Segal Centre Jewish Arts Mentorship (J.A.M.)

We've just completed our third year of J.A.M. with an inspiring Cohort. View their end-of-year showcase live stream on Facebook and YouTube on June 22 at 6 p.m.

What is the Segal Centre J.A.M.?
The Segal Centre for Performing Arts is Montreal’s premiere English-language theatre. Over the past ten years, the Segal Centre has grown in its reach, garnering international attention for its new creations and its seasons’ overall excellence. It is also an important cultural resource for the Montreal Jewish community that offers programming celebrating and exploring the Jewish experience. Now the Segal Centre wants to help you as an emerging artist reach the next steps in your artistic career.

The Segal Centre’s Jewish Arts Mentorship (J.A.M.) is an initiative created to help you develop as an artist by fostering your skills, knowledge, and by providing valuable professional networking opportunities. In these unprecedented times, it is especially important to support emerging artists as the performing arts world goes through this critical period.  

J.A.M. seeks to support emerging theatre makers (writers, directors, stage managers, performers, etc.)  of any age who are working on projects with Jewish themes or who are engaged in issues of Jewish identity. Four candidates were chosen, to make up the third J.A.M. cohort.

This year the program ran for seven months (December 2020-June 2021) and included one-on-one artistic mentorship, group workshops on Jewish identity and the arts, and final presentations by each artist.

What happens over the mentorship’s year?

The Segal’s J.A.M. focuses on a series of one-on-one mentoring and group meetings to help emerging artists explore their Jewish identity and achieve their artistic goals.

  • Each J.A.M. fellow is offered monthly individual meetings with Artistic Mentor Caitlin Murphy to create a personalized ‘strategic plan’ to identify your project’s goals, steps needed to achieve them, and support you in developing your creative work to the stage you intend to complete by program’s end.
  • Monthly group discussions on Jewish identity and the arts. These meetings are facilitated by the Segal Centre’s Jewish Programs Manager Sivan Slapak, with invited guests from the Jewish and Arts spheres. They are an opportunity to receive peer feedback on your creative work, engage in topics of shared interest, and build an artistic community.
  • Opportunity to connect with Segal staff with expertise in different relevant fields to assist you in professional development;
  • Networking opportunities into the larger professional arts world;
  • Access to Segal rehearsal space, following health protocols.
  • Becoming part of the Segal Centre community, invited to some virtual events as well as in-person productions when relevant.

How will this J.A.M. year be different?

Due to the pandemic, this year the program will be held primarily, if not completely, in a virtual space. We hope to have some in-person meetings outside in warmer seasons, and possibly inside when that conforms to health and safety guidelines and comfort levels. For now, the plan is for meetings and the final showcase to be online.

Among other aspects, the current situation has affected access to theatre and rehearsal spaces, and a shutdown of live performance, making shifts in artistic work necessary. In this changing landscape, artists and industry workers have shown incredible creativity, resilience, and solidarity with one another.

Given this, the emphasis of this year’s mentorship will be on the importance of building artistic community. We will have an opportunity to have an ongoing conversation about the development of our creative work and themes of shared importance, offer peer feedback, and engage deeply with the concept of what it means to work in the performing arts at this time.

Who can apply?

The Segal Centre J.A.M. is an inclusive program that aims to unite a group of strong, diverse voices fitting the following criteria:

  • Emerging artist of any age in the performing arts (writers, directors, stage managers, performers, etc.)
  • Living in Montreal or surrounding area, or with a strong connection to the city.
  • You do not have to be Jewish to apply and we welcome all candidates. However, your project must engage with Jewish themes, and do recognize that the mentorship year focuses on Jewish identity and the arts.

We welcome candidates of diverse backgrounds and intersectional identities. This could include but is not limited to people from racialized communities, interfaith families, LGBTQ2+, gender non-conforming and people with disabilities. We are looking for artists who are passionate about their work and enthusiastic about being part of this mentorship opportunity!

Chosen candidates will receive a $750 stipend for the year.

Submissions for the 2020-21 year are now closed. For more details about JAM, contact Sivan Slapak at


Thanks to the 2019-20 cohort: Erin Brahm, Yael Silver, Roger White

See previous cohorts here.

With the generous support of


JAM cohort of 2021


Brandon Adam is a playwright, librettist, and novelist from Montreal. Plays include The Twitter Wars (Doghouse Ensemble Theatre) and Super Ego. Musicals include Mrs. Dalloway (Music and Lyrics by John Coyne; adapted from the novel by Virginia Woolf). Brandon recently completed his first novel and will soon begin work on his second. He holds a BA in Acting from Pace University and is currently completing his MSt in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge.

Brandon Adam

Raised in Mont Clare, Pennsylvania, Marissa Blair began her performance career in 2003 as an actress with the Philadelphia Irish Repertory Theatre. Settling in New York City in 2005, she earned a bachelor’s from The New School and an MA in Performance Studies from NYU. Marissa performed in many art films and live installations, while also presenting original experimental performances in theatres, galleries, and festivals across NYC. After performing internationally with Ann Liv Young Dance Company, and teaching elementary school in Manhattan, Marissa relocated to Montreal - first appearing in Daughters Of Mile End (Labyrinth Theatre Company). Shortly thereafter, she created 15 Deaths in 15 Minutes (Festival de la Bête Noire), Antonin Artaud’s Spurt of Blood (St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival), Triptych (Festival de la Bête Noire), and since March 2020, has starred in and created many virtual art performances. Marissa is an administrator at Espace Freestanding Room, an organizer of Freefalling Monthly, and Artistic Director and co-founder of Mad Paradox.

Melissa Blair

Hershel Blatt is an actor and writer born and raised in Toronto. He has worked between stage and screen with acting credits that include: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Universal), What Would Sal Do? (Crave), The Education of Fredrick Fitzell (Resolute Films), The Boys (Sony/Amazon), A Bear Awake in Winter (Next Stage Theatre Festival), as well as workshops of new plays at Canadian Stage and Theatre Direct. This fall, he wrote, produced, and acted in the short film Different Kinda Summer, which is currently in post-production. He is also currently developing his play Ahava Later with Winnipeg Jewish Theatre. Hershel is a graduate of Etobicoke School of the Arts and the Sheridan/UofT Theatre & Drama Studies program. He is pumped to be part of J.A.M. and hopes to continue exploring new work that investigates Queer-Jewish identity.

Herschl Blatt

Debora is a director, choreographer, and writer based in Montreal. After completing her Master’s Degree in Education and Society at McGill University, she chose to pursue a career in theatre directing and education. She is a proud alumni of Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program and has expanded her theatre education through workshops with Quebec Drama federation, Imago theatre, and Mainline theatre. She recently co-founded Contact Theatre, an independent company focused on boundary pushing musical theatre. Contact’s 2020 production of Chicago, which Debora directed and choreographed, was sadly cancelled due to COVID-19. She also works at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts as a part of the communications team and as one of the Academy instructors. Her most recent projects include: Director-Choreographer for Bonnie and Clyde (Contact), Chicago (AUTS), and The Addams Family (WISTA). Debora was also honoured to work with Amy Blackmore as Assistant Director and Choreographer on Rocky (Mainline theatre). Debora is excited to explore more about her identity as a Jewish artist and writer through the Jewish Arts Mentorship program and looks forward to hopefully completing her first full show How to Be a Jewish Daughter.

Debora Friedmann