By Wendy Elliott
Ken Schwartz, director of Two Planks and a Passion Theatre in Canning, is off to Stratford again in February.
He said last week that he is grateful to be numbered among the six participants taking part in the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction.
“This is a dynamic and very talented group of directors,” said artistic director Antoni Cimolino. “They come from across Canada and have widely different experiences within the theatre, but are united in their love for and dedication to staging the classics.”
The workshop, launched in 2010 and named for the festival’s second artistic director, the late Michael Langham, is designed for directors in mid-career who have experience working with the classics, but not at a theatre of the complexity and scope of the festival.
During the first program, Schwartz was assistant director for Peter Pan and Romeo and Juliet. At Stratford, he will take classes in text, voice, movement and other disciplines.
Working with an director-mentor, Schwartz will also serve as a assistant director and will have the opportunity to present a classical piece before an invited audience.
Schwartz has already announced his plans for his 2013 season at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. He says the theatre company will stage two timeless works in two very different ways.
“Shakespeare’s As You Like It will transform Ross Creek into the Forest of Arden, and later during the evening, the company will perform a new adaptation of Homer’s The Iliad.”
His plan is to recount the “Trojan War around a fire beginning at sundown. Both actors and audience will sit together around the same fire, bringing the theatre back to its storytelling roots.”
Schwartz added that the company will have “the unique opportunity to train with Tim Carroll, the former associate director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, England and the director of Romeo and Juliet at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2013.”
Carroll will be coming to Ross Creek to work with the cast on Shakespeare’s text for 10 days prior to rehearsals.
“I had the pleasure of working with Tim on Peter Pan at Stratford and know this would be a wonderful opportunity for our company of artists to learn from one of the world’s finest directors of Shakespeare,” Carroll said.
Schwartz has directed over 30 productions for Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, including The Odyssey, Our Town, Rockbound and Lysistrata. Most recently, he directed Six Characters in Search of an Author for Dalhousie University.
He is a two-time graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada in directing and technical production. Schwartz is also a five-time Merritt Award winner for outstanding director and outstanding production and has received the Established Artist Recognition Award from the province.