The Play Origins Development Sibling Abuse Impact
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CreateTruth Productions

Lorene Stanwick – Playwright – Co-Founder/Producer CreateTruth Productions

Lorene is a writer, actor, and counsellor, and in these varied roles, has created, shared, or listened to people's stories. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Drama in Education (University of Windsor); Bachelor of Education, English and Dramatic Arts, (University of Toronto); and Master of Education, Counselling Psychology (University of Toronto). As an actor, she has portrayed a wide range of characters including a nun, a psychologist, a madwoman, a witch, and the captain of a cruise ship. She is a member of Workman Arts, an award winning multidisciplinary arts and mental health organization known internationally for its artistic collaborations and presentations.

Lorene is a co-founder of CreateTruth Productions, a creative forum in which to explore, express and raise awareness of the issue of sibling abuse. She envisions the play Broken Branches as the theatrical springboard to further projects about this issue, incorporating performances, presentations, workshops and co-creations with relevant groups including teachers, mental health professionals, parents, children and youth. She is a survivor of sibling abuse, a passionate believer in the healing power of art, and feels that there is no better medium than theatre to begin a cultural shift.

Doug Hennessy – Co-Founder/Producer CreateTruth Productions

Doug brings over 35 years of business experience in human resources management, finance, sales, and executive networking. He is a business consultant for private enterprises and not-for-profit organizations. A musician and avid theatre lover, Doug understands the power of artistic expression to connect with an audience. With his sales experience and natural ability to connect with a wide range of individuals, Doug will lead the fundraising and marketing campaigns. Doug is also well-versed in the issues surrounding sibling abuse; he is Lorene's husband and has been a part of her journey, learning about the complexities of sibling abuse itself, and the long term-impact on survivors.


The Ontario Arts Council

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is guided by the far-seeing mandate it was given in 1963 – to foster the creation and production of art for the benefit of all Ontarians. OAC offers more than fifty funding programs for Ontario-based artists and arts organizations, with funds from the Ontario government. Grants provide assistance for a specific activity, support for a period of time, or for ongoing operations. OAC also offers awards, prizes and scholarships from private funds managed by the Ontario Arts Foundation.

We gratefully acknowledge receipt of a generous Theatre Project Development Grant from the OAC.

Workman Arts

Founded in 1987 by Lisa Brown, Workman Arts is the longest-running multidisciplinary arts and mental health organization in the world. They provide support, education and partnership opportunities for artists with mental illness and addiction issues via arts training programs, as well as public performance/exhibition and partnership opportunities.

We are grateful for the space and the enthusiastic collaboration that will embed into several aspects of this project.

formerly known as the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness

Abuse Hurts is a national, charitable organization that has served Canadians since 1993.The Centre's mandate is to significantly reduce the incidence and impact of abuse through education and public awareness.

Thank you for guidance, sharing and mentoring as we advocate together in pursuit of our mutual goal.


Jackie McAlpine – Theatre Project Consultant

Jackie is a seasoned theatre arts administrator specializing in financial, administrative, and production consulting services for arts organizations and independent artists. In various technical and management capacities, Jackie has worked with a large roster of artists including Theatre Smith Gilmour; Trey Anthony; Sky Gilbert; the Actors Repertory Company; Theatreworks Productions; and Red Sky Performance. As a long-time friend of Lorene Stanwick, Jackie has been privy to the development of Broken Branches since its early days. She is extremely supportive of Lorene as an artist, however, it wasn't until Jackie attended the first table reading of Broken Branches that she offered her considerable experience in terms of the development of the long term project. "The emotional impact of this piece is undeniable; the writing beautiful and compelling. It's important and I want to be involved." Also a trained graphic designer, Jackie is a key contributor to the marketing, promotional and fundraising materials.

Support for Broken Branches

"I had the pleasure of directing Lorene Stanwick in two productions. She is a talented, dedicated performer with real range and charisma on stage. She is creative, inventive, spontaneous and an excellent collaborator. I can't think of a production more worthy of your support. Clearly this is an issue that touches the very core of who Lorene is and she without doubt deserves to further develop and explore this resonant and important topic. Sibling abuse is something that has not often been presented on stage, film or in literature and it absolutely needs to be better understood and represented. A person very central to my life is dealing with this very issue in their past right now. For three decades, I have presented socially relevant theatre and recognize its power and impact. Theatre is one of the most intimate and immediate forums for people to engage and learn about difficult topics and sibling abuse touches every community. Sibling abuse is often overshadowed by other forms of abuse. Lorene intends to set the record straight. I know Lorene and I have complete confidence that her story will touch many people. This is what theatre is all about – telling stories that we feel compelled to tell."

- Jordan Merkur, Director, Artistic Director, Eclectic Theatre, Toronto

"I attended the recent reading of Broken Branches. As a very passionate theatre goer, I was not sure what to expect. In short, I was totally blown away. First, by the insights and nuances of the writing, and then by the staging of three simultaneous "scenes". As an educator at the post secondary level, I can attest to the emotional damage that bullying creates as victims struggle with righting their life, and the long term "invisible" damage this experience causes. I have experienced sibling bullying first hand, and I believe this theme is extremely timely. What impresses me with Lorene's writing is its sensitivity, humour and the impact it had on the audience. Challenging without being didactic. Every single person was riveted, and with good reason. Toronto needs more playwrights with the courage and insight to tackle such important issues."

- David McClyment, Coordinator, Fine Arts Studio Program, Centennial College

"I first became aware of both the issue and Lorene Stanwick's play while listening to The Current on CBC. It gave me a much deeper understanding of my own life and how sibling abuse had touched me. I have been witness to two of the in-process play readings and Broken Branches has been pivotal in my ability to make the connections in my own life, deepen my understanding of this issue, and create healing possibilities. Sibling abuse is a major societal issue, and as such, we all benefit from an artist's exploration."

- AG, Teacher, Artist

"This is a powerful piece of theatre…it touches on the diverse array of human emotions…the way art is supposed to land. Broken Branches brings to our conscience a topic that is not often discussed. It educates the audience on the impact of sibling abuse and provides hope and possibilities for recovery. It genuinely reflects the suffering and the coping mechanisms as well as the power of a support system."

- Risa Handler, MA, RP, CCC, Counsellor, Humber Institute of Technology

"I found the reading of the play Broken Branches riveting. I was drawn into the lives of the characters, and the narrative of the sibling abuse was handled in a very respectful manner. I work as a Counsellor in a community college, and the continuum of feelings and thoughts that the characters experience was enacted in such as way as to promote healing. I felt that the inherent resiliency and capacity to heal from the trauma of sibling abuse was the central theme, bringing a therapeutic value to the play."

- Carla Grey, M.Ed. (Counselling Psych) RP, CCC; Counsellor, Centre for Students with Disabilities, Centennial College

"Sibling bullying and abuse has long been unaddressed. I was pleased to see this subject covered in depth by The Current on CBC radio... it touched me so deeply... I was a victim, and I became a bully. As a victim, my every decision was filtered through the litany of negative beliefs drummed into me by my abuser for 10+ years. As a bully to my youngest sister, I made her life awful. Eventually I apologized, and subsequently worked hard to rebuild our relationship, to make amends. Decades later I still see effects I've had on her life, at every turn. The effects of sibling abuse have lasted a lifetime, for us both. ...Parents often don't see, or don't recognize what is going on. Yet this abuse can impact the emotional landscape of the victim, for decades. I support the creation and production of Broken Branches. These stories need to be heard. To shed light on this topic via a theatrical production is a wonderful idea"

- Diana, co-panelist CBC Radio 1 "The not so safe sanctuary of home"

"I had the pleasure of directing Lorene in a production of Daniel MacIvor's Marion Bridge for the Bloor West Village Players at The Village Playhouse. She brought great passion and drive to the part of Theresa. She was meticulous and professional in her work on the play and it was a successful production for the group. Lorene brings the same passion and drive to her writing and I expect Broken Branches will be a success as well. Though sibling abuse is a difficult subject, it is one that needs more exposure in the community. Live theatre has an intensity that lends itself well to exploring this mental health issue."

- Greg Nowlan, Director

"I have known Lorene for 30 years and she is a dear friend. With her play, Broken Branches, it is a thrill to see Lorene embrace her vocation as a writer. It is equally as thrilling to see a theatre community support her vision as her play moves towards production. ... Our friendship has been informed by an on-going conversation on art, ideas, poetry books and theatre in the creation of a fulfilling life. Everything she does -- whether it be as writer, performer, teacher, counsellor or friend -- strengthens those around her. I am confident that this production will do the same.

- Bruce Walsh, Publisher/Director University of Regina Press

"The importance of bringing awareness to sibling abuse cannot be overstated. The mental and physical cruelty of sibling abuse is a deep dark secret that must be brought into the light. The effects of being beaten and ridiculed over a period of years, scars the psyche permanently. The complete loss of self-esteem leaves the victim helpless to defend him/herself and escape the violence. Child abuse is often discussed and the consequences are known however sibling abuse is a hidden secret. The isolation, loneliness, pain and fear affected my life for more than 30 years. There are only 2 publications on the subject and little research. No one wants to listen and society is left to cope with the physical and emotional wreckage that leads to suicide, depression and despair. I truly hope Lorene's play shines a bright light on the dark past for so many of us who are never heard."

- Roger, co-panelist CBC Radio 1 "The not so safe sanctuary of home"

Copyright 2016 CreateTruth Productions; Designed by J. McAlpine