When a middle-aged Canadian woman who is a hidden Jew joins the British Special Operations Executive during WWII as a spy in occupied France, her male colleague is sceptical she will make a difference because she’s a woman – and an ‘old’ one at that. However, she defies expectations and challenges the chauvinism and Antisemitism of the times by using her invisibility as an asset and employing a classically female craft to pass coded intelligence about the Germans to the Allies: knitting.
Spycraft was performed on July 5th, 2022 as the final showing of Stories from the Part: A New Play Series.
Production Photos, Drayton Arms Theatre, July 2022
Kirk Dunn, Playwright
Kirk is an actor, writer, and knitter. He trained at York university’s Theatre Performance programme. His stage credits include two tours of Billy Bishop Goes to War for Ergo Arts Theatre (a show he also did at Gypsy Theatre); Merlin and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at Young People’s Theatre; Dads! The Musical at the Charlottetown Festival, Stirling Theatre, and Drayton Theatre; Romeo and Juliet at the Ford Centre; More Munsch at The Grand Theatre; The War Show, A Flea in Her Ear, Don’t Dress for Dinner, and The Affections of May for Drayton; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with the Toronto Consort; and Fortune and Men’s Eyes at the Tarragon. TV highlights include not being seen for 3 seasons as the lead on TVO/PBS’s Gemini award-winning The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon, during which he was ensconced in an 8-foot-tall green dragon puppet. Kirk has been knitting since 1988 and designing since 1996. In 1998, he apprenticed at the Kaffe Fassett Studio in London, England. In 2003, Kirk was awarded a significant Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Foundation Fellowship for “Stitched Glass,” an installation of 6’ x 9’ panels hand-knit in the style of stained glass, exploring the commonalities and conflicts amongst Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Knitting the tapestries took Kirk fifteen years. His one-man show about that journey, The Knitting Pilgrim, has toured for over 50 shows and is set to tour Austria in June, 2023. Two documentaries about Kirk and his knitting have been made: the award-winning “Stitched Glass—The Documentary,” from filmmakers Ian Daffern and Omar Majeed, and “Threads of Abraham” from filmmaker Todd Whitham. During COVID, Kirk and his wife Claire have produced a digital interview series called The Knitting Pilgrim Talks, with conversations between Kirk and guests who are artists, clergy and academics to provide background and context to The Knitting Pilgrim. Kirk's writing for television includes multiple episodes of The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon (YTV, TVO and PBS), Ants In Your Pants,Fuzzpaws (Treehouse), and Hello Mrs. Cherrywinkle (OWL TV for PBS). Supported by the Toronto Arts Council, Kirk and his wife, Claire Ross Dunn, co-wrote The Knitting Pilgrim, a one-man theatre show about Kirk’s experience knitting “Stitched Glass.” Solo, Kirk has written three musicals for young audiences, including The Lost Land and Derek the Viking, both of which were awarded first prize in StoryBook Theatre's playwrighting competition and which have been produced across North America. Kirk and Claire recently wrote a new play, Spycraft, about the female Allied operatives in WWII who coded intelligence into their knitting to spy on the Germans. The script’s development was supported by the Toronto Arts Council.
Her first novel, At Last Count, will be released by Invisible Publishing in June, 2022.
She has written several movies: Falling For Look Lodge (Neshama, Marvista/Hallmark); the story for An Ice Wine Christmas (Cineflix/Lifetime); and Cupids on Beacon Street (Incendo/City TV). Claire story edited the award-winning features Truckstop Bloodsuckers and Picture Day.
TV credits include Supervising Producer of Make It Pop for Nickelodeon/YTV; writer/ESE on Little Mosque on the Prairie (CBC/Hulu); writer on Degrassi, The Next Generation for CTV/Teen Nick (for which Claire earned The Alliance for Children and Television Award for Excellence); head writer/producer for The Smart Woman Survival Guide (W/Cosmo TV); and writer/ESE on Wingin’ It for Family/Disney XD/BBC (earning Claire a 2014 Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Writing, Children’s/Youth). She has written or story edited on many other shows for networks such as Nickelodeon, BBC, CBC, NBC Universal Kids, PBS, Family, YTV, Youku, RAI, Gulli, and TVO.
For digital-first, Claire is Executive Producer for ZARQA, a comedy for CBC Gem created by Zarqa Nawaz, and is an Executive Producer for an interview series called The Knitting Pilgrim Talks.
Claire co-wrote the YA non-fiction The Gymnastics Book: A Young Performer’s Guide to Gymnastics, currently in its third edition with Firefly. She has also written multiple personal pieces for the Globe and Mail, and has had a commentary broadcast on CBC Radio.
Supported by the Canada Council and the Toronto Arts Council, Claire co-wrote The Knitting Pilgrim for the theatre with Kirk Dunn, which has toured for over 50 shows and is set to tour Austria in June, 2023.
Claire trained as an actor at York university’s Theatre Performance programme. She later attended the Canadian Film Centre as a Writer Resident. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Kirk Dunn. Together they have two children, Findley and Emmett.
Kay is director, dramaturg, producer, and actor from Toronto, Canada. Kay’s theatre training comes from the prestigious Theatre Performance programme at Humber College in Toronto where she studied as an actor. Kay is a graduate of East 15’s Directing Programme where she was awarded an MA with distinction in theatre directing. She has also studied with GITIS International in Moscow, Russia, in partnership with East 15 Acting School. Directing credits include Lysistrata (how.dare.collective. Toronto Fringe 2017, Best Ensemble Nominee, My Entertainment World Awards 2017), Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (LowDown Theatre Company), The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Alumnae Theatre Company, New Ideas Festival 2018), CARMILLA (Montreal and Toronto Fringe, 2018), Mustard (Little Lion Theatre Company, The Drayton Arms Pub Theatre, 2020), What You Will, or Twelfth Night (Little Lion Theatre Company, Tea House Theatre, 2020), Highway 1: Stories from Far and Wide (Stories From Home, Little Lion Theatre Company, Drayton Arms Theatre, 2021)and Beautiful Vida: A Staged Reading (Little Lion Theatre Company, Etcetera Theatre, 2021).
As an assistant director, she has been a part of The Things That Were There (Valerie Christiansen, Theatre Festival Pending at The Hen and Chickens Theatre, 2019), King Lear (Jeremy Mortimer, East 15 Acting School, 2019), Brazen Head (Matt Harrison, East 15 Acting School, 2019), The AB Project: The Return (David Glass, David Glass Ensemble, 2019), and as an associate director on Accidentally Muslim (AMP Productions, Edinburgh Fringe 2019). (kaybrattan.com)
Biz Lyon, Audette Whitlock
Biz Lyon is an actor and director based in Central London. Originally from Kentucky, Biz has studied at The Juilliard School and The New School in New York City and recently received her MFA in acting from East 15 Acting School in London. Biz has lived and worked in New York City, Los Angeles, Tennessee, and now London. Recent acting work includes a role on the Showtime series “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and a role in George Clooney’s “The Boys in the Boat.” She most recently appeared on stage in March 2022 as Lady Jane Wilde in “Vengeance: The Demise of Oscar Wilde,” a new musical, and as Olivia in Little Lion Theatre Company’s adaptation of Twelfth Night, titled “What You Will" at the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall. She has also played Hovstad in 'An Enemy of the People' at the Bridewell Theatre, Marlene in 'Top Girls’ with East 15 Acting School and starred in the one-woman Civil War-era show “A World Kicked To Pieces” based on the writings of Mary Boykin Chesnut.
Biz’ most recent directing projects were for Little Lion’s “Stories from the Past” this week and the “Stories from Home” series in November 2021 where she directed “The Florrons Cake” and “Across the Causeway,” two new plays from Canadian writers. Her other directing credits include 'Love's Labours Lost’ and 'Crimes of the Heart’ in Tennessee and 'Tobacco Road’ in Los Angeles
Simon Bass, Simon Rawlings
Bedfordshire born and a former financial trainer in the Bank of England, Simon graduated from Kogan Academy of Dramatic Art in 2017. Stage credits include McLeavy in Loot, Col. Redfern in Look Back in Anger, Phillipe Durand in Facing Death (Strindberg) and Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. A member of Directors Cut Theatre for four years, he has also performed numerous new material at Southwark Playhouse, appearing there again soon in ‘Write to Right’ on 7th July. He also recently appeared on TV as Benjamin Holt, inventor of the caterpillar tractor on Sky History (‘The Machines That Built America’), at the LGBTQ+ BFI Flare film festival in the short film ‘Octopus’ as a drunk widower, and as Zac the Zen man in a Skoda Fabia advert. Currently, he can be seen in Harlee’s music video for her debut single ‘Reset’, playing a guilt-ridden, suffering father. His favourite job to date was being ‘forced’ to wear a bright pink disco suit for a Checkatrade advert. Spotlight 4773-5616-2769 Represented by TTA
Heather Jones, Marjorie Ennis & June Grey
Heather trained in Musical Theatre at both The Royal Central School Of Speech and Drama and Bird College. She has worked professionally all over the UK with the immersive show Only Fools The Cushty Dining Experience playing both Marlene and Cassandra. Heather also played Maria in Little Lion Theatre Company’s most recent Twelfth Night. She is delighted to be working with the company again as Sophie in Family Tradition. Heather is a keen actor, singer and dancer who also plays the ukulele and drums. In her spare time, Heather enjoys yoga, walking, baking and candle making.Heather trained in Musical Theatre at both The Royal Central School Of Speech and Drama and Bird College. She has worked professionally all over the UK with the immersive show Only Fools The Cushty Dining Experience playing both Marlene and Cassandra. Heather also played Maria in Little Lion Theatre Company’s most recent Twelfth Night. She is delighted to be working with the company again as Sophie in Family Tradition. Heather is a keen actor, singer and dancer who also plays the ukulele and drums. In her spare time, Heather enjoys yoga, walking, baking and candle making.
Timotheus Widmer, Gerald Butterfield & Hans Mueller
Timotheus studied Business Engineering and worked as an engineer before he had the guts to leave Switzerland and pursue his dream to become a professional actor. To find out if he really wanted to do it, he co-produced a feature film called Incognito in Switzerland and acted in it, and lucky for us, he realised he did! Timotheus graduated as an MFA in Acting (International) at East 15 Acting School in 2022. During his studies he co-founded the Bodies for Rent Theatre Company and acted in its inaugural production, Nocturnal Fantasy. Timotheus loves working on new projects and creating a world for the audience where they can forget their day to day life.
Val Adams, Liesl Mueller
Val trained at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She has a wide range of theatrical experiences both in New York and internationally including “Smile The Musical”, “Henry V” (Off-Broadway) and lead vocalist in “Enlightened Up!” She has toured Italy with “Gypsy” and “The Phantom of the Opera”. She has also appeared as Lead Vocalist aboard Aida Aura. Television and Film credits include “I Bastardi di Pizzofalcone” and a recurring feature in the HBO series “My Brilliant Friend” and well as the second series of “Devils” and “His Dark Materials”. She made her London debut in the musical “It Happened in Key West” at the Charing Cross Theatre and she is now featured in the Original London Cast Recording, newly released by Broadway Records.
Spycraft Cast, November 27th and 28th Performances
Rosemary Lippard, Marjorie Ennis & June Grey
Rosemary Lippard is a Welsh actor-musician currently based in London. Just as skilled with a broadsword as she is with a mandolin, she received her training at the Manchester School of Theatre receiving a BA with hons. Rosemary is a seasoned Shakespearean performer having performed for 2 seasons with the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival as Maria in “Twelfth Night”, Portia in “Julius Caesar” Lady Anne in “Richard III”, and Prince Arviragus in “Cymbeline”. She has worked as an actor in theatre, film, and voice overs (for both radio and audio drama) with recent performing credits including Sebastian in “What You Will” (Little Lion Theatre Company), Jane Bennet/Narrator in “Pride and Prejudice” (Sun and Moon Theatre), The Lady in “About a Girl” (Ragged Scratch Podcast), and Peggy in the short film “The Good Wife” (dir. Toby Harris).
Matteo Mikkelsen, Gerald Butterfield & Hans Mueller
Matteo Mikkelsen is a Danish actor who graduated from East 15 Acting School this summer. During his time in drama school, he played Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona, Platonov in Platonov and Trofimov in The Cherry Orchard. Matteo has lived in a multitude of European countries and speaks both German and Italian fluently. Professionally he has acted in TV series such as Pros and Cons and Oegendahl og de Store Forfattere as well as the feature film Pound for Pound as a voice actor. Portraying the role of Danny, he and the rest of the team behind the short film Bolobrain won the award for best short at the 2019 edition of The Ambrosia Filmfestival. Although currently based in London, he briefly went back to Copenhagen in September to participate in the devised theatre play Love Warriors on Anholt, which was performed at the acclaimed theatre Folketeateret.