Award-Winning Canadian Playwright-in-Residence at Trent this Fall
David French to share his experience with students and community members
Award-winning playwright and Officer of the Order of Canada David French will be joining Trent University students at Champlain and Gzowski colleges this fall as a writer-in-residence. He will also share his experience of more than four decades with high school students, local theatre groups and interested community members.
Champlain College has had writers-in-residence for more than 30 years, the first of whom was Margaret Laurence. In each of the last five years, the college has welcomed five writers-in-residence, among them, Dennis Lee, Andrew Pyper and Michael Ondaatje. Mr. French will be in residence between October 6 and 17, 2003.
"David French has one of the most sustained careers in the Canadian theatre," says Prof. Stephen Brown, master, Champlain College. "It’s fair to call him the Canadian dean of playwriting, and that’s what made him attractive to us."
Mr. French is best known for his semi-autobiographical Mercer Family series plays Leaving Home, Of The Fields, Lately, Salt-Water Moon, 1949, and Soldier’s Heart. These plays, based on a Newfoundland family, have been performed across Canada and the United States. Of The Fields, Lately has been produced on Broadway along with The Seagull, which starred Jon Voight, Laura Linney, Tyne Daley, Tony Roberts and Ethan Hawke.
Originally produced by Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre in 1979, Mr. French’s Jitters has since had hundreds of productions throughout the world, including a highly acclaimed six-month run at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven. Jitters was revived with success in Toronto by CentreStage in 1987.
Mr. French’s plays have inspired screenplays, been filmed as full-length drama specials for CBC Television and translated into French and Spanish. They have garnered awards such as the Hollywood Drama-Logue Critics Award, the Canadian Authors’ Association Award for Drama, the Dora Mavor Moore Award, Outstanding New Play and the Chalmers Award for Best New Canadian Play. Born in Coley’s Point, Newfoundland, Mr. French was the first inductee into the Newfoundland Arts Hall of Honour in 1989.
In his more than 40-year career, Mr. French has worked as a professional actor and in the 1960s and 1970s, wrote half-hour television dramas and episodes of the CBC children’s series Razzle Dazzle. He has adapted his stage plays for radio and has written several original radio dramas and screenplays as well as dozens of short stories, poems and song lyrics for a musical revue.
Mr. French has,
in the last four decades, given many Canada Council-sponsored readings
and workshops at universities, theatres and libraries throughout Ontario,
Quebec and the Maritimes.
Posted: October 6, 2003