Two Planks and a Passion Theatre was founded by the husband and wife team of Ken Schwartz and Chris O’Neill in 1992.
We began as a touring company, beginning with a small Nova Scotian tour of Daniel MacIvor’s one woman show See Bob Run, and within six years, we were touring across Canada from Whitehorse to St. John’s with an emphasis on rural communities. At the same time, we were using theatre and the arts for creative empowerment in the community, working with kids, women in transition houses, rural homeless people and others, and began our summer camps.
The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, as part of a larger vision, came into focus in 2000, with the construction beginning in 2003. With the Theatre as an anchor partner producing award-winning plays on-site during the summer months, the Centre is steadily achieving the vision of becoming a place for multidisciplinary arts education and development that serves working artists and helps create the next generation of artists of all disciplines. The lifelong learning element that has been an integral part of that vision since the Centre’s inception gives emerging and established professional artists of all disciplines opportunities to enhance their skills, their craft, and their impact.
We offer Summer and March Break camps, adventure weekends, adult arts workshops, international artist residencies, school and community programs and many more projects and outreach along with rentals of our facilities.
The Centre has a strong staff complement and is now working to complete the rest of the facilities to ensure a wonderful master class experience for artists of all disciplines. Our ability to serve the performing arts as well as the individual creative pursuits is an important part of the philosophy of the centre.
Two Planks is now the award-winning resident theatre of the Centre, creating a magical experience for thousands of visitors and the camp community each summer.
As of 2023, a new community venue has become an important part of Ross Creek’s mission. The Annex, located in the heart of Canning, is a new venue in the valley to building community in and through culture and the arts.
The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts is on the North Mountain of the Annapolis Valley, only a few minutes from the storied resting place at Blomidon of the Mi’kmaq’s Great Spiritual Chief, Glooscap. The Annapolis Valley, one of Canada’s great agricultural communities, was first settled by the Mi’kmaq people, and then farmed by the Acadians from France in a great social experiment in egalitarian living that began more than 400 years ago. After the British took over the area in 1700, the village of Canning (originally called Apple Tree Landing) was founded as a shipbuilding town, with a tidal river bringing tall ships in and out and supporting the thriving farming industry.
The Centre itself is based on 178 acres of farm and forest with views of the Bay of Fundy where the world’s highest tides rise and fall over 30 feet twice daily. Our forests offer fabulous walking trails—glimpses of deer, eagles, hawks, and porcupines can be a special part of the Ross Creek experience.
The Centre’s rural setting is enhanced by its access to local amenities, both in the village of Canning and in the nearby town of Wolfville. The town, home of Acadia University, has fine dining, an alternative cinema house showing films from the festival circuit, and wonderful cafes, bookshops and galleries. Wolfville is a bastion of culture adding to and connecting with the Centre’s activities. Internationally renowned festivals like Devour and Deep Roots are excellent examples of the vibrant cultural life of our region. There is also a contemporary shopping community close by.