Trenton Perrott


by Jim Stokes

trentI remember when I first met Trenton, probably in 1980 or ‘81. There was this buzz about town that “you have to meet Trenton!” He was doing these incredible dinner theatre plays at Timothy’s restaurant downtown. Now when I say, “dinner theatre”, you will perhaps think of a fun sex-farce, nice flashy fare for mainstream taste. Well this was nothing like that. Trenton was writing these plays and they were much more contemporary — very avant guard! Trenton was keen on the stuff being done by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago (and the tough guy stance of writers like Sam Shepard). Trent’s curious dramas, almost on the edge of absurdism, were quite an eye opener for a shy, beginning painter like myself.

Trenton had a sort of loose ensemble, drawn from the younger actors in town, who would be in his shows. He did things like “A Night with Beckett”, a revue of readings and short pieces by the master. Trenton was very proud of the calling card, saying just “Best regards to all, Sam” that came in the mail after he sent the program to Beckett’s agent!

Trent and I met to discuss displaying original art in the restaurant for a more immersive experience. I recall many great chats in the early 80s about theatre, painting, all of the arts, and a lot of talk about what was authentic and what was needed now! Trenton was the coolest cat, really. He had a political science degree, from the University of Alberta, had knocked about Europe a bit, and back in the old hometown was fixed on writing plays! He lived in the Swan Motel and arose late. His hero was Beckett and he liked David Mamet a lot! Way back then, just out of school, Trenton’s vision was about collaboration in the arts, about linking things and building something better.


At his memorial mixer, many spoke very eloquently of Trent’s contribution, in so many areas and to so many projects. I was struck by what a great mentor Trenton was to so many of us, in so many fields. Writing, making art, excelling in arts administration, and raising a family. Trenton became incredibly involved in the community. He was a person who saw the Big Picture. This is very common in the career arc of energetic people who have a healthy work ethic. Growing up on the family homestead, north of Debolt, Trenton worked hard, but he also knew how to enjoy life. He had excellent taste in painting, music and had a great palette for a fine vintage.

Elsewhere in this Tenth Anniversary edition of our magazine, Susan Thompson’s Assemblage column tells of the beginnings of Art of the Peace; a big project that has depended on so many volunteers. The catalyst that got this all fired up was Trenton Perrott.

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