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Announcement (Alberta): Playwright Vern Thiessen writes “Bluebirds” for Artstrek 2017 – Theatre Alberta

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Announcement (Alberta): Playwright Vern Thiessen writes “Bluebirds” for Artstrek 2017 – Theatre Alberta

Mini play features three Canadian nurses at No. 1 Canadian General Hospital near Étaples

Nationally renowned playwright Vern Thiessen has written an addendum to VIMY, the Artstrek 2017 play of study, titled BLUEBIRDS. The mini play, created by Thiessen specifically for females, features the stories of three young women, Canadian nurses nicknamed “bluebirds,” serving in France in WW I. BLUEBIRDS was written for Artstrek students to explore this summer. It is poetic, compassionate and brave, and heart wrenching.

Excerpt from A Note from the Playwright, BLUEBIRDS:

Here, at the Wimereux Communal Cemetery, at least ten women were buried. Simon confirmed that Boulogne and nearby Étaples were hospital sites, often called “Hospital City” at the time. He also showed us the Étaples graveyard, a magnificent, overwhelming thing to behold, where the three women in this play are buried.

On May 19, 1918, No. 1 Canadian General Hospital near Étaples was attacked by air. Katherine Macdonald, Margaret Lowe, and Gladys Wake lost their lives.

Read more here.

Artstrek students will study BLUEBIRDS in conjunction with Thiessen’s VIMY.

Artstrek 2017 will be held at Red Deer College during the following dates:

  • Exploration I: July 9 – 14 | 12 – 14 year olds | Early Bird $625 + GST
  • Exploration II: July 16 – 21 | 14 – 16 year olds | Early Bird $625 + GST
  • Exploration III: July 23 – 29 | 16 – 18 year olds | Early Bird $675 + GST

IMPORTANT: Students who register after May 19 must add $40 + GST to the above fees.

Financial assistance from Theatre Alberta is limited, and will be provided to those in the greatest need. We request that scholarship applicants provide whatever portion of the Artstrek program fee possible. We encourage applying for funding from a community sponsorship to make up the balance of the fee.

For more information on fees and assistance, please click here.

IMPORTANT: The deadline to apply for financial assistance from Theatre Alberta is Friday, May 19, 2017.

This can be done as part of the online application process or by emailing Andy Jenkins, Program Coordinator, at

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