Fonds MS-3-32 - Two Planks and a Passion Theatre fonds

Cypher / Chris O'Neill and Ken Schwartz : [posters] Halo / Josh MacDonald : [posters] Hockey mom, hockey dad / Michael Melski : [posters] Only drunks and children tell the truth / Drew Hayden Taylor : [posters] Passion Art : [posters] Passion Art II : [posters] Passion Art IV : [posters] Passion Art (5) : [posters] Passion Art 6 : [posters] Passion Art 10 : [posters] A sense of direction / Michael Melski : [posters] The shunning / Patrick Friesen : [posters] Someday / Drew Hayden Taylor : [posters] Straight ahead ; Blind dancers / Charles Tidler : [poster] Turnabout is fair play : [posters] Westray: the long way home / Ken Schwartz and Chris O'Neill : [posters] Where there’s smoke … there’s fire! : [posters] Whereverville / Josh MacDonald : [posters] Pélagie / Vincent de Tourdonnet and Allen Cole : [poster] See Bob run / Daniel MacIvor : [poster] Jerome's Lament / Ami McKay : [posters] Bondagers / Sue Glover : [poster] The crucible / Arthur Miller : [posters] Theatre off the grid (Our town / Jerome) : [posters] Liberation days / Mary Celeste by fire : [posters] Home and away / Chris O'Neill and Ken Schwartz : [poster] The odyssey / adapted by Rick Chafe : [signed posters] Dustbowl Joan by fire / The miracle man : [posters]

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Two Planks and a Passion Theatre fonds

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  • Graphic material
  • Moving images
  • Textual record

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2.5 metres of textual and graphic records . – 1 video cassette. – ca. 550 photographs

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Administrative history

Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company was founded in 1992 by Chris O'Neill and Ken Schwartz, with a mandate to produce new Canadian works with strong female roles and community relevance. The company's original home was a small community hall in Sheffield Mills, Nova Scotia, and, as such, Two Planks became an itinerant company, bringing theatre to rural communities throughout Canada with regular regional and national tours.

In 2003 O'Neill and Schwartz began construction of a multi-disciplinary arts centre, and Two Planks and a Passion found a fixed address on a former cattle farm on 178 acres of field and forest overlooking the Bay of Fundy. In addition to providing an outdoor summer theatre venue, Ross Creek Centre for the Arts offers programming and space for arts-focused residential summer camps, workshops for youth and families, and retreats for emerging and established artists.

Two Planks' first production was a one-woman show, See Bob run, by Daniel MacIvor (1992); two years later the company received national recognition with its groundbreaking production of Butterbox babies, adapted by Chris O'Neill from the novel by Bette L. Cahill (1994). During its years of touring, the company produced many plays with Atlantic Canadian themes and/or playrights, including Westray: The long way home, by Chris O'Neill and Ken Schwartz (1995; 1996; 2002), which had an extensive national tour sponsored in part by the United Steelworkers of America. Other plays included Halo, by Josh MacDonald (1999), and Hockey mom, hockey dad, by Michael Melski (1999; 2001-2002).

Once in its permanent home, Two Plank's productions were able to feature larger casts and the "theatre off the grid"series were rooted in their natural surroundings. Productions such as The Odyssey, adapted by Rick Chafe (2007), Our town, by Thornton Wilder (2008), Rockbound, by Allen Cole (2009), The crucible, by Arthur Miller (2011), and Beowulf, adapted by Rick Chafe (2012), all received awards and/or nominations for Robert Merritt Awards.

Custodial history

The fonds remained in the custody of the Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company until the first accession was acquired by Dalhousie University Archives in 2004. A second accession was made in 2017, primarily of prompt books and publicity materials. A third accession was made in December 2019. Further accessions are expected.

Scope and content

Fonds documents the management and theatrical productions of Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company from 1992-2016. Series include Administrative, Education and outreach, and Production records, the latter being divided into subseries reflecting the types of materials generated by theatrical productions, including prompt books, posters and programs, photographs and reviews. A sousfond, Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, contains records illustrating the development of the Centre , which was founded by Two Planks' artistic directors, Chris O'Neill and Ken Schwartz.

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  • English

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All records are open.

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Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

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Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company fonds, MS-3-32, Box [box number], Folder [folder number], Dalhousie University Archives and Special Collections, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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