Knox Theatre Collective

The Collective is a not-for-profit group presenting plays with social justice themes. The annual Just Acts Play Festival how explores people cope with disruption and conflict in daily life. Each year a theme is chosen and writers are invited to submit plays for the festival.

Helen Young. Actor. Writer. Artistic Director

The Theatre Collective has developed as a place where creative exploration is encouraged. Helen’s life in theatre began over 30 years ago and has included acting, singing, dancing, stunt work, writing, teaching and directing. Her training includes dance and musical theatre in Edmonton and Manchester England, Stunt work on the sets of MacGyver, 21 Jump Street and a variety of films in Vancouver, a year in New York at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, a joint Theatre/English degree from the University of Winnipeg, and on going training at the Company of Rogues Studio in Calgary. She has also lead workshops in scene study, improvisation and monologue work in Vancouver and Winnipeg. Her first play, Bonds, won a writers’ circle award at the University of Winnipeg. Since then, she has gone on to write four new plays for the Collective. Lately, an interest in Theatre of the Oppressed has developed into an exploration of how theatre can be an avenue for building community. Helen has lead two Theatre of the Oppressed style workshops at the United Church of Canada’s Naramata Centre in BC and plans to offer more workshops in Calgary in the years to come.

“It is a pleasure to be working with such talented and imaginative people who have a vision for theatre that invites dialogue. Thank you all for sharing the experience with us. Please contact us with suggestions for workshops and new ideas for new plays.”

Want to try your hand and heart at acting? Contact Helen Young 403-281-7065 kctc@nucleus.com

2011 Productions

Involuntary Donor by Anonymous  Just Acts Feb. 8 – 12

Travis was enjoying his new found freedom when his ex showed up and revealed that she was carrying their fast-developing embryo. He immediately found himself filled with excitement and eager to become a Daddy. Unfortunately for Travis, his ex already had a more suitable Daddy in mind.

Business is Business by Brad Himour  Just Acts Feb. 8 – 12

In recent years, a small group of financial corporations decided to take on huge amounts of risk, seeking large rewards, at the expense of many. The play examines such behaviour on a personal level, revealing the consequences of what happens when the self-interest of a piranha outweighs the health and well-being of the everyday person. The question, “Will they get away with it?”

Riches by Wendy Froberg  Just Acts Feb. 8 – 12

Family bonds offer us support, nurture, belonging and a sense of identity. As we grow, we move from being cared for by our parents to caring for them. But what if they were never there for us? If we were abandoned, neglected or abused by them, are we obligated to support them if they fall on hard times? Riches explores themes of loss, disappointment, forgiveness and what we value in our lives.

2010 Productions

Articles of Trade by Kristen Anderson  Just Acts Feb. 2 – 6

A tender and surprisingly lighthearted look at the destructive effect of violence on the lives of women. A street wise prostitute is haunted by memories of physical abuse she endured in her childhood. The recent death of her father is forcing her to face her past. But she has more urgent things to worry about – her young Ukrainian roommate who is caught up in the vicious web of the international sex trade. Can their friendship give them the strength they need to save themselves?

End of the Day by Laura Castle  Just Acts Feb. 2 – 6

What Gives You The Right by Helen Young  Just Acts Feb. 2 – 6

Kim, coming from a lecture on living peacefully in a violent world, is pulled into a swarm of protesters and hit with tear gas. Lanie, an activist known for violence, helps her out and the two are caught and jailed together. As Kim begins to understand what has happened, she challenges Lanie to explain the reasons she does what she does. They argue over the right to hurt others, the logic of violence and the collateral damage done to innocent bystanders like Kim. Will the police believe Kim is not involved, or will Lanie’s threats condemn her?

Back Against the Wall by Helen Young  Just Acts Feb. 2 – 6 and Apr. 13 – 15

Adam and Christine are engaged to be married. A heated argument at a party results in them both cheating – Christine with a stranger and Adam with Zoe, Christine’s best friend. Zoe, who is pregnant, tries to get Adam to tell the truth. The problem is they aren’t sure what the truth is.

BONDS by Helen Young  Oct. 26 – 30

A play about finding the meaning of life in the face of death. What happens when two estranged sisters are brought together because one is dying of AIDS? Bonds explores the role of patient and care giver, and what happens when the roles change. The action takes place during the last three months of Karen’s life in and around Ann’s condo. Bonds was first presented Oct. 11 – 14, 2005 as a joint fundraiser for AIDS Calgary and the Mission and Service Fund of the United Church of Canada.

2009 Productions

Our World Part One: Behind the Rainbow by Helen Young  May 6, 7

From its beginnings with small group gatherings of people sharing stories about what Knox means to them, to the celebration of our second anniversary as a Church affirming GLBTTQ ie. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirited (Aboriginal). Queer members of the Community of Faith, Behind the Rainbow declares that our affirming journey is about making certain all are included. At Knox, God is here for everyone!

Our World Part Two: Opening Doors by Helen Young  June 3, 4

In 2012 we celebrate the centennial of our building. The Theatre Collective joins in with plays speaking to the Knox contribution to Calgary. In Spring 2009 we began the Our World series. These plays, written in the form of News Talk Shows, looked at the history of Knox as a downtown church. The series began with Behind the Rainbow, about the journey Knox becoming an Affirming Congregation within the United Church of Canada. Opening Doors looked at the involvement of Knox with Inn From The Cold and the Calgary Urban Projects Society (CUPS).

Grace of God by Helen Young  Nov.What can a police officer, two social workers and a homeless man learn from a pregnant 14 year old sex worker named Grace. Could she be carrying the new Messiah?

Second Shepherd’s Play produced by Edna Poffenroth  Dec. 14

The best known of the Wakefield Christmas Mystery Plays of Medieval England first performed in 1450.

2008 Productions

THE DOOR by Helen Young  Mar. 14, 15

It’s mean – bullying and body image in high school. This play grew out of Spring and Fall 2006 Teen Body Image workshops.

Well … by Wade Lifton  Nov. 7, 8

Two youth. A conversation. Faith. Water. Life. Well was written as a final assignment for the Youth Ministry Certificate Program at the Naramata Centre of the United Church of Canada in Naramata BC. The play addresses the world shortage of clean water through the eyes of two high school students.

2007 Productions

What Mary Said by Sharon Montgomery  May 4, 5

Mary Magdalene helps a man in crisis. A one-act play inspired by Karen L. King’s Knox Centre lecture and book The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle 2003.

The Nativity Pageant of Shearman and Tailors produced by Edna Poffenroth  Dec. 16

The traditional Christmas Story as told in the medieval play from the York Mystery Cycle adapted by Robertson Davis. Donations to the Interfaith Food Bank.

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