Theatre Encounter | About
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our mandate

Theatre Encounter’s mandate is to create expressive alternative productions of theatre’s classic works with a focus on physical explorations and textual interpretations. Theatre Encounter enhances community development by artistic and social means through the essence of quintessential theatre.


By reinventing classic texts through a modern Canadian perspective, with a strong emphasis on provocative language and embodying movement, Theatre Encounter offers Calgarians an alternative to the mainstream view of classic dramatic literature.

our vision

Theatre Encounter’s vision is to create a world-class experimental theatre company and artistic & social research environment by reinventing the traditional into the contemporary, in order to push the cutting edge of artistic and social boundaries.

our approach

Grotowski tells us that at the core of theatre is an encounter.


Theatre may tell stories, it may not. It may speak to the real, to the banal, to the world as we know it. Or, it may reach into the surreal, the strange, the unexpected.


We practice a theatre of experimentation and collaboration. We seek out the essential truths of classic texts, and illuminate them in unexpected ways. It is demanding work; it challenges norms. It makes us question ourselves, our societies and cultures by taking these messages and placing them in new contexts.


Together with our audiences, we create a dynamic connection that only happens when bodies relate intellectually, emotionally and energetically. This is visceral; it is a happening that can only exist when we encounter each other. To use the words of Antonin Artaud, “we are not appealing to the audience’s minds or senses, but to their whole existence. To theirs and ours.”

Theatre Encounter Gratefully acknowledges the support of our sponsors and funders:

This is a theatre for the daring, for the bold, for the irreverent and the uncompromising.

Theatre Encounter creates an audience base interested in reconnecting to quintessential work. Alternative versions attract young adult audiences craving fresh interpretations. Stimulating intellectual and physical reactions is the heart of what Theatre Encounter is trying to accomplish artistically. By doing classic works, Theatre Encounter opens itself up to a broad audience potential, which incorporates diverse cultures of Calgary, who historically have been the foundation of Western classic theatre.

Michael Fenton, Artistic Director, is a director and performer based out of Calgary, Alberta; he attained a B.F.A. in drama from the University of Lethbridge and a M.F.A. in directing from the University of Calgary. Michael has worked at various theatres across Canada and New Zealand, whilst performing touring productions and directing plays. A four-year stint in Asia allowed him to observe and participate in an expansive array of performing arts from India to Japan. While willing to experiment with any theatrical genre and style, he holds an affinity for Expressionism, Melodrama and verse. Some directing highlights include Durang’s The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Christchurch Drama Centre, New Zealand), Brecht’s Baal (The University of Calgary), Barrie’s Peter Pan (Assistant Director, Alberta Theatre Projects) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Theatre Encounter).

Lauren Mazuryk, Managing Director, is currently working in Human Resource Management within the manufacturing sector. She has spent the last 7 years working in administration and human resources in the automotive industry in Ontario and has recently moved back to her home town of Calgary. Lauren received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Lethbridge where she was actively involved in the Theatre Arts Society and the creation of Twoonie Theatre. She is currently completing her Certified Human Resources Professional designation through the HRIA.

Val Duncan, Artistic Producer, is a graduate of the University of Calgary and has also been privileged to study performance and devised creation with Double Edge Theatre (USA), Ghost River Theatre, Kokoro Dance (CAN) and Butoh GooSayTen (JPN). A company member since 2008, she has performed in numerous productions with Theatre Encounter.  When not working with Theatre Encounter, Val has performed and carried out production activities with companies such as The Shakespeare Co., Valour & Tea, The Old Trout Puppet Workshop, Spirit Fire Theatre, Handsome Alice Theatre and Alberta Ballet.

Mike Unrau, Company Co-Founder and Artistic Associate, is currently is doing his PhD studies in creativity and social innovation with a focus on embodiment. He offers trainings in physical theatre, embodied leadership and creativity, and has presented/led in Canada, India and Europe. Please contact munrau [at] for further info.


President – Jodie Schmalzbauer

Secretary – Lauren Mazuryk

Treasurer – Holley McNulty

Director – Simon Sia


Artistic Director – Michael Fenton

Managing Director – Lauren Mazuryk

Artistic Producer – Val Duncan

Honorary Artistic Associate & Co-Founder – Mike Unrau