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Playwrights Lab Oral History Interviews

Posted on April 03, 2024

Introduction by Brian Quirt

The Banff Playwrights Lab has been one of Canada's leading play development centres for over 50 years. Since its modest beginnings in 1974, this program founded by Tom Hendry and George Ryga has evolved into an influential and invaluable landscape for new Canadian plays of all kinds. Over those fifty years, more than 500 playwrights have attended the Lab to write, create, revise, workshop and showcase more than 800 plays.

Theatre history is ephemeral; the show is over and audiences and artists alike move on. Play development history is even more invisible. These oral history recordings are one of several 50th anniversary initiatives designed to bring the Lab's long-standing creative achievements to light. In keeping with oral history practice, we have asked artists that have served as leaders of the Lab to respond to a series of questions about the program during their tenure, their experience of supporting artists at the Banff Centre, and some of the more memorable projects and events during their time guiding this remarkable program.

To explore the full list of playwrights that have participated in the Lab (formerly called The Banff Playwrights Colony) and the hundreds of plays that have been developed here, please visit Banff Centre Playwrights Lab Participants.

Also available is A Brief History of the Banff Playwrights Lab, and an anthology of essays by artists that participated in the Lab between 2013-23, offering insights into the creation of new plays and what it is like to develop a play within the inspiring, interdisciplinary, and inclusive environment of the Playwrights Lab.

Oral history recordings include:

John Murrell (Lab Director, 1986-1989; Co-Director 2001-2006)

Kim McCaw (Lab Director, 1990-1996) - coming soon

Bob White (Lab Director, 1997-2009)

Vicki Stroich (Lab Director, 2010-2012)

Brian Quirt (Lab Director, 2013-2024)

Jenna Rodgers (Lab Dramaturg, 2014-2024)