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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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A Scene from 'What Glorious Times They Had', 1974

This is the year when women stake a claim as core constituents in the emerging Canadian drama. Diane Grant's What Glorious Times They Had, based on the life and work of Nellie McLung, is chosen as their defining first play by Redlight Productions in Toronto. A feminist theatre group, Redlight remains a vibrant force throughout the 1970s and 80s. As well, Le Théâtre des Cuisines, Quebec's first theatre company composed exclusively of women, presents their first production, Nous aurons les enfants que nous voulons. They define their focus as being "the struggle not against coquetry or against men, but against the exploitation of women's work 24 hours out of 24".

The geographical spread of French theatre outside the main Quebec cultural centres, following the example of English Canadian groups, starts with Théâtre Populaire d'Acadie founded in the village of Caraquet on the North Shore of New Brunswick, and touring its productions throughout Acadia.

However, for a national theatre to establish a permanent presence, geographical stretch or the fostering of new playwrights needs to be complemented by critical attention that goes beyond reviews to promote the broader understanding of its qualities in the classroom and on the campus. This is provided by the Canadian Theatre Review: the first academic journal exclusively devoted to the new drama, which defines its national boundaries in the widest possible ethnic, linguistic and geographical terms. Published in October, under the editorship of Don Rubin, the lead article of its first issue, by Rubin, is trenchantly entitled "Creeping Toward a Culture".