Margaret Woodward Memorial Saskatchewan Theatre Hall of Fame - Inductees
Recognized as an educator whose passion for theatre and design nurtured generations of theatregoers, practitioners and artists and whose vision included the creation of Castle Theatre.
When you think theatre in Saskatoon, it is hard not to think of Bob Hinitt. With over 50 years of experience, directing more than 200 plays and musicals, he is truly an inspiration to many. Bob was a high school teacher with his Masters in English and French. Back in his early teaching days, he spent some of his summers studying drama at the Banff School of Fine Arts and the U.B.C. Drama Summer School. His extra-curricular plays at the high school level, where he taught many young people to appreciate drama, have won many, many provincial competitions. In the adult community theatre world, he has directed several award winning productions for Gateway Players. Country Wife, which won the provincial title for Best Play in 1968, went on to compete in the Dominion Drama Finals in Windsor of that year. He is known as a man of detail and his design work has left a lasting impression on audiences throughout the province. In 1964, he was asked to design a theatre for the Saskatoon School Board. Castle Theatre opened in 1966. In 1983 he was awarded the Order of Canada. In 2000 he was honored by the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. As a director, teacher and designer, the work of Bob Hinitt has brightened the lives of community actors, students and audiences in Saskatchewan.
Recognized as a lifelong leader, teacher and inspiration who promoted theatrical involvement and appreciation at the grassroots community level.
In 1939, before most communities were even aware of the term “dinner theatre”, Jean Glover laid the foundation for a long standing tradition that continues in this new millennium. As founder of the Windthorst Little Theatre, Jean worked tirelessly choosing plays that would involve everyone and anyone who wanted to try. She believed in accessibility for all. Once she had her play she cat it making sure no one was left out. Then under her guidance as director, she rehearsed the piece until it was ready. Since, directing wasn’t enough; Jean also often took on the jobs of costumes, properties, make up, and set design. Her actors say, “from the time the play was picked until it was competed, planning and details were always on her mind”.
People in the community say without Jean, Windthorst Little Theatre would likely not exist and it certainly wouldn’t have the rich history that it currently enjoys. They say multi-generations have been inspired by her efforts which have provided at times, the only access to live theatre in the area and fostered a lifelong love of the arts for many in this rural community.
Ken & Sue Kramer
Recognized for their vision and commitment in establishing Saskatchewan’s first professional theatre and ensuring through the implementation of the school tour program, that theatre was accessible to all.
Ken & Sue Kramer certainly knew how to leave their mark on a province. Ken Kramer (Canadian, graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) and Sue Richmond (English, graduate of the Central School of Speech and Drama) met and married while working for Theatre Centre in London. In 1966 the pair were invited to Saskatchewan by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and The Globe Theatre in Regina was born. Their initial project was trying to convince teachers and school boards that professional theatre within the school system was an idea who’s time had come. A lack of funds forced the touring program to fold three times, but finally enough schools began requesting their services and the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Canada Council granted The Globe sustained funding. The annual school tour which began in the late ‘60s crisscrossed Saskatchewan for more than twenty years. The impact is obvious when you speak to anyone, particularly from places other than Regina and Saskatoon, who say The Globe Tour gave them their first taste of theatre. Sadly in 1978 Sue Kramer, co-founder and co-artistic director died of cancer. Ken Kramer stayed with The Globe until 1990. Under the Kramer’s leadership, The Globe was a company of “Canadian firsts”, including theatre-in-the-round, “colour-blind casting”, and the first theatre to employ a full time playwright-in-residence, Rex Deverall. Because of the vision of Ken and Sue Kramer Regina has The Globe Theatre and Saskatchewan audiences and artists have a professional company to be proud of.
Recognized for his lifetime commitment to theatre and his vast literary contributions which often reflect and promote prairie values.
One of Saskatchewan’s best known playwrights and authors, Ken Mitchell has certainly made a place for himself in the literary world. As a Professor at the University of Regina since 1967, Mitchell has balanced teaching with his own creative works. With more than 20 produced plays to his credit, including The Shipbuilder, Cruel Tears (with Humpty and the Dumptrucks), Heroes, and Gone the Burning Sun, Mr. Mitchell’s work has been seen worldwide. In 1992-1993, Mitchell toured Gone The Burning Sun, playing the part of Bethune himself. His prairie images have been dramatized on radio and in film and he has written a multitude of articles and books. He has also worked to provide opportunities and support for writers as the founding chairperson of several organizations including, Saskatchewan Writers Guild, Saskatchewan Artists’ Colony and Saskatchewan Playwright’s Centre. He has spent countless hours speaking in schools, libraries and community colleges in Saskatchewan about his work.
Recognized for her outstanding literary contributions which promote racial understanding and provide opportunities for native artists.
Maria Campbell is considered and important voice in Native and feminist literary circles. Her autobiography, Halfbreed, remains powerfully relevant nearly 30 years after its first publication. The resulting drama, Jessica, with Linda Griffiths and Paul Thomson premiered in 1982 at Saskatoon’s 25th Street Theatre. Throughout the years Maria has remained active in the theatrical community writing several radio plays. Maria also penned the screenplay The Road Allowance People.
Recognized for his dedication, commitment and professional approach to all aspects of community theatre in Saskatchewan and his desire to make theatre accessible to all areas of the province.
Cal Abrahamson’s distinguished career in the arts is a combination of home grown success and international recognition. In Saskatchewan, he has a long involvement with community theatre through Threatre Saskatchewan, (formerly Saskatchewan Community Theatre Inc and The Dominion Drama Festival), Serving as Executive Director from 1986 to 1995. It was during this time that the organization experienced its greatest growth expanding from approximately 20 member clubs to more than 80. Cal has also served as a member and Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Arts Board (1964-1971), Secretary of Theatre Saskatchewan (1988), Theatre Canada President of the Board of Directors (1990-1993), and Chairperson of Theatre Regina during which time he persuaded the City of Regina to purchase and donate the Regina Performing Arts Centre to the Association. Upon his “retirement”, he and his wife Yvonne moved to Montmartre where Cal’s commitment to theatre has continued. As founder of the Montmartre Arts Council and the Hurricane Hills Players he has been responsible for involving the community in the creation of their own very successful dinner theatres, as well as bringing professional productions and children’s shows to the town. In 1998, he formed the Circle of the Drum Players at the Carry the Kettle Reserve. He wrote, directed and produced four 45 minute plays based on social problems encountered on the reserve. His work has received international attention. Cal has also been instrumental in bringing World Theatre to Canada, as Chairperson of the World Theatre Festival in Calgary (1983) and the Chairperson of the Regina’s Canadian Drama Festival (1990), which featured Canada’s best along with four outstanding international groups. Cal’s contribution to theatre goes beyond Directing and Producing. He has also worked as an educator, lecturing on theatre and fine arts at the University of Regina and adjudicating Festivals in B.C., Saskatchewan and the U.S.
Recognized as patrons who have consistently and generously provided financial support to many organizations, which has resulted in the establishment and growth of several Saskatchewan theatre initiatives.
Dr. Morris and Jacqui Shumiatcher are familiar faces in Saskatchewan’s cultural circles. Dr. Shumiatcher made his career mark as a lawyer who appeared in numerous constitutional and civil liberties cases. He has also written extensively for learned and popular journals and was a well-known columnist who was often heard on national radio and television programs. Together, he and his wife Jacqui, have donated theatres to the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the University of Regina, College of Fine Arts, a reception area to the Globe Theatre a sculpture court and a considerable number of Inuit Sculptures to the MacKenzie Art Gallery. They have also provided for the future of the arts by establishing the Jacqui and Morris Shumiatcher Senior Scholarships at the Regina Music Festival. Jacqui has also been extensively involved as a volunteer President for the Women’s Canadian Club, Regina Film Club and Phi Sigma Alpha-Sask. Delta. She has chaired the National Conference of Canadian Clubs, the Regina Junior Concerts and the Legal Committee Regina Council of Women. She has been Governor of the Dominion Drama Festival and the Regina Symphony and an Executive member of the Women’s Business and Professional Association and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
Recognized as a theatrical pioneer developing the first University Drama Program in the Dominion, which he established at the University of Saskatchewan.
Emrys Jones’ Career is a career of “firsts”. He was the very first full time professor of drama to be appointed at a university in the Commonwealth (University of Saskatchewan). The second drama department in the Commonwealth was established in Bristol England with help from Professor Jones and the University of Saskatchewan. From his position at the University of Saskatchewan, Professor Jones extended his influence from coast to coast. He was the first Canadian adjudicator at the Dominion Drama Festival, Drama editor, Ryerson press, on the National Ballet Guild Board of Directors, supervising director of Greystone Theatre (University of Saskatchewan), Drama producer for CBC (1952-1953) and member of the American National Theatre Academy, American Educational Theatre Association, and the American Society for Theatrical Research. In 1956, he founded and was first chairman of the Canadian Theatre Centre. Professor Jones remained as Head of the Drama Department at the University of Saskatchewan from 1945 to 1971 when he left the department to join the English department as professor of Dramatic Literature. He retired from the University of Saskatchewan in 1973.
Recognized for his role as a leader in the area of Stage Management and the development of the first national Stage Management program, which he established at the University of Regina.
Gabriel Pendergast was a faculty member at the University of Regina for nearly 30 years. Previous to coming to the University and Canada he was a student of law, a senior directing student at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, an actor, a company manager, and manager and stage director at Nottingham Playhouse. He spent 1975-1976 on sabbatical in New Zealand, teaching and acting on Stage and TV. After coming to the University of Regina he became very involved in the local theatre community. He took supporting roles at both The Globe Theatre and Regina Little Theatre as well as the Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon. He was a director, producer, technician, designer, teacher and actor at the school. Later on he became Department Head. At the time of his retirement he was acting much less frequently in school productions, but he was still a man of many trades. Gabriel could rabidly shift form one position to another, and was well loved.
Recognized for its exceptional grassroots commitment to the development and promotion of Saskatchewan Playwrights and their works.
The Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre was established in 1982 to serve the needs of Saskatchewan’s new and established playwrights. Through a wide range of programming and services the SPC aims to encourage script develop,emt and assist new playwrights in Saskatchewan, and to promote Saskatchewan playwriting both within the province and elsewhere.
The SPC conducts regular workshops of member’s work, and sponsors special events with Canadian playwrights throughout the province. It also provides script analysis on a one-to-one basis, publishes a newsletter, provides information to general inquiries about plays and playwriting, and has a catalogue of plays by local writers available on request. The central event of the SPC year is the annual Spring Festival of New Plays, a week-long festival of workshops and public readings held in Regina.
Recognized for her outstanding behind-the-scene volunteer contributions of time and energy to several theatre groups, as well as her role in the establishment of Theatre Regina and the Regina Performing Arts Centre.
Sylvia Oancia spent her time in the arts fighting for what she believed in. In 1984 she was co-founder of Regina’s Summer Stage Inc., where she worked as business manager and producer overseeing every show from the company’s debut in 1985 to 1993. She was also instrumental in the establishment of the Regina Children’s Festival and was on their Board of Directors from 1987 to 1992. Sylvia recognized the need for affordable venues for community groups and was part of the team that lobbied for and acquired the current Regina Performing Arts Centre. She also lunched a successful campaign to save Darke Hall from demolition in the 1980’s. Her time in the arts was cut short. At the time of her death she was still working with her first love, Regina’s Summer Stage Inc. In her memory the company has established the Sylvia Oancia Memorial Fund, which awards a scholarship each summer.
Recognized as an exceptional acress who set a standard of excellence on stage and screen that has been matched by few in her craft.
Frances Hyland hailed from Shaunovon Saskatchewan but she made her mark on the stages of North America and England and later in Canadian Film. She began her career during a time when depression years forced many to abandon their education. Frances persevered throughout high school and entered the University of Saskatchewan. Her talent was apparent early on and a scholarship sponsored by Regina Little Theatre, the Order of the Daughters of the Empire and the Princess Patricia Club allowed her to study theatre at England's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Soon after graduating with a silver medal, Frances Hyland marked her professional debut in Tennessee Williams' London production of A Streetcar Named Desire. She returned home in 1954 with an invitation from Tyrone Guthrie to join the Stratford Festival and to play Isabella opposite James Mason in Measure for Measure. Stratford continued to be a home stage for Hyland as she performed role after role, including Portia in Merchant of Venice, Goneril in King Lear, Desdemona in Othello and Olivia in Twelfth Night. She also graced the stages of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Citadel, Theatre Calgary, Theatre Plus the Shaw festival and Regina's own Globe Theatre. At the Vancouver Playhouse she originated the powerful title role in George Ryga's The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. Film credits include television productions of Twelfth Night, The Hounds of Notre Dame, Pygmalion, The Lotus Eaters and I'll Be Home for Christmas. Frances Hyland also found success as a director. Credits include the Canadian premiere of Beverley Simon's Crabdance and the 1979 Stratford Production of Othello. She has been recognized for her vast contribution to Canadian theatre and broadcasting as an Officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Governor General's lifetime achievement award and a Toronto Arts Award for lifetime achievement. Frances Hyland's commitment to Canada was marked by a critic who said "this hardworking actress could have been a star of the London or New York stage, yet instead she has opted for the guaranteed insecurity of a life in Canadian Theatre."
Recognized for his commitment to Saskatchewan theatre and its emerging artists as a director, writer, teacher and performer who leads by example and inspires others to strive for excellence.
What can you say about a man who has been a professional actor, director and playwright for nearly fifty years? Henry Woolf's career began as he directed the first production of Harold Pinter's first play, The Room at the Bristol University Drama Department in 1957. Since then he has acted and directed extensively in England and North America. Highlights of his career include working with Laurence Olivier and Orson Welles in lonesco's Rinoceros in London in 1960, playing Galy Gay in the first English production of Brecht's Man is Man and acting in Peter Brook's seminal production of The Marat Sade both in London and New York. It was in this production that he met his wife actress Susan Williamson, who often acts with him and directs him both on stage and at home. In 1979 Henry won the Best Actor award from the Edmonton critics for his performance as Tony Hancock in Hearthcote William's Hancock's Last Half Hour. In 2001 he acted in Harold Pinter's Monologue and The Room at the Lincoln Arts Centre in New York and the Following year presented Monologue at the Royal National Theatre in London, England. Among the movies Henry has appeared in are The Lion in Winter; Gorky Park; The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Rutles. In 1991 Henry played Dr. Cornelius in the BBC's Narnia Series. In 1998 he played Jacob in the TV mini-series Revenge of the Land a dramatization of Maggie Siggin's book of the same name. As a writer, Henry has written and had produced some fifteen plays and screenplays for the stage, radio and television. He wrote the book and lyrics for the first Klezmer musical Love and Latkes (music by David Kaplan) which premiered in Saskatoon in 1992. The following years his comedy Bim and Bub was presented by Twenty Fifth Street Theatre in Saskatoon. For ten years (1991-2001) Henry was Artistic Director of The Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival in Saskatoon. During his time as Artistic Director, summer audiences grew in attendance from 8,000 to 13,000 people. After fourteen years as a teacher and head of the University of Saskatchewan Drama Department, Henry retired in 1997 and was presented with the Master Teacher Award. Since this retirement Henry has continued to provide leadership in the Saskatchewan arts community and he is still sharing his talents throughout North America and England.
Recognized as a dynamic volunteer who was a leader in the arts council movement and has worked tirelessly to support community theatre and the arts in Saskatchewan.
For more than fifty years Jane McIntyre has been making a difference in Saskatchewan's amateur theatre circle. Jane first became involved with the Swift Current Little Theatre Group in the early fifties and actively participated in this group until 1999, when she moved to Edmonton. Over the years she has worked in a number of capacities but particularly enjoyed creating props and costumes. In the early years, Jane and her husband, James McIntyre, donated their time, money and even various items from their house to ensure the success of annual productions. They also acted in some plays, entertained visiting judges, and attended the Dominion Drama Festival in Montreal in 1957. Originally, the Swift Current Little Theatre Group only did one-act plays, usually three a night and performed in the Central Public School. The group always tried to include a play suitable for the younger audience. One was the Wizard of Oz, where Jane played one of three Munchkins. Jane and her husband bravely ventured out to one of the first Regional Dominion Drama Festivals, which was held in North Battleford in January. Jane remembers this Festival as one of the most trying, but also most rewarding. "It was bitterly cold and the Festival started out with a blizzard. The adjudicator was from "down east" and was surprised about the weather." There were four plays in the festival that year, presented in a school, in an auditorium where the seats had no backs. Jane's group won two awards including the best actress award, which they felt was impressive for it was the group's first entry ever in the Festival. Although Jane is no longer actively involved in theatre production in Saskatchewan, she remains passionate about amateur theatre, continues to donate the McIntyre Trophy, and attend the Provincial Drama Festival. Her leadership has provided many opportunities for others who wish to experience the benefits and sheer joy that community theatre provides.
Recognized for the company’s excellence in encouraging and developing Francophone theatre at a provincial, national and international level.
La Troup du Jour est un organizme professionnel qui developpe, en Saskatchewan, le theatre francophone - professionnel et communautaire - par le biais de la creation, de la formation, de la production et de la diffusion. La Troupe du Jour est l'unigue compagnie de theatre en Saskatchewan gui se consacre a promouvoir la richesse culturelle de la communaute fransaskoise. La compagnie a commence par un theatre communautaire en 1985 et est devenu professionnel en 1990 avel L'arrivee de Denis Rouleau a la direction artistique. La compagnie a permis a de jeunes artistes de se perfectionner et d'acceder avec elle a un statut professionnel. Le mandat de depistage et de creation est au coer de la mission de la compagnie. La Troupe du Jour travaille avant tout au developpement des createurs fransaskois.
Depuis ses debuts, La Trupe a produit cinquante et une pieces, dont vignttrois etaient, soit des creations originales, soit des adaptations faites par des auteurs de la region. La Troup du Jour poursuit son travail de developpement dramaturgique a travers le festival de la dramaturgie de l"ouest et elle a aussi developpe un cercle d'ecrivain anime par un conseiller dramaturgique qui a permis de decouvrir de nuveaux textes. Donc La Troupe du Jour encourage la creation des auteurs fransaskois: grace a ses efforts, trois texts sont en processus de creation et seront produits dans les saisons a venir. Depuis cinq ans, La Troup du Jour beneficie du soutien des agences artistiques provenant des deux paliers du gouvernement et elle a pu doubler sa programmation et l'equipe de la compagnie. Depuis quelques annees, La Troup du Jour produit quatre productions sure la scene principale dont deux productions maison et deux accueils. Elle produit egalement deux productions sur la seconde scene et deux fetivals qui revient a tous les deux ans. La compagnie a aussi developpe un programme de formation provinciale qui s'adresse aux troupes de theatre scolaires et communautaires.
Based in Saskatchewan, La Troupe du Jour is a processional organism that develops french-language theatre - both professionally and at a community level - by means of new plays, training, production and touring. La Troupe du Jour is the only theatre company in Saskatchewan that is dedicated to promoting the richness of the fransaskois culture. Launched as a community theatre in 1985, the company became professional in 1990, with the arrival of Denis Rouleau as the artistic director. The company then became a catalyst for many young artists, allowing them to perfect their skills before becoming professionals along with the company. Finding and creating new plays is at the heart of the company's mandate. La Troupe du Jour works with and for the playwrights.
Since its beginning, La Troupe du Jour has produced fifty one plays of which twenty three were either original plays or adaptations by local playwrights. La Troupe du Jour is still committed to dramaturgical development, through the "Festival de dramaturgie de l'Ouest" (Western playwrights' festival) and through a newer initiative, the "Cercle des ecrivains" (playwrights' circle) which is led by a dramaturgical counsellor - this led the company to discover new plays in progress. La Troup du Jour is therefore dedicated to creation by its fransaskois authors: through our programs we currently have three new plays which will be produced within the next seasons. For five years now, La Troup du Jour has benefited from the support of artistic agencies in both levels of government (provincial and federal) and has been able to double its season program and staff. For the past few years, we have been producing four main stage productions (we produce two plays and invite another two) as well as two seconds stage productions. La Troup du Jour also delivers two festivals every two years, staggered so that there is one a year, alternatively. In addition, the company has also developed a province-wide training program to help schools and communities produce plays.
Recognized as a high caliber actress who has retained a strong commitment to Saskatchewan throughout her career and whose effort as a developer of new work has helped carve the identity of Saskatchewan Theatre.
Sharon was raised on a farm halfway between Saskatoon and Aberdeen, the town where she attended high school. She was active in drama during those teen years, and continued to pursue her love of theatre at the University of Saskatchewan Drama Department. Sharon left university (shy of a degree) to become one of the founding members of 25th Street House Theatre in 1972. She became a member of the Canadian Actors' Equity Association in 1975 and a few years later joined the ACTRA, using her talents for television, radio and film as well as on stage. Her involvement as on of the original collaborators in the Saskatchewan farmer's story, Paper Wheat, lead her to tour the province extensively and bring a bit of Saskatchewan to other parts of Canada. Her career has led her to work in many Canadian centres including Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vancouver, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Blyth, Ottawa and Montreal. The main portion of Sharon's work in theatre is undoubtedly in new play creation, devoting much time as a workshop actor and director of new plays with Vancouver's New Play Centre and the Saskatchewan Playwright’s' Centre. Not only has she been a member of numerous collective creations, Sharon has also been part of many premiere productions including W. O. Mitchell's The Kite and For Those in Peril on the Sea, Robert Kroetsch's The Words of My Roaring, Ted Galay's Tsymbaly, Kit Brennan's Magpie, Don Kerr's Talking Back and Talking West, Connie Gault's Sky, Dianne Warren's Club Chernobyl, Mansel Robinson's Colonial Tongues and Street Wheat, Sharon Butala's Rodeo Life, Lois Simmie's Auntie's Knitting a Baby, and Rod MacIntyre's Nice Guy. Her favorite roles are Hagar Shipley in James Nicols' The Stone Angel (which she played at Persephone Theatre and for Workshop West/TheatreNetwork), Nana in Michel Tremblay's For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again (at Alberta Theatre Projects), Brynna Dunne in Street Wheat (Dancing Sky Theatre) and Annie McBride in The Heart as it Lived (for Theatre Network and Persephone Theatre) both by Mansel Robinson. Paper Wheat remains on of her favorite projects being so close to her heart. It has been subject of numerous productions and tours as well as an NFB Documentary and a CBC one-hour television special. Sharon served in various elected positions with CAEA for fifteen years and on the Saskatchewan Minister's Advisory Committee for the Status of the Artist (1993). She was Artistic Director of 25th Street Theatre Centre (2000-2003). Sharron has been recognized by her peers on numerous occasions. She was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award (Toronto, 1981) and a Betty Mitchell Award (Calgary, 2001) and she received a Sterling Hayes Award (Edmonton, 1997). She was a recipient of a Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2002 recognizing her community leadership.
Recognized for his more than fifty year commitment as a volunteer and technician at the community theatre level.
Harold was born in Tredegar, Wales in 1922 and at the age of 21 became involved in amateur theatre. Initially he worked as a set builder. In 1946 he expanded his involvement to include acting roles. In 1955 he moved from Wales to Saskatoon and a year later became involved in the community theatre in various capacities. In 1958 he moved again, this time to Regina, where he joined Regina Little Theatre. As a true volunteer, Harold has involved himself in many ways. He has served as President and Vice President of the organization, spent six years in the time consuming role of production manager, worked on set construction for forty years, as a lighting designer for thirty years, and when he could be freed up from his backstage commitments Harold even managed to perform a few roles and to direct. In 1969 his show Barefoot in the Park, won the provincial festival and went on to compete at the Dominion Drama Festival. From 1963 to 1988, Harold worked part time as a professional stage hand at the Centre of the Arts. He has also spent countless hours instructing lighting workshops and doing consultations for community groups province wide. Harold's professional attitude has resulted in many community groups with little resources accomplishing amazing things. If doing all that isn't enough, Harold found time to design the lighting system for the Regina Performing Arts Centre. He also designed and installed the lighting system in Regina Little Theatre's Rehearsal Room and installed the Clear-Com intercom system in the Regina Performing Arts Centre. For at least ten years he has been a member of a small group who devoted every Tuesday to the service of Regina Little Theatre and the Regina Performing Arts Centre doing maintenance, set construction, etc.. He has attended the Provincial Full Length Play Festival every year since 1958. Harold is an Honorary Life Member of the Regina Little Theatre Society, Inc.
Recognized for excellence as a writer, teacher, director and leader in the development of Saskatchewan’s Francophone theatre.
Laurier Hector Gareau was born in 1949 and raised in Saint-Isidore de Bellevue - a vibrant artistic Francophone community located northeast of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In 1974, he earned a Bachelor Degree in History from the College Universitaire Saint-Jean in Edmonton. In 1981 he began his full time involvement in theatre. In the early nineteen eighties, Laurier studied theatre at the University of Alberta, obtaining a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in 1986 with a specialization in playwriting. Over the past thirty five plays, including radio and television dramas and monologues. He has also directed twenty four productions and appeared in twelve plays. One of his works, The Betrayal, was first published in 1986 and enjoyed a resurgence in 1998 with the reprint of both the English version and the release of the French translation, La Trahison. In 2002, a collection of four plays for youth was published in Les Adventures de Joe Bolduc, Private Eye. From 1983 to 1985 he worked at New works Theatre at the University of Alberta as the Executive Director. The following season he managed the Studio Theatre at the same university and coordinated the publicity. Having produced the Festival theatral fransaskois in 1981, 1987 and 1990, he is also the creative mind behind Le Theatre Oskana, a Regina based community theatre organization that began in 1990. As well, he mentors and juries numerous theatre Festivals such as the Festival theatral fransaskois from 1984 to 1986, the Festival theatral jeunesse fransaskois form 1991 to 1993, the Festival Troupe, Troupes, Theatre in 1994, 1999 and 2000, and the Franco Canadian Mask in 2001 and 2002. From 1986 to 1987 he coordinated the provincial theatre program for the French and immersion schools for the Commission culturelle fransaskoise, the the Conseil coulturel Fransaskois (Fransaskois French cultural Council). In 1989, he returned to the Conseil culturel Fransaskois and held the position of Program Artistic Coordinator until 1990. He is now the Director of programming and continues to have a profound influence on Saskatchewan theatre.
Recognized as a professional, dedicated to the development of theatre excellence and theatre artists in Saskatchewan.
Theatre has been a lifelong passion for Tibor Feheregyhazy. He began his career at the age of six, performing several children's roles and as a member of the Hungarian Radio Children's company in his birthplace city of Budapest. In 1951, at the age of nineteen he joined the Hungarian Theater and Film College as an acting student. He completed his studies in June 1956, having already played a film lead in the Hay-Kaleti film, The Bridge of Life, and the part of Tony in Mother by Karel Capek at the Gaiety Theatre in Budapest. In 1956 everything changed for Tibor. As a young idealist during the Revolution, he lived through amazing times. The fall of the revolution took him to Vienna, then on to Italy, where he worked on the David Selznick film A Farewell to Arms. In 1957 he arrived in Canada and took a job as a floor washer in an Ottawa hospital. Fortunately for us, Tibor kept himself busy in theatre. He became a director with the Ottawa Little Theatre and in 1961 and 1962 won the Best Production and Best Director awards at the Eastern Ontario Drama Festival. A gent by the name of Rich Little performed the leads in those productions. In 1963 he returned to his studies, this time at the National Theatre School of Canada as a student of Theatre Production French Section. He graduated in 1965 and since that time he has worked with numerous companies, including the Canadian Players and the world-renowned company The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Where he was Production Manager and prepared the company for the 1968 European and Russian tours. He traveled with the company in the same capacity and completed three tours of the United States and Canada. In 1969 he joined the Manitoba Theatre Centre as Production Director and later as Resident Director. In 1975 he became a freelance director working at the Citadel Theater, The National Arts Centre, Rainbow Stage and The National Theatre School. He also played the part of Rosenzweig in The Guardsman at the Shaw Festival and the National Arts Centre with Lila Kedrowa and Paxton Whitehead in the leads.
Between 1976 and 1978 he was Founding Artistic Director of the School of Performing Arts, which became an arm of Winnipeg's Rainbow Stage. In the fall of 1978, Magnus Theatre of Thunder Bay mounted its first season under Tibor's direction. Within two seasons the subscription of the Magnus doubled. Over the next three seasons, enormously successful productions such as Servants of Two Masters, Hosanna, Equus and Waiting for the Parade made professional theatre in Thunder Bay a reality. Tibor was on the Advisory Committee for the Canadian Council from 1980 through 1982. On July 1, 1982 he enthusiastically took over the role of Artistic Director at Saskatoon's Persephone Theatre. He continued to develop and sharpen his directorial capabilities through his position on the Disciplinary Committee of The Canada Council and subsequent involvement with the Rainbow Stage's production of The Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music. In 1987 he acted as adjudicator for the Senior Art Grants "A" for the Canada Council. Among his other numerous ventures, Tibor co-starred with Nicholas Rice in the 1987 CBC production The Partners.
In 1965 Tibor joined Canadian Actors' Equity, and in 2003 was awarded their Honorary Life Membership. He is also the recipient of the Canada 125 Citizenship Award and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal.
Recognized as a dedicated teacher and mentor who inspires excellence and instills professionalism in his students.
It's difficult to summarize a career like that of Walter Mills; teacher, facilitator, author, director, designer. His love of theatre began as a child in Moose Jaw, where throughout his school years he performed as both a singer and an actor. His organizational skills developed early and while attending the Moose Jaw Normal School he started a drama club. As a teacher at Maple Creek, he again developed a drama program, working hard to provide students with an opportunity to learn about theatre. In the late 1940's, Walter himself went back to school taking summer classes in theatre arts at UBC. It wasn't until the 1950's, after a year with the company at Stratford and at the invitation of Emrys Jones, that Walter completed his B.A. majoring in Drama at the University of Saskatchewan. He again, set up a drama club, one that he ensured was open to all students at the U of S. Walter's theatre credits are numerous and include work at Stratford, Persephone, 25th Street Theater and California's Glendale Centre and Studio Theatre. He is a noted Director, who often designed his own productions, and has written several works, including the published Chokecherry Wine. In 1964, again at the invitation of Emrys Jones, Walter returned to the University of Saskatchewan this time to teach. Throughout his career at the University, Walter inspired his students in several productions and with the Strolling Players a summer arts employment program, which he established in the early 1970's. He also used his contacts in film to help Saskatchewan actors find work. Walter spent several years at the University eventually becoming the Head of the Drama Department. Walter has also worked tirelessly with volunteer and community groups, providing set up assistance with organizations like Saskatoon Gateway Players, Directing productions and providing workshops. In the last 1970's he worked with the Saskatchewan Drama Association to reorganize and reintroduce the Saskatchewan Drama Festivals for high school students. In addition to his organizational work, he contributed his talents as an adjudicator. fortunately for us, Walter continues to work in theatre and film. He has recently been seen in the number one rated CTV comedy, Corner Gas. As well, Walter continues to teach film classes.
Recognized as a dynamic individual who has made an exceptional contribution to theatre by providing opportunities and inspiration to performers of all ages.
Yvonne (Bird) Ellis was born in Toronto, Ontario, December 5, 1919 to Dick and Pansy Bird. As the age of 10 she began dancing and performing with her sister Jeanne. This was the beginning of a lifelong involvement with theatre and the arts. In 1946 Yvonne married Tom Ellis and together they had three children. Yvonne continued her interest in theatre as production manager for IODE musicals and Lyric Light Opera productions. In 1982 Yvonne and her husband Tom founded Tye Productions, a charitable non-profit amateur company which depends on ticket sales, and corporate and individual donations to provide opportunities for aspiring actors and performers through musical theatre. Many different age groups have been given valuable theatre experience through these Tye Productions. Audiences have been entertained by a variety of stage shows over the past 22 years including, The Fantastiks, This Can't be Love, The Drunkard, A Night in the Ukraine, Some Enchanged Evening, The Haunted Castle, Hooked on Swing, The Golden Age Variety Show (presently in it's 11th year), Love On Broadway, Nobody Loves a Dragon, I Do' I Do, Sleeping Beauty, Hollywood Sings, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Frog Prince, and You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.
Yvonne was widowed in 1993, but still continues to run Tye Productions at the age of 84. As well she continues to perform once a year in the Golden Age Variety Show. She is a member of Regina Little Theatre Society, Inc., Regina Summer Stage, Lyric Light Opera and Theatre Regina. Yvonne has been an active member of St. Luke's Anglican Church and James Henderson IODE for over 50 years and awarded a provincial life membership with the latter.
Carol Gay Bell
Recognized for promoting Saskatchewan and providing performing opportunities for the province’s youth through the founding of Saskatchewan Express.
Carol Gay Bell has a lifetime love affair with Saskatchewan and its people. Whether as a performer, producer, director, promoter or entrepreneur, her pride in Saskatchewan has always been evident. Carol was born and raised in Regina and though she received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Manitoba and a degree in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson in Toronto, it is here in Saskatchewan where she has truly made her mark. Carol began her acting career in Regina Children’s Theatre and throughout the years has performed in several Regina Little Theatre productions, I.O.D.E. musicals and the Dominion Drama Festival in Charlottetown, P.E.I. She was president of RLT for three years, served on the executive for 20 years and is now an Honorary Life Member. Carol’s career includes production and on-air duties at CKCK Radio and Television and CBC Radio and Television where she marked several firsts. Carol performed in the first live drama broadcast on CKCK Television; was CBC Saskatchewan’s initial variety producer for TV and worked as Canada’s first female jazz disc jockey. Her directing, acting and choreography skills have allowed Carol to leave her own special mark on many Saskatchewan events including, the RCMP 125th anniversary, Agribition and the Grey Cup half time show in 1995. This was not the only time Carol’s talents have been showcased at Taylor Field. She founded the Saskatchewan Roughrider Cheerleaders and worked with the group for seventeen years. Carol has also worked as the Performing Arts consultant for the province and Special Events coordinator for Celebrate Saskatchewan in 1980. It was during this celebration that Carol’s vision led to the creation of Saskatchewan Express. The touring company that began as a way to celebrate Saskatchewan’s 75th anniversary, has developed into an on-going showcase of Saskatchewan youth that provides jobs and experience for performers. In the early days, Carol did almost everything herself; casting, directing, choreographing, promoting, securing sponsors, designing costumes and sets and mentoring her young performers, always intending the group to last beyond Saskatchewan’s 75th anniversary celebrations. Now, twenty-five years later, Saskatchewan Express has expanded to include the Saskatchewan Express Musical Theatre in Regina, which opened in 1997 and the Saskatoon Studio, which opened in 2000. The provincial touring company still celebrates Saskatchewan within our borders and beyond serving as our musical goodwill ambassadors. Carol’s commitment to Saskatchewan has earned her the Y.W.C.A Woman of the Year Award, the Canada 125 Medal, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. This past year Carol continues to add to her impressive list of accomplishments. Most recently, she served on the Executive Committee for the Lieutenant Governor’s Celebration of the Arts Pin. Carol continues to add to her impressive list of accomplishments. Most recently, she served on the Executive committee for the Lieutenant Governor’s Celebration of the Arts Centennial Gala and she headed up the search committee for the 2005 Centennial Song. Carol Gay Bell’s believe in Saskatchewan youth and her commitment to producing first class entertainment has created a lasting legacy that is still delighting audiences and inspiring young people to follow their dreams.
Recognized for her dedication and commitment to theatre as a performer and writer who bridges the gap between the professional and community theatre.
The acting bug bit Jean Freeman in Grade One when she decided to put together a bit of “make believe” to raise money for the Red Cross. The desire to create and the desire to help others is a familiar theme in Jean’s career. As a teen, Jean was fortunate to come under the spell of Mary Ellen Burgess and Florence James who furthered her love of theatre and fueled her desire to learn. Her vacations were spent at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts. She helped found Weyburn Little Theatre, and later did the same thing in Yorkton. At the age of 19, she directed Ibsen’s A Doll’s House for Yorkton Little Theatre, taking the show to the provincial drama festival. With a little experience and lots of enthusiasm, Jean auditioned for and was accepted into the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London England. A combination of cold feet and an empty wallet kept her home where she turned her attention to radio and television, working as a writer/producer/performer. She moved from Yorkton to Regina and quickly joined Regina Little Theatre (she is now an RLT Life Member.) As a true volunteer she has taken on many roles, working backstage on props, sets, makeup and costumes, from of house handling promotions and publicity and of course on stage where her talents have earned praise and trophies at various provincial festivals. Jean is also an accomplished writer, scripting television works for Putnam’s Prairie Emporium and Incredible Story Studio. Her Stage works include Regina Revisited for Regina’s 90th Birthday, and Azoy geht es, to celebrate the Centennial of Regina’s Beth Jacob Synagogue. She has worked as an adjudicator and workshop facilitator sharing her experience and enthusiasm with others. Recently, she has enjoyed appearing as the mayor’s grandmother on Corner Gas and she continues to perform as a public speaker and M.C delighting audiences with her warmth and humour. Jean’s talent and commitment to ‘make believe’ has spanned more than fifty years and even now she continues to support good causes, raising money for Theatre Regina by adapting and directing Radio Rides Again and Radio Rides Again… Again.
Recognized for their tireless effort to make theatre available to all Saskatchewan residents through education and community programs.
Keith and Betty Woods were founding members of Melfort Amateur Dramatics (MAD). The success and longevity of this small theatre group is their true legacy to the community of Melfort. Since its inception in 1975, MAD has provided entertainment and education in Melfort and in the surrounding district with plays and workshops. Keith and Betty were often the facilitators and enjoyed teaching youth all aspects of theatre. The pair worked together to ensure that everyone, on-stage and behind-the-scenes had a place in the company and knew how important their piece was to the overall production. They often took turns as MAD President and they were actively involved in directing, acting, creating costumes, sets and props. In fact, many of the Woods personal household items and furniture have had their own starring roles in MAD productions. Keith’s specialty was building sets, creating sound and special effects. He occasionally acted, but he truly loved the “practical” part of theatre. Betty was the perfect complement as she excelled at directing, acting and writing. Both worked on the necessary fundraising, donating hand knit sweaters and jackets to many silent auctions and raffles to raise dollars for MAD. The Woods involvement went beyond their own community. They were both very actively involved in promoting community theatre at the provincial level. Keith served as president of Saskatchewan Community Theatre Inc. (now known as Theatre Saskatchewan) in 1983-1984. Betty served as President for a total of five years, 1987-1988 and 1996-1998. They spent many weekends traveling around the province, attending meetings and developing programs that have helped to shape community theatre in Saskatchewan. Keith also served on the cultural Advisory committee for SaskCulture and took his role as funding adjudicator very seriously. In 1987, Keith and Betty were honoured with the Janet Laine Green Award for their contribution to community theatre. Sadly, in 2001, Keith passed away after a lengthy illness. Betty continues to share her creativity and sense of humour with MAD. Each production is special to Betty and helps keep Keith’s memory alive.
Recognized as a Saskatchewan playwright who has made a significant literary contribution to the arts, particularly with his plays for young audiences which often serve to introduce theatre to new generations.
Rex Deverell is a Playwright, Lyricist, and Librettist. For many years he was the resident playwright at the Globe Theatre, Regina, Canada. He has over fifty produced plays, five operatic or other musical works with several composers, and an eclectic range of radio and television writing. His awards include the Canadian Authors Association Medal, the Chalmers Award, a Banff Film Festival award, and a Major Armstrong award for Radio writing. His work has been performed in translation in Japan, Israel, and Italy. The operatic version of his play “Boiler room Suite” has received four productions including a tour of Britain and a performance in London’s Purcell Hall. His play “Prairie Wind,” commissioned by the Province of Saskatchewan, was presented before Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at a gala celebration of the anniversary of the provincial Legislature. He has created libretti with the following composers: Andrew Ager (“Ellis Portal”), Quentin Doolittle (“Liviathan Hook;” “Boiler Room Suite”) Elizabeth Raum (“Constructions”) Steve McNeff (“The Earth”) Rob Bryanton (“Resuscitation”). He is also a contributor to the recent revision of MacMillan’s Encyclopedia of Religion in the area of Religion and Modern Western Theatre. He is a graduate of McMaster University in Arts and in Theology. He also holds a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Deverell is currently based in Winnipeg, Manitoba and dividing his time between there and Toronto. Company will be touring his new play for young audiences: “WishWorld” in the Spring of 2006 in southern Ontario and “Voices” a play developed with Toronto street youth.
Dennis & Rosemary Hunt
Recognized for their decades of work in Saskatchewan theatre, primarily for their positive impact on community theatre, as performers, directors and educators.
Rosemary and Dennis Hunt both received their preliminary education in England before taking up teaching posts in Pierceland in 1955. They have been actively engaged in all aspects of theatre since their arrival in Canada, both at the school, community and professional level. They have, over the years, been winners of numerous teaching, directing and writing awards, and have worked with numerous theatre companies, both amateur and professional, playing between them over two hundred different roles. In 1967, they were both involved in the formation of Saskatoon Gateway Players, of which they are life members, and have worked extensively in Saskatchewan giving workshops and performances. They are recipients of many awards at Saskatchewan giving workshops and performances. They are recipients of many awards at Saskatchewan Drama Festivals, and have represented Western Canada at Dominion Drama Festivals, and have represented Western Canada at Dominion Drama Festivals. In 1982, Rosemary was awarded the Canadian Commemorative medal for her work in creative drama with Saskatchewan children, and in 1992 was inducted into the Saskatchewan Women's Hall of Fame. In 2005, Dennis's play, Choices, was published in Write On! Theatre Saskatchewan Anthology.
Recognized for her commitment to theatre at both the community and educational levels with her work as a director, performer, adjudicator and administrator.
Jean came to Canada in 1967 with her husband James and two sons – Marcus who was 2 and a half and Radford who was 3 weeks old. They spend two years in Kamsack where James taught school and then moved to Oxbow where they lived for the next eighteen years. Once the boys left home, Jean and James moved to Regina where they have lived and worked ever since.
Jean was born in a small village in the Southwest of England called Bere Ferrers. It was here that her love of theatre began. When Jean was ten she played the fairy godmother in a production in her hometown. When she came to Saskatchewan she quickly became involved in theatre starting in Oxboy as an actor and then taking over directing when the two local directors moved to B.C. Since that time she has worked extensively with students and adults around the province, facilitating many workshops from A to Z… i.e. acting to zippering costumes for school, church and adult groups. She has taught classes for the Saskatchewan Drama Association and worked as an adjudicator for both Theatre Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Drama.
In Regina, Jean has directed, acted, stage managed, produced and done costumes and props for Regina Summer Stage and Regina Little Theatre. She also dabbles in film on occasion and does voice over work for radio. Also, for the past nine years, Jean has gone out to Eston to work with their adult drama club on their annual production. In all, since coming to Canada, Jean has acted in approximately 24 productions and directed 22 shows. She has appeared in 3 films and one sit-com episode.
Jean earned a Best Actor award and a Best Actor in a Supporting Role award at Theatre Saskatchewan Festivals. In 2000 she was awarded the Theatre Saskatchewan Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition to her on stage work, Jean was the Assistant to the Executive Director/Organizer of the Theatre Canada Festival in 1990, Co-chair of the Theatre Sask 2001 Provincial festival, served as a Board Member of Theatre Regina from 1995-2005, worked as the Assistant to the Executive Director of Regina Summer Stage from 1989-1993, the Executive Director of Regina Summer Stage from 1993-1995, The Executive Director of Theatre Saskatchewan from 1995-1997, Board Member of Regina Summer Stage form 1995-2002, co-chair 2002/03, Chair 2003-2005 and Board Member from 2005-2006.
Jean drags her husband James into all her drama activities and is very grateful for his support. She is also thankful for the support of son Marcus, his wife Janette, Radford and wife Jessica and Grandchildren Hawk, Cutter and Maggie.
The Honourable Linda Haverstock PhD., LL.D.
Recognized for her dedication to Saskatchewan theatre and theatre arts and for her continuing efforts to promote and support theatre development in our province.
Born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan to community-minded parents, Dr. Haverstock left high school prematurely and returned to complete grades eleven and twelve as an adult. She later earned Bachelor of Education and Master of Education degrees in the Education of Exceptional Children and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Haverstock taught at the University level in both Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. In 1987, she received the Triple ‘E’ Award of Excellence for her work as a practicing psychologist. She has served on numerous professional committees, as well as being active in community organizations.
Widely respected for having established innovative education programs for disabled students and chronically truant adolescents, she shifted her focus to farm families in crisis. She has given hundreds of seminars and workshops and has contributed to journals, magazines, and books, including the handbook, Fighting the Farm Crisis, and a book entitled Safety and Health in Agriculture. Dr. Haverstock’s abiding concern for the quality of life in Saskatchewan saw her enter public life. In 1989, she became the first woman to be elected leader of a political party in the province of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Haverstock is a recipient of the Gzowski Award for contributions to literacy, the Paul Harris Fellowship for support of the Rotary Foundation’s goals of world peace and international understanding, and an honorary life membership from the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada in recognition of outstanding public service. She served as Honorary Colonel of 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School at 15 Wing in Moose Jaw from 2002 to 2005. Dr. Haverstock received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Regina in the spring of 2006.
An avid supporter of the arts as performer, board member, and patron, Dr. Haverstock implemented the Lieutenant Governor’s Celebration of the Arts program during Saskatchewan’s Centennial in 2005. The initiative included the following projects: the Lieutenant Governor’s Centennial Gala; the commissioning of the documentary film by Director Doug Cuthand “For Love of the Land”; the Library and Authors Centennial Tour; and the Lieutenant Governor’s Celebration of the Arts Pin, which was presented to 100,000 citizens in recognition of their contributions to the arts.
Dr. Haverstock served as Saskatchewan’s 19th Lieutenant Governor from February of 2000 to July 2006. She and her husband, Harley Olsen, reside in Regina and have four children and seven grandchildren.
Recognized for her dedication to Saskatchewan theatre and theatre arts and for her continuing efforts to promote and support theatre development in our province.
I have always LOVED to play! At a young age when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, without even a split second to ponder my answer, I would reply, “I want to be Carol Burnett.”
Well, I didn’t make it that far, but due to living in fun loving small communities in rural Saskatchewan, and Theatre Saskatchewan, I was able to meet AWESOME people that not only gave me the opportunity to PLAY with them, this is also what they allowed me to do:
- Been involved in amateur theatre since 1980, in numerous communities in Saskatchewan
- Became the founder/co-founder of adult amateur theatre groups in Neudorf, Kamsack, Kindersley, Kyle and Wynyard.
- Played with near-professional adult theatre groups in Kerrobert and Balgonie
- Portrayed major roles such as Olive in the Female version of The Odd Couple, Mildred in You Can’t Get There From Here, Mildred in Faith Country, Clara in Spirit, just to name a few.
- Gave me the opportunity to compete in the Theatre Saskatchewan One Act Play Festivals on two occasions, with the following results:
- 1995 - Runner-Up for Best Actress in the role of Katie in The Elevator (Kindersley Players)
- 1996 – Best Actress in the role of Hallie in Ladies of the Mop (Krrobert’s Prairieland Players)
- Have seen so many fellow theatre people (Brigetta Peterson, Shauna Meek and Paulette Thompson, to name only a few) achieve so many Theatre Saskatchewan Festival awards, which in turn gave me the opportunity to say, “I played with those stars!”
- Instrumental in having theatre groups I was involved with join Theatre Saskatchewan, so that they might utilize the resources available through Theatre Saskatchewan.
- Found and directed high school and adult theatre groups
- The opportunity was provided to instruct drama workshops to kids of all ages, on a volunteer basis.
- As the Director of Culture for the 1994 Winter Games in Kindersley, I am very proud to say that this was the 1st Saskatchewan Winter Games that offered live amateur theatre performances for entertainment, not only as a major fundraiser, but also performing during the week of the Games.
- Gave me the courage to compose and perform routines and become the local community Mrs. Clause, Bag Lady, and Church Lady for many years.
Amateur theatre doesn’t just give people the opportunity to make audiences laugh or cry, or to make numerous AWESOME friends, amateur theatre allows all persons involved a tool for the release and the confidence which lets them be themselves through the voice of the characters portrayed! It’s a natural high!
Although I’m an old broad now, I still LOVE to play! AND if I was asked today what I wanted to be when I grew up, without a blink of an eye I would still reply, “I want to be a Carol Burnett!” Just sayin’.
Recognized for his dedication to community theatre in Saskatchewan through his volunteerism and passion for the arts.
Ian C. Nelson
Recognized for his contributions to the development of theatre in both French and English languages in Saskatchewan and for his continuing efforts to promote and support theatre development in Saskatchewan.
Bilingual actor-director-dramaturg and playwright, Ian C. Nelson trained with Catherine Dasté in Paris and Wesley Balk (The Complete Singer-Actor) in Minneapolis. He has taken vocal workshops with Kristin Linklater and master classes with Jo Estill. He was the 1996 recipient of the Janet Laine-Green Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the development of theatre in Saskatchewan.
Ian has directed over 115 productions of legitimate theatre, opera, operetta, musical theatre and musical revues for various companies in Montreal and Western Canada, and International Fringe Festivals. Notable productions include The Consul (with Lynn Channing and Philip May) and The Merry Widow (with Émile Belcourt). His adaptation of Gilbert & Sullivan entitled The Pirates of Penzance, SK was a highlight of the Province’s centennial year. He is currently adapting the book and updating the lyrics of H.M.S.Pinafore which will be the 50th anniversary production for Saskatoon Summer Players. Ian has also directed and acted extensively for Saskatoon Gateway Players, Regina Summer Stage, Unithéâtre at the University of Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Opera Association during its early days and latterly Saskatchewan’s only professional French company, La Troupe du Jour, in Saskatoon. He has won a number of directing and acting awards at Theatre Saskatchewan and Fransaskois festivals.
For a half-dozen years during the 80’s, Ian was the main director of social issue works for the Plays for Living programme sponsored by the Saskatoon Family Service Bureau. More recently he directed a 12-episode radio play in French on the subject of lifestyle competency for seniors entitled Bruno et Alice.
As an actor (over 130 rôles to his credit), in 2001 Ian created the rôle of Paul Hiebert in the world première of the musical Sarah Binks: Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan by Ken Mitchell and Doug Hicton and in 2002 that of Jérôme in the French version of Connie Kaldor’s musical Dust & Dreams. Other acting appearances include world premières and touring productions of Le Costume and Bonneau et La Bellehumeur by Raoul Granger, Le Six/Five Six Pick-Up Sticks and Cinq ans by David Baudemont, and Les Vieux Péteux and La Maculée by Madeleine Blais-Dahlem. His portrayal of Cyrano de Bergerac in 2001 won rave reviews.
In 1994 Ian devised a bilingual playing script of Scapin! combining the original text of Molière with a new English translation by David Edney (available through the Playwrights Guild of Canada). He also workshopped The Dreaming Beauty by Daniel David Moses at a national festival and subsequently oversaw its French translation and production entitled Belle Fille de l’Aurore (also available through PGC) which in 1991 represented Canada and North America at the I.A.T.A. World Festival in Halden, Norway.
For a number of years now Ian has concentrated on the workshopping of new French scripts, initially for the Festival de la Dramaturgie des Prairies in Edmonton and Saskatoon. In 2001 his own play Le Sablier (under his nom de plume Christian de Nesle) was featured in this festival, taped and subsequently broadcast by Radio Canada. Ian’s English scripts Double Blind (written in collaboration with Kevin Power) and Interrogating the Sphinx were featured in the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre Spring Festival of New Plays in 2003 and 2009. The White Room was featured as a “tasty bite” in the 2012 Spring Festival. The original French version of this script,entitled La Chambre blanche, is being produced in La Troupe du Jour’s current 2013-2014 season (Feb. 6-16, 2014) and a bilingual adaptation of it is slated for an SPC public reading March 8, 2014 Upstairs at the City Centre in Regina.
Ian is author of The Scarlet Coat Serial, a play about the early days of the North West Mounted Police, based on the poetry of David Day. Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks is his English adaptation of David Baudemont’s Le Six which was performed in alternating productions by La Troupe du Jour and Dancing Sky Theatre in their millennium seasons.
In 1983 Ian was a writer/director/performer for Saskatchewan Prairie Waves/Les Vagues de Notre Pays, a play commissioned by the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan for the National Canadian Heritage Festival '83. It toured Newfoundland, was televised on the CBC programme “Harmony” and became the template of several subsequent national heritage festivals.
He also created the original musical productions Figar007 and Bitter Chocolate Valentine for the Saskatoon International Fringe Festival and in the 80’s he devised a series of fundraising galas for the Saskatoon Opera Society entitled Easily Assimilated, More Easily Assimilated, and Even More Easily Assimilated.
For more than a dozen years now Ian has been conseiller dramaturgique with the Cercle des Écrivains programme for La Troupe du Jour. In a recent auteurs-en-résidence programme, he radically adapted his play The Armoured Heart (published in Write On! Theatre Saskatchewan Anthology) and translated it into French under the title Miracle à Rouen. Two of his French plays, Avant le deluge and Le Sablier have been published in the 3rd and 4th volumes of La Nouvelle Plume’s series Le Théâtre Fransaskois for which he also wrote the general introduction.
Ian is a respected adjudicator and workshop facilitator at festivals of Theatre Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Drama Association. He also adjudicates spoken word and musical theatre classes of the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association. He is one of the three featured panelists in the SMFA’s “Art of Adjudicating” DVD.
As a volunteer Ian has been on the boards of Saskatoon Gateway Players, La Troupe du Jour, Theatre Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre. He has served a number of terms on the board of the S.C.C.O. and the Cultural Advisory Committee and has also been on several juries of the Saskatchewan Arts Board.
Stage director of the first three productions of the Savoy Society at McGill (celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014), Ian was also the founding director of Unithéâtre, the French company at the University of Saskatchewan that was the precursor of La Troupe du Jour.