About

THEATrePUBLIC was born in 1984, in Edmonton Alberta, the brainchild of Kenneth Brown who, after training as an actor at the National Theatre School returned to live and work in his home town.  The theatre company was at first an ad-hoc invention, a   collective of theatre folk gathered to perform a single play.  Within a year, it was clear that the company’s work was going to be in greater demand, and it was incorporated as a non-profit society.  The implied pun in the name (“theatre about the public“) was entirely intentional.

This was as a direct result of Ken’s one-man show Life After Hockey, created in a hothouse of intense dramaturgy with the wise editorial guidance of its director, Michael Puttonen.  The show became a smash hit at the 1985 Edmonton Fringe Festival, and went on to be produced by many companies in three languages in five countries.  Ken himself performed the play some 1200 times between 1985 and 2004. It took him to “nearly every place in English Canada large enough to have a theatre,” and abroad to Sweden, Norway, and Finland.  It was broadcast nationallyas a radio play, and made into a film in 1989, subsequently sweeping the major AMPIA awards in 1990.

RinkRatIn the midst of this, Kenneth Brown’s teaching career, his commitments as a father, and other theatre work kept him busy, but not to busy to keep writing and creating.  Among the works he authored, directed, or performed in, THEATrePUBLIC produced a long list of independent work:

Sparks(1984)

Alma’s Night Out(1986)

North of America(1989)

Balance(1989)

Cambodia, a Play for People Who Find Television Too Slow(1990)

-based on the book by Brian Fawcett

The Cambodia Pavilion(1991)

-based on the previous play

Sex-tete (1994) (collective creation, auteured by Kenneth Brown)

Letters in Wartime(1994) (co-authored by Ken and Stephen Scriver)

Sex-Too(1995) (collective creation, auteured by Kenneth Brown)

The Bridge (1995)

The Old Sweat’s Diary (1997)

Garneau Kid(1998)

Joseph Andrews(1998) (adapted from Charles Dickens)

2Balance(1998)

My Father’s House(1999)

A Poor Man’s Lear(2000) (adapted from Shakespeare)

The Old Curiosity Shop(2002) (adapted from Charles Dickens)

Uncle Van (2002) (adapted from Anton Chekhov)

The Garneau Kid (2002) (expanded from the 1998 version)

Lewis Lapham Live (2003) (adapted from the writing of Lewis Lapham)

Cowboy Poetré(2005) (produced first in French by l’Unitheatre, Edmonton)

Kind Hearts and Coronets(2006) (Ken co-authored with John Huston)

The Snows(2007) (Ken’s adaptation of Michel Garneau’s Les Neiges)

Grimmer Than Grimm(collective creation, auteured by Kenneth Brown)

Grimmer Than Grimmer Than Grimm (collective creation, auteured by Kenneth Brown)

Anatolia Speaks(2009) (a co-production with Poiema Productions)

Wooster Sauce(co-adapted by Kenneth Brown and John Huston from Wodehouse)

George Orwell is Not My Real Name(2009) adapted with Kevin Williamson from Orwell

The Spiral Dive Trilogy:

Episode One (2008)

Episode Two (2009)

Episode Three (2010)

(the trilogy was presented as a single, day-long event in Jan 2011)

Water(2013) (collective creation auteured by Kenneth Brown)

The Gambling Show (2010)(collective creation, auteured by Kenneth Brown)

The Paladin (2016)

Love and Death(2015)

Balance 2.1 (2016)

Noir in Blue (2017)

The Mad Fantastic Maid of God (2018) (co-produced with Poiema Productions 

Roy Versus The Red Baron (2018)

2 Sherlock Holmes Adventures (2018) (co-adapted and performed with John Huston)

The Sign of Four (2019)  (co-adapted and performed with John Huston)

Look At The Town (2019)

THEATrePUBLIC reverted from its corporate status to that of a proprietorship in the early 2000s.  As this record shows,  that has not slowed the work.  Since retiring from MacEwan University in 2015, Kenneth Brown has traveled extensively, so while his summers are spent presenting new theatre and touring it at Fringe festivals in Canada, his winter’s creative work is to create songs, write plays, plan productions, and generally prepare for summer touring.  He has a long-standing relationship with RibbitREpublic, a collaboration of artists kept afloat largely through the efforts of long-time Fringe personality Jon Paterson, who has starred in many THEATrePUBLIC/RibbitREpublic co-productions.

Since 20012, THEATrePUBLIC has had another valuable partner in Poem Productions, an all-woman company founded and run by MacEwan grads Candice Fiorentino, Brianne Jang and Melissa Blackwood.

Another THEATrePUBIC collaborator is John Huston, a star of the Fringe circuit well known and loved for his adaptations of Dickens, Poe, and other major literary lights.  John’s company, By The Book Productions, teamed with THEATrePUBIC on Kind Hearts and Coronets, Wooster Sauce, and two shows based on the work of Arthur Conan Doyle: 2 Sherlock Holmes Adventures and The Sign of Four.  For the “lost” summer of 2020, they had planned to mount a 2-hand version of Treasure Island, a project they hope to bring to a pirate ship near you soon.

With the 2021 festival season very much in the air, THEATrePUBLIC hopes to be presenting at at least two festivals this summer, electronically if necessary, but hopefully live as well.

SAMPLE REVIEW STINGERS OF THEATrePUBLIC SHOWS:

ANATOLIA SPEAKS:

“…a powerful force. Anatolia Speaksis a theatrical experience should not be missed.”      

     -TORONTOIST.COM

“The play succeeds brilliantly in creating a personal, moving experience out of a tragedy that could have otherwise felt too difficult to approach.”  

     -MARK KAY, my entertainment world (2015)

“simple but profound, and I was moved to tears at a few points. This is an example of great storytelling both in the script and the execution, and a definite must-see!”

“Wow! Just Wow! An excellent script, well-staged, and an absolutely brilliant performance. See this show!

-John Palmer, The Beat Magazine

This show received a standing ovation, and I was among the first on my feet. It is receiving rave reviews everywhere, so be sure to arrive early…”

“…in this little individual portrait of hopefulness, we see Canada through new eyes.”

-Liz Nicholls, Edmonton Journal

“It’s the perfect show to remind you of both the depths of depravity humanity is capable of, while also show how amazing we can be towards one another.”   -Ian Kucerak, Edmonton Sun

“…actress Candice Fiorentino really delivers the goods, delineating a character arc that takes her from a cute comic figure to a tragic heroine in breathtakingly subtle increments.”

-Randall King, Winnipeg Free Press

LETTERS IN WARTIME:

“a powerful, heart-wrenching play”

“Paterson is sensational” 

“Letters in Wartime should be on many must-see lists.”  -Joe Belanger, London Free Press

“Letters in Wartime shows you how fine acting, inspired direction and sensational writing can work together to create something like magic out of thin air.”

-Cam Fuller, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

“the seamless play moves along briskly as an integrated whole through the war’s six long years.  The moments of great and small drama—partings, news of lost loved ones, daily life abroad and at home, moments of forced you in a kind of seize-the-day desperation –are all lovingly and faithfully rendered.”

2 Sherlock Holmes Adventures:

“It’s a kick to watch [Kenneth Brown and John Huston} do it with such skill and good humour, “shamelessly” switching roles, adding their own human soundscape, tossing off a variety of UK accents from plummy to Eastend to Welsh with complete aplomb and throwing in a few jokes for good measure. Of course the stories are fabulous, and among the liveliest of the canon. The packed house and your correspondent loved it, which won’t require much of a deduction”.

-Alan Kellog

“2 Sherlock Holmes Mysteries is a treat to any curious mind, with the experience improving with the performers’ intimate knowledge of Sherlock’s modus operandi. Huston and Brown can make you believe in their characters at the flip of a hat with only minimal effects, enthralling the audience with Sherlock’s games.”

-Ottawa Citizen  June 22, 2019

“Kenneth Brown and John Huston are incredibly talented, and their chemistry onstage is evident throughout. …they seamlessly swap roles between them, with nothing more than a subtle gesture and (occasionally), the toss of a deerstalker hat.”

SWEET LIES

“Modernizing and feminizing Cyrano de Bergerac, Sweet Lies is a seamlessly executed farce…”

-FISH GRIWKOYSKY, Edmonton Journal

 

LETTERS IN WARTIME:

“a powerful, heart-wrenching play”

“Paterson is sensational”

“Letters in Wartime should be on many must-see lists.”  -Joe Belanger, London Free Press

“Letters in Wartime shows you how fine acting, inspired direction and sensational writing can work together to create something like magic out of thin air.”

-Cam Fuller, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

LOOK AT THE TOWN!

“…little epiphanies and sweet moments, character studies that engross and enchant.”

-Tom Murray, Edmonton Journal

“How can you possibly resist the sweet charms of a tale set in a miniature town, with a tiny perfect houses, a Thrift Store, not one but two Him Tortons, a hockey rink where everyone goes to hang out, a temple (that’s new), a Little Mar ( the “t” has fallen off). The above, my friends, is a rhetorical question. You can’t.”  -Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

“the seamless play moves along briskly as an integrated whole through the war’s six long years.  The moments of great and small drama—partings, news of lost loved ones, daily life abroad and at home, moments of forced you in a kind of seize-the-day desperation –are all lovingly and faithfully rendered.”

LOVE AND DEATH:

“LOVE AND DEATH… is a musical review/hallucination/story/game show/brain movie. Yes, of course, one of those. And who, I ask you, is better equipped to function in all those areas than the wide-ranging Brown who once took a lesser known Dickens’ novel (The Old Curiosity Shop) and turned it into an immensely entertaining, action-filled, intellect-fuelling, barn-burner of a Fringe adventure.”

“A summing up of a life well lived and one that will continue.  He says he plans to travel for the next 10 months. I can hardly wait for next year’s show.”  -Colin McLean, Edmonton Sun

2 Sherlock Holmes Adventures:

“It’s a kick to watch [Kenneth Brown and John Huston} do it with such skill and good humour, “shamelessly” switching roles, adding their own human soundscape, tossing off a variety of UK accents from plummy to Eastend to Welsh with complete aplomb and throwing in a few jokes for good measure. Of course the stories are fabulous, and among the liveliest of the canon. The packed house and your correspondent loved it, which won’t require much of a deduction”.

-Alan Kellog

“2 Sherlock Holmes Mysteries is a treat to any curious mind, with the experience improving with the performers’ intimate knowledge of Sherlock’s modus operandi. Huston and Brown can make you believe in their characters at the flip of a hat with only minimal effects, enthralling the audience with Sherlock’s games.”

-Ottawa Citizen  June 22, 2019

“Kenneth Brown and John Huston are incredibly talented, and their chemistry onstage is evident throughout. …they seamlessly swap roles between them, with nothing more than a subtle gesture and (occasionally), the toss of a deerstalker hat.”

ROY VERUS THE RED BARON

“In this spirited new “fantasy cabaret” by Kenneth Brown (who directs and is onstage at the keyboard), Zachary Parsons-Lozinski and Andrew Gummer play the sparring partners. And a study in contrasts they are, as conjured by two exceptional singing actors.

…it is indeed a long way to Tipperary.  Entertaining and instructive.”

-Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

SPARKS

“The chemistry between the unlikely lovers in this thoughtful, bittersweet rom-com is as palpable as the protective walls they’re hiding behind.

 Although set in the late ’70s, its fear-of-intimacy theme is as timely and relevant as ever. And even at its rawest, Sparks never stops being poetic.”

SPIRAL DIVE TRILOGY

“Exhilarating and devastating, thrilling and poetic, funny and historical, it’s about as good as it gets at the Fringe.”

       -Vue Magazine, July 08

I can hardly wait for part 2.”

       -Edmonton Sun, July 08

“The title Spiral Dive doesn’t characterize the trajectory this enchanting play takes. It doesn’t fall dangerously to the Earth, it soars.”

     -Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, August 08

“Manitoba Theatre Centre should be so lucky to have Spiral Diveon its mainstage. For now, Fringe-goers are the lucky ones. We get to enjoy this flawless show for under ten bucks. Catch it while it’s still flying under the radar.”

“The title Spiral Dive doesn’t characterize the trajectory this enchanting play takes. It doesn’t fall dangerously to the Earth, it soars.”

       -Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, August 08

“…the achievement of THEATrePUBLIC is astounding… epic in scope and as intimate as your own breath.”

         -Ottawa Citizen, June 09

“The brilliant second installment of Ken Brown’s series … is even more impressive than the first”

-Vue Magazine

…the Spiral Dive series is continuing to reach new heights…”

         -Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

“…never ceases to amaze”

        -UPTOWN Magazine, July 09

“…vivid, gripping theatre that will haunt your imagination long after you’ve seen it”

        -NOW Magazine, Toronto June 09

“The second play is as ingenious as its predecessor…. Riveting: A Canadian classic in the making.”

         -Edmonton Journal, August 09

-CBC Winnipeg, July 08

 I was… left in awe with no choice but to stand and applaud long after the show had finished.”

-Ignite Magazine

“The concluding chapter in Edmonton playwright Kenneth Brown’s Second World War melodrama confirms the trilogy’s place as a Canadian theatrical classic. ”

-Morley Walker, Winnipeg Free Press

 “Kenneth Brown’s trilogy is excellent theatre that deserves to be seen for years to come.”

-Mike O’Brian, CBC Winnipeg

SWEET LIES

“Modernizing and feminizing Cyrano de Bergerac, Sweet Lies is a seamlessly executed farce…”

-FISH GRIWKOYSKY, Edmonton Journal

“Sweet Lies is a delightful romantic comedy, with a crisp, well-paced story and a charming cast.”  -Kathleen Bell, EdmontonFringe.ca

LOVE AND DEATH:

LOVE AND DEATH… is a musical review/hallucination/story/game show/brain movie. Yes, of course, one of those. And who, I ask you, is better equipped to function in all those areas than the wide-ranging Brown who once took a lesser known Dickens’ novel (The Old Curiosity Shop) and turned it into an immensely entertaining, action-filled, intellect-fuelling, barn-burner of a Fringe adventure.”

A summing up of a life well lived and one that will continue.  He says he plans to travel for the next 10 months. I can hardly wait for next year’s show.”  

     -Colin McLean, Edmonton Sun

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