Artistic Director of Stratford
"In the early 1970s, when I was a student at Ryerson, I wrote a play called Leave It to Beaver Is Dead which was produced in 1973 by Vaughan Road Collegiate Institute (now Vaughan Road Academy) and directed by Wayne Fairhead. In part because of that, it received two subsequent productions in Toronto including one directed by Paul Bettis which served as the première of his Theatre Second Floor 86 Parliament Street in 1975. In New York, the play was produced by the legen-dary Joseph Papp at the Public Theater which I directed myself in 1979. I went on to write and direct more productions for Joe Papp in New York and have enjoyed a career that has taken me around the world. To this day I'm grateful to the Sears Drama Festival for helping propel me into my professional career."
Artistic Director of Theatre Direct
My high school had a stellar drama program that was the pride of the school and community and one which I longed to join from the moment I started at the school in Grade 6! I followed the senior drama students around like a puppy and watched their productions in awe. When I was in grade 9, a grade 12 drama student even took time to teach me how to speak and breathe iambic pentameter-I was thrilled to bits. When I entered grade 12 and the prospect of a production for Sears was finally in the sights of the rest of my misfit peers-the program was canceled. Motivated by our predecssors we forged ahead and initiated a production on our own! I recall speaking to a very nice and helpful man named Wayne Fairhead who told me how to go about things and after finding a sympathetic sponsor in our art teacher, our "Indie" production of "Lemonade" was launched and made it all the way to the finals! Receiving our adjudications from the legendary Mira Friedlander and Canadian theatre hero Tom Hendry was nothing short of an honour (although I am sure at the time we thought we knew everything one needed to know about the craft of theatre and behaved accordingly!) Inspiration, mentorship, encouragement, a passionate committment to the inclusion of youth, respect for each young adult's voice, and faith in their potential-all demonstrated by actions not empty promises was, is and will continue to be the power of The Sears Drama Festival.