Founded in 1982 and based in the Big Secret Theatre in Calgary's Arts Commons, the One Yellow Rabbit performing ensemble has developed from a band of young theatre rebels to one of Canada's best known and respected companies. Until the 2014/15 season, the One Yellow Rabbit performing ensemble included Co-Artistic Directors Blake Brooker and Michael Green, Associate Artist Denise Clarke, Actor Andy Curtis and Sound Designer Richard McDowell.
This internationally acclaimed ensemble remains vibrant and vital after the sudden passing of both Richard McDowell (September 3, 1954 — November 7, 2014) and Michael Green (January 21, 1957 — February 10, 2015) during the 2014/15 season with Blake Brooker as the sole Artistic Director, Associate Artist Denise Clarke and Actor Andy Curtis. The work that continues to be created by some of Canada's most senior creation artists endeavours to foster a more civil, interesting, and stimulating society that nourishes its people, values the local and authentic, and is thoughtful, life-loving, and fun.
On July 1, 2015 Artistic Director Blake Brooker was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada by the Right Honourable David Johnston, which followed Denise Clarke's appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada on December 30, 2013. Earlier in 2013 Denise Clarke also received an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Calgary.
One Yellow Rabbit is proud to have received the FFWD Magazine Reader's Choice Award for Calgary's Best Theatre Company thirteen consecutive times, and to have been honoured as the 2007 recipient of the Lt. Governor of Alberta Arts Award.
View the Ensemble Profile video prepared by CHUM TV in Calgary for the Lieutenant Governor General of Alberta Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Photo by Trudie Lee
Co-Founder, Artistic Director, Writer, Director
Blake is a founding member of One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre and an award-winning writer and director whose work has been presented throughout Canada and in Europe. He has created or collaborated on such productions as The Erotic Irony of Old Glory, Tears of a Dinosaur, Serpent Kills, The Land The Animals, Dance Freak, Breeder, Permission, Alien Bait, The Ugly Man, Conniption Cabaret, Mata Hari: Tigress at the City Gates, So Low, Hunger's Brides, Doing Leonard Cohen, In Klezskavania, Death In New Orleans, Somalia Yellow, The History of Wild Theatre, Thunderstruck, Featherland, Letters To Wendy's, High Performance Radio: Andrew Allan's Chair, Kawasaki Exit, Taking Shakespeare, People You May Know, Munich Now, and most recently What The Thunder Said.
Blake has collaborated with Bruce McCulloch on a screen adaptation of Barbara Gowdy's Mr. Sandman, and the stage production of Young Drunk Punk, and directed a music video from Dream Machine for Bravo!FACT.
On July 1, 2015 Blake was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada, one of Canada's highest civilian honours.
Denise began working with One Yellow Rabbit in 1983 and became Associate Artist and a permanent member of the Ensemble in 1986. She has created or co-created several shows including The Erotic Irony of Old Glory, Touch, CD Dance, Breeder, So Low, Permission, Featherland, Sign Language, Heavens to Murgatroid, A Fabulous Disaster, Smash Cut Freeze, and Wag. In 1997, Denise created the Summer Lab Intensive and as Director continues to welcome a broad range of established and emerging artists from all over the world. She continues to teach, provide master classes, and lecture across Canada and abroad.
Other work includes choreography for Theatre Calgary and Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary, Edmonton's Citadel Theatre, Crows Theatre, Canadian Stage Company in Toronto, the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, and the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake. Denise has toured extensively in shows including Ilsa, Queen of the Nazi Love Camp, Mata Hari: Tigress at the City Gates, Doing Leonard Cohen, Thunderstruck, Sign Language, and Dream Machine.
On December 30th, 2013, Denise Clarke was appointed as a Member to the Order of Canada, one of Canada's highest civilian honours. Prior to this appointment, Denise was also recognized by the University of Calgary with an Honourary Doctorate from the Faculty of Arts.
Andy Curtis has performed and toured internationally with One Yellow Rabbit since 1987 in numerous shows including What The Thunder Said, Munich Now, People You May Know, Schlachter Tango, Kawasaki Exit, Gilgamesh La-Z-Boy, Dream Machine, Thunderstruck, and Doing Leonard Cohen. Other favorites roles include Vertigo Theatre's production of The 39 Steps, Ground Zero/Hit and Myth's The Pillowman, and Shadow Theatre's Sterling Award winning production of Underneath The Lintel. Andy played Jake in the Station Arts production of W.O. Mitchell's Jake and the Kid and Directed Mesa, Picnic, The Carrot Warrior, Paranormal, and The Cruise for Ghost River Theatre.
Andy has worked with many Calgary theatres including: Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Lunchbox Theatre, Quest Theatre, and Stage West, and continues to work with theatre companies across Canada.
Andy's work has been recognized by the Betty Mitchell Awards in Calgary, Sterling Awards in Edmonton, and with the Lt. Governor of Alberta Performing Arts Award with the One Yellow Rabbit Ensemble.
January 21, 1957 — February 10, 2015
Remembered as Co-Founder, Co-Artistic Director, Actor, and Curator of the High Performance Rodeo
As the Co-Artistic Director and a founding member of Calgary's One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre, Michael was recognized as an accomplished actor, writer, director, and cultural producer. In 2012, Michael served as Curator and Creative Producer for Calgary's Cultural Capital of Canada celebrations. As a legacy project of Calgary 2012, Michael was a significant force behind the establishment of the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society and acted as the Executive Producer/Creator of the Making Treaty 7 Projects, which invites all Calgarians to imagine our shared future through the frame of the founding event of Southern Alberta, the signing of Treaty 7 at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877.
On February 10, 2015 Michael Green — along with five others — was the victim of a fatal multi-vehicle car crash. Although Michael's loss is felt deeply, we continue to be inspired by his originality and vision. He was an exuberant spirit who embraced the exceptional and the unusual and wanted to share it with as many people as possible.
September 3, 1954 — November 7, 2014
Remembered as Resident Composer and Sound Designer
Richard joined the Ensemble in 1988 and was One Yellow Rabbit's Resident Composer and Sound Designer, web guy, digital media guy, network guy and Mac guru. On November 7th, 2014 while in rehearsal for OYR's production of What The Thunder Said Richard suffered a fatal heart attack.
Richard produced and performed scores for over 30 works including Munich Now, People You May Know, Taking Shakespeare, Smash Cut Freeze, Kawasaki Exit, Gilgamesh La-Z-Boy, Down With Up With People, Liberators, Occupiers and Population, Heavens to Murgatroid, Dream Machine, Featherland, Thunderstruck, Doing Leonard Cohen, Permission, and So Low. Richard toured and performed with the One Yellow Rabbit Performing Ensemble across Canada and to Scotland, Germany, Holland, the Czech Republic, Mexico and the United States.
In August 2013, Richard was recognized by Calgary's Betty Mitchell Awards with the Dean Ott/Debbie Boult Award for outstanding achievement in Technical Production and with the One Yellow Rabbit Performing Ensemble was honoured in 2007 with the Lt. Governor of Alberta Arts Award.
Photos of Blake Brooker, Denise Clarke and Andy Curtis by Trudie Lee