Tom McCamus stars as harsh writing teacher in Theresa Rebeck's searing literary comedy

A David Mirvish and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre co-production
Written by Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Stewart Arnott

The cast of Seminar. Photo by Dylan Hewlett.

Toronto theatre lovers take note: Theresa Rebeck's hit Broadway comedy Seminar has arrived at the Panasonic Theatre in a new production presented by David Mirvish and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Sharply written and solidly performed, this fast-paced battle of the wits is like the stage version of the cut-throat film Whiplash, about an abusive music instructor, except in this case fiction writing is the subject up for debate. Seminar originally opened in November 2011 at the John Golden Theater, with Alan Rickman playing the role of Leonard.

Set in present-day New York City, the story follows a group of four 20-something writers—Kate (Andrea Houssin), Martin (Nathan Howe), Izzy (Grace Lynn Kung) and Douglas (Ryan James Miller)who hire famous novelist-turned-editor Leonard (Tom McCamus) for a 10-week master class to be held in Kate's Upper West Side apartment. Each student has a pre-defined understanding of themselves and of each other: Kate is the brainy feminist, Martin's the cynical starving artist, the edgy Izzy uses sex to get what she wants, and Douglas is a pretentious ivy leaguer. But when Leonard shows up armed with a hardened attitude and brutal opinions about their work, the class becomes a hotbed of jealousy and sexual tension, as each wannabe novelist is forced to reconsider whether they are cut out for the difficult business of writing.

Featuring a modern set and costumes by Gillian Gallow, Seminar is chock-full of intelligent observations, piercing criticisms and surprising revelations. McCamus is insufferably entertaining as Leonard, and each member of the talented ensemble wholeheartedly owns their role. Rebeck's characters are instantly recognizable and relatable to anyone who has taken a writing course or even a university-level English class.

This is one darkly funny lesson in literature you don't want to miss. Seminar runs until December 6 at the Panasonic Theatre. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Sat, 2015-11-14 - Sun, 2015-12-06
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