2020 SPARK Festival

Our annual SPARK Festival will feature four productions, along with workshops and a host of free events.

SPARK Passes and single tickets for SPARK are on sale now.


March 10 – 14
Busted Up: A Yukon Story

By Geneviève Doyon
Directed by Jessica Hickman
Original Music by Brooke Maxwell
Open Pit Theatre, Whitehorse

Busted Up: A Yukon Story is set in Canada’s far north; home of 35,000 people, 200,000 caribou, 14 different First Nations and the beautiful midnight sun.

Six actors portray over 30 real-life Yukon characters who throughout the play share their stories of colonialism, natural resource extraction, racial discrimination and a deep love of the wild. The interactions of these characters evolve around relationships between indigenous people and settlers, the growing immigrant population, and the fast-paced changes Canada’s north is experiencing.

Open Pit Theatre spent 3 years developing Busted Up: A Yukon Story as part of The Yukon Verbatim Project, which consisted of gathering over 60 interviews from eight Yukon communities including Whitehorse.  The words you will hear are the exact words as transcribed during the interviews without any alterations or additions.  Each of the real-life characters featured in the play was consulted, invited to readings/shows, and ultimately gifted Open Pit Theatre the use of their words for this play.

Busted Up: A Yukon Story is approximately 70 minutes with no intermission.

Cast – Joel D. Montgrand, Kaitlyn Yott, Brenda Barnes, Caleb Gordon, Christine Quintana, and Lisa Goebel

Creative Team
DIRECTOR, CO-CREATOR, & TOUR PRODUCER – Jessica Hickman
CO-CREATOR, PLAYWRIGHT – Geneviève Doyon
COMPOSER & SOUND DESIGNER – Brooke Maxwell
SET DESIGNER – Michel Gignac
COSTUME DESIGNER – Rosie Stuckless
LIGHTING DESIGNER – Brad Trenaman
STAGE MANAGER- Becca Jorgensen


March 10 – 14
Destiny, USA

Written & Performed by Laura Anne Harris
Directed by Krystal Osborne

When Laura moved from Toronto to Syracuse, New York, she wasn’t expecting to be residing in Trump’s America.

Gaining her first job as a relay operator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing causes her to question whether she can discover the hidden humanity of the American people. Destiny, USA weaves together three stories: Laura moving to the US for the first time and working as a relay operator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, romantically meeting her husband, and dealing with her mother’s illness in Canada while she has to live in America. All are told through storytelling and poetry.

While this is mainly autobiographical, some details have been changed to protect the anonymity of the Deaf callers.

Destiny, USA is approximately 60 minutes with no intermission.

“If you are searching for a relief from modern cynicism and despair, look no further than Destiny U.S.A.”

The Ubyssey


March 17 – 21
Between Breaths

By Robert Chafe
Directed by Jillian Keiley
Music Composed and Arranged by The Once
Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland

Forty tons of muscle, fat, and bone, launched like a rocket. A Breach. No one’s entirely sure of why they do it. I might be tempted to say it’s nothing if not joy.

In the final moments of his extraordinary life, east coast whale researcher Jon Lien tried desperately to tell his wife something, which she struggled to understand.

Between Breaths floats through the inspiring career of the man who freed more than 500 whales from fishing nets. From his unexpected first encounter with a whale, Lien worked to earn the trust of the injured giants, as well as the fishermen whose nets accidentally entrapped them.

Featuring an evocative live score by Newfoundland’s Juno-nominated The Once, this moving work by renowned playwright Robert Chafe (Tempting Providence) examines what it means to find your passion and how to let it go.

Between Breaths is approximately 70 minutes with no intermission.

“Between Breaths is a breathtaking and compassionate telling of one man’s legacy”

Mooney on Theatre

“[Between Breaths] will bring you to tears and leave you in awe”

NS Reviews, Halifax

“Deeply moving, intimate, and intense”

Artsflie, Ottawa

Cast & Creative Team
Featuring – Steve O’Connell, Berni Stapleton, Darryl Hopkins, Steve Maloney, Brianna Gosse and Kevin Woolridge
Musical Director – Kellie Walsh
Costume and Set Designer – Shawn Kerwin
Lighting Designer – Leigh Ann Vardy
Sound Designer – Brian Kenny


March 17 – 21
KISMET, things have changed

Created and performed by Emelia Symington Fedy, Daryl King, Anita Rochon, and Hazel Venzon
The Chop Theatre, Vancouver

A show that has been a decade in the making.

Ten years ago, four artists in their late 20’s and early 30’s travelled across the country to interview 100 people, aged 1 to 100. Now, a decade later and in a very different place in life, the same team set out to find the surviving people and interview them again. What they discovered on the road is revealed in a complicated yet intimate portrait of change.

Not so much a sequel as a stand-alone look at the dramatic shifts can take place over the course of a decade.

KISMET, things have changed is approximately 80 minutes with no intermission.

“In its celebration of ordinary people, KISMET one to one hundred is hilarious, it’s moving, and it’s always, always generous. The show’s charms could almost obscure the fact that it’s also tremendously sophisticated.”

Georgia Straight (on KISMET one to one hundred)

“The really compelling aspect of this piece–apart from our love of stories–is that the most profound of the questions posed are the questions we ask ourselves all our lives. “Do I believe in fate or do I believe in free will?” and “Do things happen for a reason?” Or is that just a way of dealing with disappointment?”

The Courier

Creative Team
Stage Manager – Geoff Jones
Sound Design & Original Music – Antoine Bédard
Visual Design – Drew Facey
Lighting Design – Brad Trenaman
Projection Design – Sophia Wolfe
Projection Technical Support – Sammy Chien & Shang Chien


March 22, 2020
BELFRY 101 LIVE

Created & performed by the students of the Belfry 301 Ensemble
Directed by Jonathan Brower and Dave Morris

The remarkable high school students in our Belfry 101 program create a performance based on their responses to themes and images from plays they’ve seen this season at the Belfry. Filtered through their own experiences and insights, the result is an original, surprising and personal piece of theatre.

A TALKBACK WITH THE STUDENTS WILL FOLLOW THE PERFORMANCE.

PHOTO CREDITS – GENEVIÈVE DOYON, KAITLYN YOTT, AND CALEB GORDON IN BUSTED UP: A YUKON STORY PHOTO BY ALISTAIR MAITLAND / LAURA ANNE HARRIS IN DESTINY USA – PHOTO BY DREW MONRAD / BERNI STAPLETON AND STEVE O’CONNELL IN BETWEEN BREATHS / SET & COSTUME DESIGN BY SHAWN KERWIN, LIGHTING DESIGN BY LEIGH ANN VARDY, PHOTO BY RICH BLENKINSOPP / KISMET, THINGS HAVE CHANGED  – PHOTO BY REAL444 / BELFRY 101 STUDENTS – PHOTO BY PETER POKORNY

The 2020 SPARK Festival is generously supported by