Canning  N.S.-  Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company will celebrate its 27th season with an ambitious 3-production outdoor season of new Canadian drama and unique adaptations of cherished classics, Artistic Director Ken Schwartz announced today at the Ross Creek Centre, in Canning, Nova Scotia.

The 2018 Season includes the world premiere of Animal Farm by Fire by Allen Cole and Ken Schwartz, a musical drama based on the classic novel by George Orwell, North Mountain Vanya, adapted from the Chekhov classic Uncle Vanya by Ken Schwartz, and Elapultiek by shalan joudry, a new work commissioned for the fireside stage about connections between.

“This season marks the first time the company has produced a 3-show summer season, and we are thrilled to be creating and producing works for the stage that have such contemporary relevance” said Artistic Director Ken Schwartz. “Whether it’s the prophetic fable of George Orwell, the piercing vision of Chekhov or the challenging contemporary perspective of shalan joudry, our 2018 season speaks powerfully of who and where we are in this moment. Not only does the theatre act as a powerful mirror – it can also provoke us to imagine the world the way it should be.”

North Mountain Vanya is a new site-specific adaptation of Chekhov’s comic drama of thwarted passion and eternal hope. “It’s incredible to me how Chekhov presaged so many of the current issues like our relationship with the land, while also creating a comedic cast of characters who are still instantly recognizable and engaging. It is truly timeless both in its comedy and in its profound observations on what it means to be human” said Schwartz.

Animal Farm by Fire reunites Allen Cole, the creator of the company’s landmark production of Rockbound (2009) with the company, where he has created or co-created many pieces of musical theatre including Lysistrata: Temptress of the South (with Ken Schwartz in 2012) and The Miracle Man (with Michael O’Brien in 2014).  “We are very excited to bring Allen back to the North Mountain to collaborate on Animal Farm. It’s a piece which is incredibly relevant and the opportunity to create a fireside musical based on Orwell’s masterpiece is a project we have been planning for years. I believe it couldn’t be happening at a more appropriate moment” said Schwartz.

Elapultiek (ehl-ah-bool-dee-egg) – “we are looking towards” -marks the first time Two Planks and a Passion Theatre has commissioned an Indigenous playwright from Nova Scotia to create a new work for the company. In the time of Idle No More, a young Mi’kmaw drum singer and a Euro-Nova Scotian biologist meet at dusk each day to count a population of endangered Chimney Swifts. As the relationship deepens over time, they struggle with their differing views of the world. Each ‘count night’ reveals a deeper complexity of connection to land, history, and ecology, and of reconciliation on a personal level.

shalan joudry is an oral storyteller, hand-drum singer and poet from the traditional district of Kespukwitk (southwest Nova Scotia). Following years of raising children, performing, writing, and ecology work, shalan now lives and works in her community of Bear River First Nation, sharing messages of reconnecting to both land and culture.

Two Planks will also present a series of pre and post-show conversations with historians and artists throughout the summer (for details visit

Since Two Planks and a Passion’s first outdoor season at Ross Creek in 2007, the company has been nominated for 87 Merritt Awards for excellence in professional theatre in Nova Scotia, winning 27 times. The company was recently nominated for 13 Merritt awards for its 2017 productions of Nothing Less! by Ami McKay and Ken Schwartz and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.

The cast for Two Planks and a Passion’s 2018 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, Genevieve Steele, shalan joudry and Andrea Lee Norwood. New to the performing company are Matthew Lumley and Tim Machin.

Allen Cole is the Musical Director for the 2018 season. Jennifer Goodman (winner of the Merritt Award for Outstanding costume design for The Tempest in 2016) returns to design costumes for North Mountain Vanya and Ken Schwartz directs all three productions. Robin Munro returns for her fourth season as Stage Manager.

The productions begin previews July 4th 2017. North Mountain Vanya and Animal Farm by Fire open July 7th, 2018. Elapultiek opens August 25th.

The 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, and The Craig Foundation.

For information contact:
Ken Schwartz, Artistic Director or call 902 582 3073