Sienna Howell-Holden, Glenda Warkentin, Evelyn Chew, Carl Kennedy & Alysa Van Haastert in SHE HAS A NAME.

Burnt Thicket Theatre is an independent company producing live theatre that brings awareness to real issues in our community, planting seeds for positive social change.

Land Acknowledgement

Burnt Thicket Theatre acknowledges that we live and work on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respect to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationships with one another. We’re grateful for the opportunity to create and perform here.

Vision (our desired future)

A world of hopeful people who know their value in the midst of brokenness and who work together towards a shared future marked by justice, equality and love.

Mission (why we do what we do)

To tell stories that change people’s lives.

Values (how we do it)

Community – We extend hospitality, foster mutual relationships, embrace diversity, and mentor emerging artists.

Excellence – We intentionally pursue quality, innovation, and beauty.

Respect – Acknowledging the humanity of all with openness and humility, we work towards reconciliation and justice.

Integrity – We strive to be authentic and accountable, stewarding resources in sustainable ways.

Wholeness – Integrating spiritual and artistic practices, we encourage wholeness through hope, healing, and transformation.

Mandate (what our members have directed us to do)

To enliven [restore life to] audiences through meaningful performance; via a community of artists creating new and reimagined theatre works; leading artists and audiences to live more intentionally for the common good of all.

Why Theatre Matters

We believe the art of theatre makes its own unique contributions to the common good through the roles it plays in human action—as an artistic act of oblation, as an act of co-creation, as a laboratory of human action, as a potentially transforming encounter with presence, and as a public space for incarnating story. By “common good” we mean the conditions that promote the flourishing of persons and of the relationships between people, and between communities in our world. Live theatre offers something unique to humanity. 

Jenna-Lee Hyde in EVERY BRILLIANT THING; photo by David Stobbe.

Jenna-Lee Hyde in EVERY BRILLIANT THING; photo by David Stobbe.

We create theatre productions that offer audiences a work of art and a visceral immersion in another human being’s lived experience. That “walking in someone else’s shoes” is part of theatre’s power. When rendered with artistic integrity, theatre connects people to one another at a heart or gut level that transcends intellectual or aesthetic appreciation. Our productions are inspired by actual events and invite audiences and artists to reflect on their own lives, longings, and choices.

Our History

In 2007 Burnt Thicket Theatre was created in Calgary by founding artistic director James Popoff and current artistic director Stephen Waldschmidt. Our inaugural production HOCKEY DAD: A PLAY IN 3 PERIODS saw nearly fifty performances across western Canada, inviting audiences to family reconciliation. In producing the world premiere and cross-Canada tour of SHE HAS A NAME by Andrew Kooman, we moved people to join the work of abolishing modern-day slavery with performances in 13 cities from Halifax to Victoria. With our world premiere of WE ARE THE BODY by Andrew Kooman we called people to advocate for prisoners of conscience. EVERY BRILLIANT THING offered audiences a powerful comedy about depression, suicide and gratitude. With over 200 performances in 25 cities across Canada, including six world premiere productions, we’re proud to call the vibrant arts centre of Saskatoon home. (Read more about the company’s transition to Saskatoon in 2017.)

Tim Bratton in MY LITTLE PLASTIC JESUS; photo by Dave Stobbe.

Our productions are usually the fruit of assisting playwrights in birthing new works. Our script development can be likened to midwifery for new plays and may include commissioning funds, assistance in refining the story, workshop readings with an audience, and advocacy for a playwright’s new work. MY LITTLE PLASTIC JESUS by Tim Bratton is our most recent commissioned live world premiere, along with several of the audio plays in TIED IN KNOTS.

It’s never been more urgent to work to restore life in our world – global situations threaten human rights and the environment, Canada wrestles with how to follow the stirring call to reconciliation, and so many in our communities are isolated, to name just a few realities. Our original performances can move people to better understand one another and “to live more intentionally for the common good.” We believe this kind of theatre matters. And it only happens through the collaborative faith and effort of a host of artists, donors and supporters, far beyond the team listed below.

Our Staff

Brooklyn Bitner
marketing associate

Brooklynn Bitner is a designer in multiple meanings of the word. She originally set out to develop her knack for graphic design, which she continues to develop amongst her other pursuits. Near the end of her BA in Studio Art, she stumbled across the University of Saskatchewan Drama Design program, and instantly fell in love. With a passion for bringing technology and spectacle to a live stage, Brooklynn wants to wow audiences with transformative, evolving, and dynamic designs that make the audience question their perception of reality. Design credits across multiple departments include MACHINAL (Greystone Theatre), SCAPIN and WILL ET ERNEST (La Troupe du Jour), PRAIRIE NURSE (Station Arts Centre), and INTO THE WOODS (Saskatoon Summer Players).

 

Tim Bratton headshot, photo by David Stobbe

Tim Bratton
artistic associate

Tim is a Saskatoon-based actor, playwright, sound designer, and all-around theatre generalist. With a broad range of training and experience in both theatre and theology, Tim is committed to telling stories that help us make sense of life. Acting credits include the role of Guildenstern in ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, Robert in BOEING BOEING and Yvan in ‘ART’  (Persephone Theatre); THE FOURTH WISEMAN (Dancing Sky); Jesus in GODSPELL (Pacific Theatre); WE ARE THE BODY (Burnt Thicket), and a self-produced Fringe Festival tour of the solo performance piece TOP TEN THOUSAND OF ALL TIME. Tim received SATAward nominations for Outstanding Leading Performance for BOEING, BOEING (Persephone), Outstanding Original Script and Leading Performance for his solo show MY LITTLE PLASTIC JESUS (Burnt Thicket). Tim was the sound designer for Burnt Thicket Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of EVERY BRILLIANT THING and all five audio plays in TIED IN KNOTS. Tim is a graduate of Red Deer College’s Theatre Studies program and holds an interdisciplinary master’s degree in fine arts and theology from Regent College. Tim lives with his lovely wife and fellow theologian, Amy, as together they do their best to care for two very active young boys.

 

Yulissa Campos
producing associate

Yulissa Campos is an Ecuadorian theatre artist and founding artistic director of Ay, Caramba! Theatre, currently based in Saskatoon. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan. Yulissa loves to write universal stories that showcase and resonate with the underrepresented voices. She celebrates her Latinx heritage in her plays and in her podcast on Spotify named “Latinas in Stoon”. Moreover, she debuted internationally with her play I, Frida at the M1 Singapore Festival in January 2021. Selected theatre credits: Turn, Turn, Turn; Earth Diver (SUM Theatre), Prairie Nurse (Station Arts Centre), The Penelopiad (FerrePlay). Playwriting credits: The Ungrateful Immigrant (25th Street Theatre), Trapped (National Theatre School 2020, Short Cuts Festival 2020) I, Frida (MF1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2021, Saskatoon Fringe 2019). You can find more of her work this summer at the Saskatoon Fringe Festival and this the fall at Caminos Festival in Toronto.

 

Danny Knight headshot

Danny Knight
community outreach associate

Danny Knight (he/him) is an actor/comedian/musician, and is happy to be a part of Saskatoon’s theatre scene participating with Burn Thicket Theatre on their upcoming ventures. Danny has worked as the head of Publicity and Community Relations at Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre and with Persephone Theatre’s marketing team when he was their artist in residence. He also co-produces The Funny Bone Schmomedy Zone, which had a near sell out at the Saskatoon Fringe, and is a bi-weekly comedy show at The Fox and Hound. Danny is also the host/writer/director for the satirical news site The Feather.

 

Stephen Waldschmidt
artistic director

Stephen grew up in Indonesia and Ohio before moving to Canada to marry the woman of his dreams. Stephen works as a director, actor and designer based in Saskatoon. Directing credits with Burnt Thicket Theatre include the five audio plays in TIED IN KNOTS, EVERY BRILLIANT THING, MY LITTLE PLASTIC JESUS, WE ARE THE BODY, SHE HAS A NAME, and HOCKEY DAD: A PLAY IN 3 PERIODS (which he co-created with founding artistic director James Popoff). Acting credits include Persephone Theatre’s THE RESISTABLE RISE OF ARTURO UI; Rosebud Theatre’s QUEEN MILLI OF GALT, THE ROAD TO MECCA, TENT MEETING; Pacific Theatre’s CHICKENS, THE CLEARING; and five summers playing the role of Jesus in THE CANADIAN BADLANDS PASSION PLAY. Scenic design credits include Rosebud Theatre’s JAKE & THE KID, THE SECRET GARDEN; Pacific Theatre’s GRACE, A BRIGHT PARTICULAR STAR; and Midnight Theatre Collective’s THE QUARREL. Stephen holds an interdisciplinary masters degree in fine arts and theology from Regent College and a BFA in drama from University of Calgary. He’s immensely grateful for Kirsten’s support along with their three beloved children.

 

Burnt Thicket Theatre Board of Directors

Carol Tebay, Jessica Isaak, Adam Bourassa, Grant Schroeder, Becky Thomas, Brendan Andrews and Rod Schellenberg.