Kathleen Cleland Moyer and John Moyer founded Backyard Theatre in Kitchener in 2010 but their work unearthing important local stories has been going on for much longer. Backyard Theatre engages theatre professionals and community members to build an unforgettable theatre experience that connects us and transforms us.
Read the recent Record article on the story of Backyard Theatre!
Kathleen Cleland Moyer writes, directs, and produces plays that feature original stories that matter. She strives to engage the community and professional artists at every point in the theatre making process, from discovering the story to bringing it to life on stage. Kathleen has been writing and directing plays since the early nineties. In 2010 she and John Moyer officially launched Backyard Theatre in Kitchener. Recent Backyard Theatre plays include:
The Other Side of the River (Historical Drama. Written from 2015-2018. Produced in 2019). Written in consultation with three Six Nations consultants, The Other Side of the River is based on a true and riveting family story from early Canada that explores identity, love, loyalty, and betrayal.
Nowhere, Ontario (Historical Drama. Written in 2012. Produced in 2012 and 2013.). First performed in the intimate Backyard Theatre venue (The Honey House), it was later remounted in a large downtown theatre. Performances were sold out for this powerful family drama that was set during the turbulent times in 1916 Berlin, (Kitchener) Ontario.
Kitchener: Ich Liebe Dich (Comedy/Farce. Written in 2010. Produced in 2010 and 2015.) This zany spoof of all things Kitchener contained original music, a touch of mystery and plenty of “camp”. Audiences adored this show when it premiered in 2010 in the Honey House and the second time it ran (2015).
Friendly Fire (Historical Drama. Written in 2008.). Kathleen received an honourable mention in the prestigious Herman Voaden 2009 national playwriting competition for this yet unproduced family drama set in post-war Ontario.
Barn Talk (Comedy. Written in 2003. Produced in 2003 and 2004.). Performed in a 200-seat barn in Shakespeare to capacity audiences, Barn Talk (a play about religion and politics and other things you can’t talk about in the house) was produced in cooperation with Rick and Louise Cober Bauman (the owners of the farm) and sponsored by Conflict Resolution Network Canada.
Awards and Recognition
Fellowship of Man Award (1994) in recognition of outstanding work with youth to improve their well-being through drama.
Frank Epp Memorial Peace Award (1997) for writing/producing Red/Bleu, a play about English/French conflict.
Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition (2009) -- honourable mention for the war-time drama Friendly Fire. The competition was adjudicated by preeminent Canadian playwright Sharon Pollock.
John Moyer Actor, Co-producer
John Moyer is the co-founder and co-producer of Backyard Theatre and plays a variety of behind the scenes roles in each production. Most recently, he enjoyed the challenge of being Production Manager for The Other Side of the River, Backyard Theatre’s most complex show to date. John is energized by being part of the creative process, from listening to the first germ of an idea to seeing it come to life on stage. As a recently retired high school History teacher, John provides an invaluable resource to the historical research phase of play creation and connects Backyard Theatre to the broader educational community.
At showtime John plays a more visible role in Backyard Theatre. He has acted in every play beginning in 1990 (long before it was officially Backyard Theatre) with I Just Moved to Tavistock. Other roles have included Jimmy McKay in Barn Talk, Martin Nagel in Nowhere Ontario, the Engineer in Kitchener Ich Liebe Dich: Finding Love in the City of Summer Sausage, and Charlie Green in The Other Side of the River.