Conversations with Creators: Owen Bishop

We caught up with one of our creators for Half the Battle: Owen Bishop. After a behind the scene research session at the Calgary Military Museums. Join us on Friday, November 9th for our History Brought to Life talkback series with local history professors.

How long have you been working on Half the Battle?

For this project I have been exploring Canadian history since mid-2013. I was covering everything from equipment, to squadron numbers, to ranks and roles within the RCAF, territories held by who and when, different targets of the air force, divisions of the air force, and all manner of policies and regulations that took place back home to fuel the war effort. To put a number of hours researching alone would be nearly impossible, it’s been in stages for the past half a decade.  

What about this creation process stood out to you the most?

The most incredible part of creating this show was the untold stories that I came across.  After so many Social Studies classes covering WWII, I assumed that I had a strong grasp of Canada’s role in warfare in the first half of the 20th century. But the sacrifices made were unimaginable, and they continue to amaze me as I continue to discover them.  

When I set out to create this piece I never made the declaration that it would be historically accurate, but as the ideas unfolded I was drawn to telling a fictional story within an accurate framework.  Because I was creating the story first and then fitting it to Canadian history, a challenge I came across was reworking the show to maintain the heart of the original story but in a way that didn’t stray from what was true.  

What has the Stage Stepping Stone Program meant to you?

I am so grateful to Sage Theatre and DIY Theatre for this opportunity.  I created the show with the intent to expand and tour it, and to have this collaborative and creative team working with me has provided some fantastic insight.  The Stepping Stone Program is a much needed initiative in Calgary, helping emerging artists not only reach a broader audience but workshop and present their work at a higher level.