Writer, dramaturg Brian Quirt appointed director of the Banff Playwrights Colony

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Banff, Alberta, February 21, 2012 -- The Banff Playwrights’ Colony at The Banff Centre, one of the most intensive creative experiences for the development of new Canadian plays, has appointed Brian Quirt as director, effective in the spring of 2013.   

Currently the artistic director of Toronto-based dramaturgical company Nightswimming, Quirt’s appointment follows the resignation last fall of dramaturge and translator Maureen Labonté, who has been integral to the Colony since 2003, first as resident dramaturge and most recently as co-director. The 2012 Colony will be overseen by Vicki Stroich of Alberta Theatre Projects, along with resident dramaturge Colleen Murphy, and Vern Thiessen, senior playwright-in-residence.  

“We’re delighted to have such an exceptional theatre artist as Brian Quirt to follow Maureen LaBonte's inspired and dedicated leadership for the past nine years,” says Kelly Robinson, director of Theatre Arts at The Banff Centre. “Brian brings strength and experience as a leading dramaturge, director, and producer having founded and led his own company, in addition to establishing an important international reputation as a theatre practitioner. This year will be a time of reflection and consultation as Brian comes to the Centre in 2013 with a renewed and vibrant vision, ready to build on past success in the Colony.”

Founded in 1974 to build on The Banff Centre’s established programs in theatre, the Banff Playwrights’ Colony is a creative residency that brings both emerging and seasoned playwrights together from across Canada to work with dramaturges and a company of actors to develop new work. The program is designed around individual projects, at varying stages of completion, but is primarily centred on text-based play development.  

The colony’s history is a who’s who of Canadian playwriting over the past four decades, with alumni including John Murrell, Joan McLeod, Brad Fraser, Tomson Highway, Sharon Pollock, Daniel MacIvor, and Morris Panych, among many others.  

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About The Banff Centre: The Banff Centre’s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs here every year. Through its multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible.

About Brian Quirt: A dramaturge, director, and playwright, Brian Quirt is the founding artistic director of Nightswimming, a Toronto-based dramaturgical company that commissions and develops new works of theatre, dance, and music, and conducts theatrical research. The company has commissioned and premiered plays including Judith Thompson’s Such Creatures, and Bombay Black by Anosh Irani.   

Quirt has also directed plays including Pierre Brault’s 5 O’Clock Bells for the Great Canadian Theatre Company and the Luminato Festival, and the premiere of Michael Healey’s first play, Kicked, which toured Canada. His own plays include Lake Nora ArmsBlue Note (with Martin Julien), and The Death of General Wolfe. Quirt is the past president of the Literary Managers and Dramaturges of the Americas, and was associate artistic director at the Great Canadian Theatre Company for the 2010/11 season.