Two Planks and a Passion Celebrates 31st Anniversary

The company promises an ambitious two-production season of outdoor theatre
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Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company’s 2022 season includes the Atlantic premiere of a beloved and timely Canadian play and the world premiere of a new fireside production.

“While the pandemic has proved enormously challenging for the performing arts in Canada, the experience has not dimmed our spirit nor curtailed our ambition,” says Ken Schwartz, Artistic Director, adding, “after a delayed and shortened 2021 summer season, the coming summer is a special opportunity for us, as artists, to once again reassert the importance of live performance, to provide a safe venue for our community to come together, and to investigate, once again, what makes us human.” The 2021 season includes the Atlantic premiere of Unity (1918) by Kevin Kerr and a world premiere of the fireside production of The Stranger, written by Artistic Director Ken Schwartz and inspired by a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. The Stranger has been in development at Two Planks since 2019 and has been twice delayed by the pandemic. “We’re tremendously excited to finally bring The Stranger to the stage,” says Schwartz.

“These plays, each in their own unique way, speak powerfully to the period we have just been through and our hopes for a better future. Both tell very different stories of a small rural community (much like our own) facing events that were once unimaginable. They both examine the power of friendship and compassion to meet a historically-challenging time. They were not written with our specific moment in mind, and yet they both resonate as if they were,” says Schwartz.

Unity (1918) by Kevin Kerr (Atlantic premiere)
In the fall of 1918, the town of Unity, Saskatchewan is celebrating the end of World War One and the return of its young soldiers. But the town’s resilience is tested as a new challenge emerges. In this painfully funny work of moving familiarity, the characters in the farming community of Kevin Kerr’s Unity (1918) resonate powerfully and surprisingly.

The Stranger (By Fire) by Ken Schwartz
In the pastoral village of Apple Tree Landing, the visit of a single stranger disrupts the lives of its citizens and forces two friends into an unlikely alliance to uncover the truth behind the stranger’s identity and true purpose. After a shocking event in their town, they race to piece together a story so incredible they can scarcely believe it themselves. At once a meditation on the true nature of friendship and a late-Edwardian fireside mystery, The Stranger is an exciting and entertaining examination of a small town experiencing the shock of the unknown.

The cast for Two Planks and a Passion’s 2022 season includes some of the finest
performers working in Canada, many familiar to Two Planks audiences. Returning performers include Burgandy Code, Jeff Schwager, Chris O’Neill, Ryan Rogerson, Micha Cromwell, Henricus Gielis and Riel Reddick-Stevens. Kiana MacDonnell and Alison Moira Kelly are joining the company for the first time.
Allen Cole (co-winner of the 2019 Merritt Award for Outstanding New Play) is the Musical Director for the 2021 season. Jennifer Goodman (winner of the Merritt Award for Outstanding costume design for The Tempest in 2016) will return to design costumes for both Unity (1918) and The Stranger, and Ken Schwartz (winner of the 2019 Merritt Award for Outstanding Direction and 2020 Merritt for Outstanding Score with Allen Cole) is directing both productions. Robin Munro (Merritt award for Stage Manager of the Year in 2020) will return for her seventh season as Stage Manager. Laurie Fleet is Apprentice Stage Manager.

Previews begin on July 8, and both shows open on July 9. The
season will close on September 3. Two Planks will also present a series of pre- and post-show conversations with historians and artists throughout the
summer (for details visit twoplanks.ca).

Since Two Planks and a Passion’s first outdoor season at Ross Creek in 2007, the company has been nominated for 115 Merritt Awards for excellence in professional theatre in Nova Scotia, winning 34 times. The 2022 season is made possible through the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Arts Nova Scotia, The Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, Support for Culture and The Craig Foundation.