The Bryan Wade Brave New Play Rites Festival takes a brave new turn

Running from Monday, March 20 to Saturday, March 25, 2023, the Bryan Wade Brave New Play Rites Festival will dazzle audiences with a wildly diverse series of staged readings hosted for the first time by the Newmont Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre. Each night offers three or four brand-new half-hour plays, ranging from hilarious and heartfelt to innovative and provocative penned by an exciting crop of emerging writers from the UBC School of Creative Writing.

Now in its 37th year, the Festival has just officially changed its name to honor its influential and beloved founder, Associate Professor Bryan Wade, who passed away in February 2022. Bryan, who joined the UBC Creative Program in 1986 and was a playwright, screenwriter, and radio dramatist, was the driving force of the Festival. His mission to champion emerging playwrights continues in the Festival’s transition from full productions to staged readings of new plays. Inherently playwright-centered, the staged reading model this year has not only emphasized the writing process itself for the playwrights but has also precipitated invaluable professional connections for them.

Speaking to this new model, the Festival’s faculty advisor, Assistant Professor Leanna Brodie, says, “Thanks to our new partnership with the beautiful BMO Theatre Centre, and drawing on some of Vancouver’s finest directors and dramaturgs, we are introducing our diverse and multi-talented young playwrights to the professional theatre community.”

The Festival’s six-night run of 19 staged readings with a dedicated band of nearly 40 performers is led by prominent Vancouver directors, actors, playwrights, and dramaturgs: Pedro Chamale (Rice & Beans Theatre), Jasmine Chen, Lucia Frangione and Ming Hudson (award-winning nationally-produced independent creators), Keltie Forsyth (PuSh Festival), David Geary (Playwrights Theatre Centre), Stephen Heatley (head of UBC Theatre & Film), Shawn Macdonald (RealWheels Theatre), Jiv Parasram (Rumble Theatre) and Anais West (the frank theatre). The actors are drawn from UBC students and the larger theatre community. Creative teams were carefully chosen to reflect the wide range of the writers’ identities and aesthetics: this year’s line-up includes queer and BIPOC centered stories, new experimental work, thought-provoking tragedies, and side-splitting comedies.

“I’m most excited about the connections we’ve been forging for the emerging writers who are a part of this year’s festival. It has been a delight to participate in their process so far and see how this year’s brave new model allows them to grow and flourish as artists,” says Festival Producer Araceli Ferrara.

All tickets, available at, are Pay-What-You-Can/by donation.