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Poetic License 

Written and Performed by Erika Batdorf
Directed by Todd Hammond
Dramaturg Marty Kingsbury/Iris Turcott
Lighting Designer Elizabeth Asselstine
Set/Costume Designer Teresa Przybylski

Poetic License received 3 Dora nominations and rave reviews!! 

Theatre and interactive talk show come together in Poetic License as we meet Marti, a creative writing professor at the brink of walking out on her life. Her sister, partially paralysed and full of humour, challenges the audience to examine desire in the context of eternity. Finally their guardian angel arrives to help them and the audience navigate through a journey away from paralysis. Enter this funny, magical world where poetry is edible, ruffian angels describe paradise and the audience is fed an unexpected meal. 
(75 minutes long)


Poetic License received 3 Dora nominations in the independent theatre category for

  • Outstanding New Play or Musical
  • Outstanding Performance by a Female
  • Outstanding Direction -Todd Hammond

EYE WEEKLY Meghan Harrison *****

“Moving effortlessly from dry comedy to a gorgeous movement piece, Poetic License is a

warm-hearted, well-crafted theatrical essay on desire… a stunning and absorbing

performance in its entirety…”



“License to Thrill …hilarious and thoughtful… emotionally compelling, visually

elegant… the very best thing about Poetic License is Batdorf’s humour… watching

Batdorf was the highlight of my week, possibly my month.”


TOWN CRIER By Eric McMillan

“Daring but moving theatre …a transporting event

Erika Batdorf is a phenomenon. …transporting and incredibly affecting…. this could be a

play that brings the masses into more daring theatre. …Poetic Licence — and Erika

Batdorf in whatever she next does— is an experience no one should miss.”


BANGKOK POST AsiaViews, by Indah Lestari

“A brilliant play is performed by its multitalented writer.

Poetic License played brilliantly by Erika Batdorf, … captivating the audience’s

attention. …This interactive process somehow binds the actor and the spectators together.

… It is women’s experience on stage that can ignite a change in you.”


TORONTO STAR from full length article by Susan Walker

She's poetry in motion. Batdorf is one of a kind… an electric presence even offstage…

she is also unforgettable.”


EYE WEEKLY Paul Isaacs

“wonderful… one of the most humorous, note-perfect performances I’ve seen all year- a

female Lucky Jim.”



“Erika Batdorf is a force to be reckoned with in… Poetic License. She begins with a

hilarious depiction of a creative writing teacher, then takes on the spasmic movements of

an MS sufferer, before transforming into a spunky guardian angel… Erika Batdorf is a

remarkable performer; it’s amazing to see her excel in all three roles. Plus she concludes

with a movement piece with…mystical beauty.”


"Erika went on to perform Poetic License during the Festival to great acclaim. The audience was mesmerized by her ability as a performer, and by the challenging format of the play. The first act was a stunning and intimate portrait of a woman whose personal world crumbled and collided with her professional world of academia. It was a beautiful meltdown. That was almost enough until the play turned us on our heads by the entirely unexpected shift in style and content of the second act." 
Kelly Thornton, Artistic Director of Nightwood Theatre, Toronto


Have you ever wanted to walk out on your job, your kids, your whole life?

Poetic License raises questions such as; What is truly radical? What is education? What is inappropriate in the context of an academic environment? What is eternity? What is life like after death? If there is life after death and you die a smoker, will you still crave nicotine? The piece refers to or includes poetry by Yeats, Blake, Kerouac, Tahirih (an Iranian poetess who was killed in the 1840's), Oliver, Ginsberg, Baudelaire, Pound, Wilde, Plath, Eliot and Artaud. 

This piece is accessible to everyone, is wildly interactive in an unthreatening way and can gently take a mainstream audience into challenging theatrical territory. It is funny, smart and moving...  the audience is given poetry to take home and is asked some very big questions which they answer by chosing one of three different cookies... 






Technical Requirements: Poetic License (ages 12-adult) is a full evening solo performance with no intermission. (The length varies slightly depending on the audience interaction.) The piece can be performed in a theatre or a lecture hall. Sound equipment and lighting is required for the full performance, however it is fairly fast and easy to mount. One dresser is required, but can be trained on site.

The second act requires a fairly simple set (extra baggage fee only) that can be adapted to non-theatre venues (lecture halls are ideal). The first act can be performed alone with no set or lights (45 mins) followed by a discussion with the audience, (which can also follow the full- length performance).

Poetic License has toured to Hawaii, Indonesia, Michigan, Massachusetts and had 2 three week runs in Toronto.



Audience comments from Poetic License

Tour de Force, Bravo.


Truthful: Beautiful



Made me question what I am running from and what I’m running to. Thank you.


Thank you, Thank you, Thank you…


This was an amazing piece of original theatre. On my way here the streetcar was stopped and I was afraid I’d miss the show so I ran all the way here. It was completely worth it. Thank you.


Great Job! Loved it! Thanks a lot.


Amazing job. It was a lot to think about. Enjoyed it.


This was stunning. Moved me to tears at moments, but I laughed a lot too and it’s already helping me to trust that it’s okay to let go and find my hearts desire, Thank you.


Amazing physicality!


Absolutely breathtaking!


Amazing, I was in tears, Thank you.


Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to live and to let the fear go.


Very positive! Fabulous.


You changed my life.


Thanks, you helped me loosen up a few more screws inside my still mind….


Awesome performance.


As always, Brilliant.


Amazing – for a bunch of teachers, thanks!


I was amazed at the amount of control and connection you have over your body.


This was wonderful. Thanks so much. The dance at the end was amazing. I teach English at University, the ‘lecture’ was truly revealing.


It was wonderful! I really enjoyed the words used. They were touching and inspirational. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

I loved the exploration of spirituality, heaven and eternal life. The characters were really well developed. I loved Marti! Great cookies J


Really good. I would like a script.


Wait no more to find your hearts desire, great message, Is it love, devotion, faith, ideals? find it.


You are a magnet. Thank you.


Thank you


You are so fabulous! Your writing was inspiring. Thanks so much.


Wow, thank you, thank you


Kathyrn’s trembling send off certainly leaves lots to think about and lots more to hope for.


I loved it! Gorgeous work


Very inspiring.


Very thought provoking. Thank you.