Neurodiversity Arts Conference

The Neurodiversity Arts Conference is a variety of arts and theatre-based workshops taking place across 3 different venues (and virtually) in Winnipeg, Manitoba on December 3, 2022.

The Workshops

Stand-Up Comedy Workshop

with Lara Rae

Premise, Set Up, Punchline. Lots of folx have funny ideas but there is a certain craft needed to leap from funny in your room, to funny in any room and Lara Rae an award-winning comic and producer has the tips. Comedy thinking is by definition neuro diverse now all you need are the practical strategies to win friends and influence laughter. All skill levels welcome.

Lara Rae has been producing, performing, and talking about comedy since before most of us were born and she is eager to bring her one-of-a-kind trans brain to the task of flooding the world with more stand-up. Make Jokes Not War. For a list of all her many accomplishments just spend five minutes with her and she is sure to humblebrag them all.

Time: Saturday, December 3, 2022 | 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: Creative Manitoba | 4th Floor, 245 McDermot Ave. #300

Visual Arts Workshop

with Angela Taylor

Join Angela Taylor, neurocomplex visual artist for an intimate discussion of neurodivergence research and art, and an exploration of art techniques featuring:

  • Using multiple layers and bold colours
  • Using multiple techniques in one painting
  • Using real-life, people and things that inspire you
  • Exploring creativity and flow
  • Pushing the limits of what you know

Canvas, acrylic paint, and medium included. Please wear clothing that you don’t mind being creative in.

Time: Saturday, December 3, 2022 | 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: MAP (Manitoba Association of Playwrights) | 4th Floor, 100 Arthur St. | ARTSPACE

Playwrighting! (Virtual Workshop)

with Frances Koncan

Writing plays is hard. Let’s talk about it. In this workshop we will explore the craft of playwriting, looking at how it has been traditionally taught so that we can more effectively ignore all the rules and begin writing a play that actually means something to you and honor your lived experience and all the wisdom you bring to the table just by being you! There will be fun yet informative PowerPoints presentations, fun yet challenging writing exercises, probably a lot of off-topic discussion, and so much more, with the ultimate goal of ending the workshop with a first scene of a play!

Participants, please bring: Pens, paper, flashcards, markers, and tape, internet connection, zoom access and writing supplies.

Time: Saturday, December 3, 2022 | 1 PM – 4 PM

Location: Online (Zoom)

Beginner’s Acting Workshop

with Sarah Jane Martin

Sarah Jane Martin is a neurodiverse actor, comedian, and playwright based in Winnipeg. She has over 20 years of experience in live theatre performance and has acted in commercials, films, and television shows. She earned her Bachelor of Arts with a double major in theatre and psychology from the University of Manitoba. 

Winnipeg is well on its way to becoming a major film industry hub! Do you want a piece of the pie? In this beginner’s acting workshop, Sarah Jane will teach performance techniques and activities, how to find paid or volunteer acting opportunities in Winnipeg, building your experience early in your career, and how to prepare for auditions. 

Time: Saturday, December 3, 2022 | 1:00-4:00 PM

Location: MAP (Manitoba Association of Playwrights) | 4th Floor, 100 Arthur St. | ARTSPACE

Write to Tomorrow (Virtual Workshop)

with Lyric Avra (they/them)

Lyric’s six-week group Write to Tomorrow centers around owning one’s own narrative and acknowledging what has gotten people through challenging times as that information is both empowering and can be used to help through future hardships. At the end of past sessions, there have been many joyful and heartfelt reflections on how the group had a beneficial impact. Multiple pieces originally drafted in the group by attendees have now been published. 

This workshop is a one-off version of that group. It will start with a check-in and introduction, including all attendees’ names and pronouns. It will also mention that while traumatic things may come up, only share what feels safe to you and bring up any potential triggers ahead of time so we can ensure everyone is okay with what is about to be shared. A core guideline always held is to not dig into any big trauma in this setting as we won’t have time to put people back together again, and I am not a psychologist. Attendees will set their own additional guidelines for the group including things like privacy, how they prefer to be spoken to, what they’d like said about their writing when sharing, and anything else.

We will dig into a theme around healing. As neuro-divergent people, many of us hold a lot of heavy memories, and often shame, around the ways we experience and react to life. The way we look back at these times in the workshop will be through a lens of acknowledging the challenges while celebrating success in the foreground. People don’t get out of hard things because life just happens, we get out of them because at some point we made a choice. It’s easy to miss the choices made in those moments when life is a lot. This is an empowering opportunity to explore, reflect, and reclaim our narratives. 

After we explore what the theme means to us as a group, we’ll do a series of prewriting questions designed to prompt memories relating to that theme, so attendees have the chance to explore these experiences on their own. We will wrap up prewriting questions by choosing our main concept, then listing sensory details and other specifics around the situation. Then it is time to write. Depending on the time we will set around a half-hour timer for people to free-write. Attendees can use any style, whether it be fiction, poetry, short story, fake news article or anything else. 

When we share, people will go one at a time. There is no obligation for attendees to share what they write, however, if they’d like to share the experience of what they wrote and their feelings around it; those things are often as powerful as sharing the art itself. 

We will wrap up the session by taking a moment to check in with ourselves and see how we feel after going through all of that, then sharing any shifts or things that we noticed with the group. Lyric will ask attendees about their experience, how it felt for them, and what was helpful, and wrap up with a gigantic thank you to everyone for their vulnerability. 

  • Please either bring your own personal laptop or, 
  • Paper and pens for people who prefer to write by hand

Time: Saturday, December 3, 2022 | 1:00-4:00 PM

Location: Online (Zoom)

Burlesque Fusion Dance Class

with Megan Funk

Join Meagan – Owner of Prairie Diva – on Saturday, December 3 from 5:00-7:00 PM for a Burlesque Fusion dance class open to all levels of adults as a part of the Neurodiversity Arts Conference!

Meagan’s company, Prairie Diva, specializes in empowering dance classes for adults of all ages and levels! Prairie Diva’s goal is to encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and feel confident in their own skin in an inclusive, safe space, bringing out their inner diva! This class consist of a fun and sassy dance class, followed by a question-and- answer period.

Time: Saturday, December 3, 2022 | 5:00-7:00 PM

Location: Ted Moyka Dance Studio | 460 Main Street

Building Your Network in the Community

with Adam Schwartz

Building Your Network in the Community will invite participants to identify causes they are passionate about, who in that field can they partner with, and where they can get funding. Participants in groups will be invited to come up with their own ideas for an art project including finding voices and talents to collaborate with. From there, participants will be supported in understanding which grant would best meet their project’s needs.

Adam Schwartz will walk individuals through his own work and some other hypothetical community projects (such as writing a play) and what it might look like to get these projects off the ground.  

Time: Saturday, December 3, 2022 | 5:00-7:00 PM

Location: MAP (Manitoba Association of Playwrights) | 4th Floor, 100 Arthur St. | ARTSPACE

For any questions, email