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Funding Female Stories


Soulpepper Theatre Company is thrilled to announce the receipt of a major grant for $250,000 from The Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation to elevate the voices of female playwrights at Soulpepper and contribute to the advancement of equity in the Canadian theatre cannon.

In 2020, Soulpepper launched its Six Women Writing initiative, which supports the development of new works by Canadian women and non-binary playwrights. In fall 2021, new works commissioned by the Six Women Writing program were presented in partnership with Harbourfront Centre at the first ever Her Words Festival. As a principal donor, this generous grant from The Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation allows Soulpepper to significantly expand the scope of both these exciting initiatives, solidifying new commissions, bringing on new creative teams, and undertaking an exciting ‘Rising Stars’ mentorship program for emerging artists and creators. Audiences will be able to engage with these new works in the 2023 Her Words Festival programming, which promises to be an even more exciting event celebrating female playwrights – with staged productions, new work readings, expert panels, and mentorship opportunities for selected artists.

“We are deeply grateful to The Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation for this generous gift that furthers our commitment to the development of stories by women and non-binary artists on stage,” said Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director of Soulpepper. “This includes creating opportunity and a platform to elevate voices which have historically been underrepresented in the plays presented by the performing arts sector in Canada. This September, the first of those commissions, Queen Goneril by Erin Shields, will be presented in repertory with King Lear. As a principal donor, support from the The Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation ensures investment in a continued pipeline of new commissions that will reach our stage and stages across the world, while also providing new opportunities for female directors, actors and production professionals."

Further programming for the 2023 Her Words Festival will be announced at a later date. To learn more about the Six Women Writing program or the Women Centre Stage donor program visit

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