CENTRE WELLINGTON – The Fergus Grand Theatre’s 2022-23 presenting series continues on Feb. 25 with a special 2pm matinee performance of The Knitting Pilgrim, a unique play that explores empathy and understanding – with knitting – and helps audiences find the common thread.
Directed by Jennifer Tarver, and performed by actor, writer and knitter Kirk Dunn, The Knitting Pilgrim is a multidisciplinary one-person theatrical experience that uses storytelling, image projection and a one-of-a-kind textile installation called Stitched Glass.
The installation is a triptych of large hand-knitted panels, designed in the style of stained-glass windows, which looks at the commonalities and conflicts amongst the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Dunn and seasoned writer Claire Ross Dunn co-wrote The Knitting Pilgrim, which uses the Stitched Glass panels – collectively over 90 pounds of knitting – as its set.
The play recounts Dunn’s artistic and spiritual journey of hand-knitting the giant project, and his hope to contribute to the vital conversation about xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, dealing with internal and external strife, and fear of the other.
“The hope behind Stitched Glass has always been to create conversation,” says Dunn, who sought out Christian, Muslim and Jewish consultants to help him research and design the artwork and, more personally, to learn about the feelings and experiences of others.
“A conversation between all people—believers and non-believers—who find themselves in conflict. How can we better understand and empathize with each other? Everyone has a unique background, point of view, and experience, and at the same time, many experiences are universal,” he said.
“Focusing on what knits us together, rather than what pulls us apart, is a place to start.”
Knitting is encouraged during the show if audience members are so inclined (#BYOK) – with Kirk planning to use the audience’s knitting in a forthcoming mystery project!
Stitched Glass was supported by the Ontario Arts Council through the Chalmers Foundation.
The Knitting Pilgrim was supported by the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Tickets are selling quickly and are available in the box office, by phone at 519-787-1981, or online at www.fergusgrandtheatre.ca.