By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
The Edmonton theatre community has been shocked by sad bad news today. Playwright/designer/sometime comic improviser David Belke was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.
Belke “has resigned from Shadow Theatre,” where he was a company member and playwright-in-residence. says board president Donal O’Beirne. “The charges have nothing to with his work at Shadow or the Varscona.”
Belke is a longtime fixture in the Edmonton theatre scene, where his contributions have been unusually varied. The dual entry points of his theatre career, in the 1980s, were design and comic improv.
But it’s as a playwright, the award-winning Belke has mostly made his mark. He made his debut as a playwright at the 1990 Fringe with Swordplay. And there have been dozens of Belke premieres at the festival since then, many of them genre spoofs or romantic comedies. His plays have often found their way into Shadow Theatre seasons; a revival of his comedy The Red King’s Dream launched Shadow’s 25th anniversary season this past October.
This year’s upcoming production (May 5) by Players de Novo — a troupe of public-spirited members of Edmonton’s legal community who devote the proceeds to a different theatre company annually — is Belke’s Forsooth, My Lovely, directed by Workshop West’s Vern Thiessen.
In the last few years, Belke has become the playwright-in-residence and curator of the programming at Strathcona’s arts-friendly Holy Trinity Anglican Church. He was one of the founders of Script Salon, a monthly series of staged readings of new scripts, co-sponsored by the Alberta Playwrights Network and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. and improv actor.
His non-theatre between-engagements work was as a substitute teacher.
Belke is scheduled to appear in court April 6.