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United Way benefits from Nightingale

Touching on such gender issues as violence towards women and the disparity of power between the sexes, the moving play by Timberlake Wertenbaker, The Love of the Nightingale is an ideal fit for the Department of Drama’s new program to support the University of Calgary’s 2012 United Way campaign.

Running from Oct. 23 to Nov. 3 at the University Theatre, the department’s production of the Wertenbaker play will lend a hand to the United Way with its Performing Change Gala on Oct. 26. All proceeds for that evening’s gala will go to the charitable institution dedicated to the betterment of families in the community.

“These events in the Wertenbaker play provoke thought, offer insight and they may help people understand some of the issues that the United Way supports in a whole new way,” says Clem Martini, head of the Department of Drama.

The Love of the Nightingale is a 1989 play by the British playwright Wertenbaker which adapts the Ancient Greek myth of the rape of Philomela by her brother-in-law Tereus, and the revenge of Philomela and her sister Procne.

With the prevention of family violence being a key United Way mandate, Martini felt the play was a natural for the Performing Change Gala, which he hopes becomes an annual event.

“The play looks at violence towards women and the silencing of women… and also at what can be done to provide voice for the oppressed, promote equality and to provide protection,” says Martini. “This content shines light on what the United Way is working on.”

Martini adds: “Sometimes people see drama solely for its entertainment value, but I’ve never thought of it as only having that application. I think it has the power to do many things simultaneously. It has the power to entertain, but also to educate, uplift and illuminate.”

Martini says this collaboration between the university and the United Way is one of mutual benefit.

“For those who have supported United Way but maybe don’t know anything about our drama season, here’s a chance to come in and experience something new and exciting,” he says. “And for those who have come to our season but haven’t had the opportunity to find out about all the good work the United Way is doing, this is your chance.”

Tickets for The Love of the Nightingale are available at the Campus Ticket Centre (403-220-7202) or at the door. For ticket prices and show times visit

Tickets for the Oct. 26 Performing Change Gala can be purchased at or call 403-220-7202. Proceeds go to the University of Calgary’s United Way campaign.