Local director shines light on global crisis
Kelsey Krogman - Strathmore director Stephen Waldschmidt is directing the world premier of She Has a Name showing at the Epcor Centre in Calgary from Feb.23 to March 5.
Haunted by a passion for the theatre and compelled to educate audiences, Strathmore resident, Stephen Waldschmidt has taken up the directorial helm of She Has a Name, playing in Calgary at the Epcor Centre mid February.
The script, written by award winning writer Andrew Kooman, caught Waldschmidt's attention from the first read.
"She Has A Name is a story that haunts me," says Waldschmidt. "Even during my very first read, the plays emotional journey really gripped my heart. I still can't put it down. Our audience's live experience of Jason and number 18's struggle will inspire and stir lasting action. It's my belief that She Has A Name will be an inspirational force that educates and informs Canadians and hopefully motivates them to take action on the issue of human trafficking."
Haunted by anguished voices, a Canadian lawyer (Jason) poses as a "john" to build a legal case against a ring of brothels trafficking girls into Bangkok. The play focuses around Jason and his journey to win the trust of a young prostitute known only as number 18 and convince her to risk her life to testify for the sake of justice.
She has a Name, focuses on heavier content and has prompted producers to issue a audience advisory for young children.
"We have place an advisory for parents," Waldschmidt explained. "If it were a movie it would probably be classified PG13."
Waldschmidt, a Chicago native, began his journey in the performing arts as an actor, but quickly realized that his calling was directing.
"I got into theatre as a kid as an actor," Waldschmidt said. "When I was doing my undergrad at the University of Calgary I got to take a directing class, and realized that I approach a lot of things from a director's stand point, in terms of a how a play works and why the play would be worth doing. "
Dual partner in the Burnt Thicket Theatre, Waldschmidt helped create a Hockey Dad: a play in three periods.
"I'm connected with the Burnt Thicket Theatre," Waldschmidt explained. "It's a small and new company, but we created Hockey Dad in Strathmore. It played in Vancouver for two weeks during the Olympics, it wasn't an official event, but it was running in conjunction with the Olympic events."
The father of two, and husband to Pastor Waldschmidt of the Hope Community Church, believes there is a strong entertainment following in Strathmore.
"I have a lot of friends that buy season tickets out in Rosebud," Waldschmidt said. "They love it, and it's a way to experience some theatre and have a little rural experience since Rosebud is so unique."