This is How I Left Calgary Beacon preview

Third Street Theatre explores trans issues in original Calgary play

Article By , March 18, 2013, Read more here
Third Street Theatre play runs from March 28-31 at Living Spirit United Church

Third Street Theatre presents This is How I Left, an original play that explores the issues trans-identified individuals face.

Calgary’s queer theatre company hopes to shed light on the issues faced by trans-identified individuals in an original play called This is How I Left.

This is How I Left is Third Street’s first production in its very first season, which is a big milestone for the company and Calgary’s queer community,” said Third Street Theatre’s Artistic Director Paul Welch.

The play tells the story of Sam, a woman who cannot overcome the tragedy of her wife’s death. While in grief counselling over the loss of her partner, she meets a young, whimsical, trans-identified woman.

Kyall Rakoz, left,  & Conrad Belau performing part of the show at the 4th Annual Coming Out Monologues. Photo courtesy Bree Gardner
Kyall Rakoz, left, & Conrad Belau performing part of the show at the 4th Annual Coming Out Monologues. Photo courtesy Bree Gardner.

Curiosity and misunderstanding lead the two women into the stories of Elle, a key witness in a murder trial, and Michael, a man who doesn’t know what he’s looking for. Sam then begins a journey of self-confrontation in which she must accept the death of her partner.

The play was created over a six-month period by the company’s Queer Theatre Creation Ensemble. Group members developed their own characters through improvisation, writing exercises and guided meditation.

Calgary actor Conrad Belau plays a male-to-female trans-identified individual in the play. Belau said it was one of the most challenging roles he has experienced as an actor.

“I come from a very religious and conservative background, so you can imagine my surprise and fear when I realized that I would be playing a transgendered girl in a queer show,” said Belau.

“But part of being human is to listen and learn.”

To prepare for the role, Belau spent months researching the experiences of trans-identified individuals. 

To transform into the young trans-identified woman, Belau went shopping for skirts and wigs, plucked his eyebrows and spent two hours shaving all the hair off his body with his girlfriend’s help.

“It was eye opening to what transgender people have to do and want to do to be their fullest and most true and authentic self,” Belau said.

“In representing one transgender character, I hope to peak interest and curiosity and acceptance for the transgender community. Especially here in Calgary.”

Third Street Theatre is a not-for-profit theatre formed in June 2012 by Paul Welch and Jonathan Brower in response to a growing concern regarding the continued negative social attitudes towards the queer community.

The intent of the theatre is to explore, examine, and expose both past and present social attitudes towards queer culture.

This is How I Left runs from March 28 to March 31 at Living Spirit United Church.

Show times:

  • Thurs Mar 28th at 7:30pm
  • Fri Mar 29th at 7:30pm
  • Sat Mar 30th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sun Mar 31st at 2:00pm


Tickets at the door
  • Cash only
$20 admission, $15 for Students/Seniors/Equity (with valid ID)
Contact info(at) or call 403.703.4750 to reserve tickets
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