website www.s2bd.ca; and The Maple Leaves by Heather Debling. Recent producing credits include Of Mice and Morro and Jasp for Morro and Jasp and Richard III and Two Gents for Shakespeare in the Ruff. Upcoming Emma is producing the Canadian premiere of Moment, by Deirdre Kinahan, for Actors Repertory Company, and the world premiere of Mine by Jenna Harris at the Next Stage Theatre Festival.

Brian Quirt Biography – Director & Dramaturg
brian 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.

Rupal Shah – Biography – Producer
rupalRupal has been Nightswimming’s Producer since 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, Rupal is also the Mentor/Apprentice Training Coordinator at Obsidian Theatre. She sits on the board of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) as the Director with the Cultural Diversity Portfolio and is a member of the Creative Strategies Incubator Advisory at the Metcalf Foundation.

In her other worlds, she is the Chair of the Board of Directors at the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP) and a member of the South Asian Advisory and Programming Committee at the Reel Asian Film Festival.