Trent University Scholars Help Bring Top Plays by George Bernard Shaw to Ontario Students


Professor Leonard Conolly and Masters Students Digitize Learning Resources for ORION Project to Launch on April 14

Tuesday, April 14, 2009, Peterborough

Ontario students and teachers will soon have easy access to two masterful plays by George Bernard Shaw thanks to the worldclass scholarship of Trent University’s Dr. Leonard Conolly and graduate students Henry Bakker and Christopher Gray as part of a project with the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION).

The ORION-Shaw Project, which launches today, uses a highspeed fibre optic network to connect research institutions with school boards to provide students and teachers access to newly digitized resources on two Shaw Festival 2009 season plays: The Devil’s Disciple and In Good King Charles’s Golden Days. Trent University and the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board are both members of this unique educational organization.

As a professor of English Literature at Trent, a corresponding scholar with the Shaw Festival, literary advisor to the Shaw Estate and vice-president of the International Shaw Society, Prof. Conolly has been heavily involved this new initiative. "Shaw described classroom texts as ‘instruments of torture’, but whenever students get introduced to Shaw's plays they find them provocative and stimulating, still illuminating, as they do, all kinds of social and political problems facing us today," he said.

Two Trent graduate students from the Masters Program in Public Texts, Henry Bakker and Christopher Gray, have been working with Prof. Conolly to prepare the information for this online teaching resource. The final product includes annotated texts and resources for the plays complete with the production details, contextual documents, research materials, quizzes and activities, a search engine, and study guides tailored to the Ontario school curriculum.

“This clearly has the potential of not only expanding appreciation and understanding of Shaw's work, but also of making it more accessible to new audiences through new technologies,” said Prof. Conolly. This project is among the new programs and services ORION in partnership with York University is introducing to help students and teachers derive maximum benefits from ORION’s state-of-the art capabilities.

George Bernard Shaw, one of the 20th century’s greatest playwrights and political thinkers, remains a compelling figure for youth and adults alike thanks to Prof. Conolly’s prodigious work during his academic career. Considered one of the world’s leading Shaw scholars, Prof. Conolly has been reading, viewing, and studying Shaw's work for 45 years. He is the founder of two scholarly journals and the author or editor of 14 books on Shaw and other theatre and literature subjects. He has also published over sixty research essays and reviews. In 1998 the theatre archives at the University of Guelph, one of the largest such archives in North America, were named the L. W. Conolly Theatre Archives in Professor Conolly’s honour.


For further information, please contact Professor Leonard Conolly, Department of English Literature at (705) 748-1011, ext. 6029, or .