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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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Cover of 'Suburban Motel'

Winnipeg's Ian Ross wins the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama, for his play farewel: the first ever First Nations Canadian to do so.

First Light Productions breaks new theatrical and entrepreneurial ground by mounting Place of First Light, a living environmental interpretation of the history and culture of Newfoundland's Bell Island, blending tourism, education, and theatrical art in a rich and provocative on-site production.

In a further display of unconventional and financially lucrative theatrical art, The Overcoat, conceived and directed by Morris Panych and Wendy Gorling, opens at the Vancouver Playhouse with a cast of 22 professionals and students. Based loosely on Gogol's short story, the production uses movement, props, the music of Shostakovich, and no spoken text, to create a dazzling and beautiful allegorical spectacle. Like several of Panych's earlier shows – the series of musicals co-written with Ken MacDonald, Last Call – a Postnuclear Cabaret (1982), Contagious (1984), and Cheap Sentiment (1985), all of which appeared at the Vancouver Tahmanous Theatre (where Panych was Artistic Director) before touring Canada, and particularly his 1995 play Vigil, which won Vancouver's Jessie Award and played in San Diego and Washington to sold-out houses before opening under the title Auntie and Me, at the 2002 Edinburgh Festival and transferring at Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End with Alan Davies and Margaret Tyzack in 2003 – The Overcoat is remounted in theatres across Canada and becomes an even greater global phenomenon because of its ability to cross all linguistic frontiers.

Ken Gass initiates in a season that includes all six of George F. Walker's Suburban Motel plays, rescuing Factory Theatre from closing.

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