Two Planks and a Passion Theatre looks ahead to 2015 season

Published on August 29, 2014

Jamie Konchak as Dustbowl Joan. Two Planks & a Passion Theatre’s summer season runs until Aug. 17 at Ross Creek, near Canning. Shows are outdoors at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts and indoors in case of rain. Dustbowl Joan by Fire, told by actors around a fire at sundown at 9:30 p.m., was created and directed by Ken Schwartz. It tells the story of Joan of Arc as if it were told by a company of 1930s migrants through song and story.- Submitted


Two Planks and a Passion Theatre has announced its playbill for their summer 2015 season - a main stage production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and a new adaptation of the classic Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw.

“We have been thrilled with the reception to our 2014 playbill and we’re looking forward to another excellent summer in 2015” said artistic director Ken Schwartz.

Speaking from his office at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, he said, “We began the season with a direct hit from a hurricane named Arthur, but finished with a sold out performance named Joan, and we are very grateful for all the help, encouragement and engagement we’ve enjoyed from the theatre-going public. We have been overwhelmed with the generosity of our supporters”.

When asked about audiences, Schwartz noted that the weather “wasn't the greatest this season so numbers were lower when the weather was volatile, but decent to great when the weather was good.”

The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, which is home to the theatre company’s Off The Grid series of outdoor theatre, took a direct hit from Hurricane Arthur only one week from the opening this season, leaving behind nearly $40,000 in damages and no power or water for nearly five days.

“That the season opened without a delay, and with two works of which I am immensely proud, is a testament to the commitment of our staff, artists, and supporters who rallied behind us,” said Schwartz.

Since then a fundraising campaign has raised over $10,000 to date, along with commitments from other donors to assist with new programming in 2015. Re-construction on the centre’s roof is underway and the company’s festival tents are being repaired.

Next season’s production of the Tempest “is unrelated to our encounter with Arthur and had been planned earlier, but it’s an amusing footnote in our company’s history,” said Schwartz. He actually began working on the concept for the production while participating in the Michael Langham Workshop for classical text at the Stratford Festival in 2013. “The festival gave me the resources to “field test” a concept in a very thorough way, and the results were so encouraging that Two Planks will now give the idea a full production”.

The Turn of the Screw will be the third in the company’s ‘By Fire’ series of productions, preceded by the acclaimed Iliad and Dustbowl Joan.

“We have quickly discovered the versatility and potential of fireside theatre. It is, to my mind, as versatile as a proscenium arch, in its own way,” Schwartz stated. “To use this context to explore a classic ghost story is an exciting next step for us, and we cannot wait to get started.”