For Kim Renders

Posted 07.17.18 | By Kelly Thornton | Comments

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of an incredible woman, one of Nightwood’s founders, Kim Renders. Over my desk, I have a poster of one of our earliest shows, The Edge of the Earth is Too Near, Violette Leduc by Jovette Marchessault, which starred Kim. Her quiet penetrating gaze towards the camera with the signature glint in her eye is like a dare to her viewer, and this essence spilled forth in everything she did. In the wild frontier of Canadian theatre in 1979, our founders Kim Renders, Mary Vingoe, Cynthia Grant and Maureen White claimed space for women’s voices on a stage still dominated by British and American male playwrights. Next year, Nightwood celebrates our 40th anniversary and the original impulse of these four women has translated into a bountiful legacy of women’s voices, where generations of female identifying artists and their inspired audiences have been impacted.

In our 25th anniversary celebration I asked many of the key artists of Nightwood’s history to offer a wish to the world. Kim said, “I wish for access to education for all women globally. ‘Educate a man and you educate an individual; educate a woman and you educate a community.’ – Ghanaian proverb.”

I did not know Kim well, but I always admired her, and heard of her ongoing work through the students she taught at Queen’s University. Her immensely powerful energy and the deep commitment she pursued for a more just world lives on in the multitude of people she touched. While this is a brutally sad loss and she is gone far too early, her life force has made a powerful and indelible mark on many and for this we are indebted. Now let our voices continue to rise in her memory. We must look back to understand the shoulders we stand on, and face forward for the work to be done.

Rest in peace, dear Kim.

Kelly Thornton
Artistic Director
Nightwood Theatre

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