Trish Cooper – 2021 Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency

Manitoba playwright Trish Cooper is finding some peace and quiet in Riding Mountain National Park to work on a new play, commissioned by the Prairie Theatre Exchange (PTE).

“I am really looking forward to having the time and space to write and focus,” Trish said. “Even though I try to build in the time in a busy life to write, the residency offers the absolute best time for a writer. A forced retreat. No internet! No people, no distractions.”

This won’t be the playwright’s first time staying at the Deep Bay cabin. In 2008, Trish spent two weeks in the Park as part of the very same residency, where she worked on her first full-length play.

The resulting work, Social Studies, was produced at the Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg in 2013 and then in Montreal and Vancouver. It was later published and won the Best Manitoba Play at the Manitoba Book awards in May 2016.

During this year’s residency, Trish will work on her new play called Children Special Services. Inspired by her own experiences as the mother of a child living with a disability, the play follows the loving, scattered, busy parents of a child with Cerebral Palsy and how they navigate social services bureaucracy and systems that hinder instead of help. She may also take some time to work on a new play, commissioned by the Royal MTC, that she will write with her partner Sam Vint.

“It’s a comedy about kidnapping! It is inspired by the frustration and hopelessness of dealing with the systems that parents have to work with when they have a child with a disability,” said Trish. “So many of these systems are incredible and helpful and lifesaving and some of them don’t work at all and make you feel helpless and desperate. Laughing yet? It’s a comedy, I promise!”

The Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency is offered in partnership by the Manitoba Arts Council and Riding Mountain National Park. The residency takes place in the Deep Bay cabin, a recognized federal heritage building originally used as a base for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s floatplane forest fire patrols.

Since its restoration in 2006, the cabin has welcomed over 100 artists in dance, music, theatre, literary, visual and media arts, who create and share their work with audiences in the park and surrounding area.

Interested in the staying in the Deep Bay cabin? Find out how to apply to the Riding Mountain Artists Residency through the Manitoba Arts Council’s Learn – Residencies program. Apply by November 1, 2021 for a residency in the summer of 2022.