Pilgrim knits together stories, acting and conversation

Kirk Dunn’s one-man show is ‘great theatre, great storytelling, great acting’ called The Knitting Pilgrim, will be at Simcoe Street Theatre next week




Theatre Collingwood brings a nationally celebrated show to Collingwood for six performances Aug. 16 to 19 at the Simcoe Street Theatre.

As the performance begins we meet Kirk as he knits in front of three large projection screens. He speaks of his life as an actor, writer, knitter, and PK (preacher’s kid). Interesting mix? Definitely.

Prompted by the events of 9/11, Kirk Dunn knit a huge triptych of tapestries, each 2.8 metres tall by 1.6 metres wide, designed as stained-glass windows, exploring the commonalities and conflicts of the Abrahamic faiths. What he thought would take him 10 months ended up taking him 15 years.

In a show that is all about knitting and not about knitting at all, Kirk takes the audience on an amazing and inspiring journey. He looks at the rise of Islamophobia, antisemitism, and fear of ‘the other,’ and talks about his 15-year journey knitting the tapestries, his artistic path of self-doubt, financial despair, theological questioning and the value of a loving wife who is willing to be a butt-kicking muse. This may seem too intense but it is not. By the end of the show, the audience has laughed, cried and maybe even done some knitting themselves, all while Kirk celebrates diversity, interfaith understanding, and the power of art to get us there.

Theatre Collingwood is thrilled to present Kirk Dunn’s highly acclaimed show, The Knitting Pilgrim, where performance and visual arts intertwine in a glorious theatrical presentation.

“Kirk’s commitment to seeing this remarkable 15-year project through is outstanding. He has taken an accessible medium like knitting and … used it to communicate ideas that can help repair our social fabric. And then to combine it with a piece of theatre — that is to truly create a unique offering.” — Nataley Nagy, executive director, Kelowna Art Gallery

The Knitting Pilgrim is astounding and the opportunity to engage with it and Kirk’s amazing storytelling talent is a much-needed balm for our age, for any age.” — Peter Smith, project and creative director, Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity

The Knitting Pilgrim is a 65-minute one-man interdisciplinary show and 45-minute talkback that has been performed in Canada for over 50 shows in theatres, museums, fringe festivals, places of worship, and community centres. Kirk and his wife, Claire Ross Dunn, co-wrote the show, and Kirk is the sole performer. It premiered in May 2019 at the Aga Khan Museum’s performance space in Toronto, has won a Tootsie Award from one of Canada’s most respected theatre critics, Lynn Slotkin, and has been a critic’s pick at three fringe festivals.

“When Claire first approached me about bringing this show to Collingwood, I jumped at the chance and knew that this was not just a show for knitters, but rather was a show for anyone who loves great theatre, great storytelling, great acting, and cares about people,” said Erica Angus, executive director of Theatre Collingwood. “Plus, there is some really great knitting.”

The show was directed by Jennifer Tarver and supported by the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. In Collingwood the production sponsor is Huronia Security & Monitoring.

This wonderful live and interactive show tells the story of one man’s incredible artistic and spiritual journey.

In a humorous and entertaining format, Kirk delves into the fascinating story of his long knitting journey, theological questioning, and the value of a loving and motivating partner. You don’t have to be a knitter or a theologian to enjoy The Knitting Pilgrim.

Co-written and performed by Kirk Dunn

Co-written by Claire Ross Dunn

Directed by Jennifer Tarver

Presented by Theatre Collingwood at the Simcoe Street Theatre

For tickets, call 705-445-2200 or book online.