ENGL 4501 Canadian Theatre Since 1968: Interrogating Identities

This seminar course will examine the ongoing emergence of uniquely Canadian forms of theatre in the years since the Massey Commission asserted the need to foster Canada’s native talent. Topics to be considered will include: the controversial role of government subsidy and policy-making in Canadian culture; the differing models offered by the Stratford and Shaw Festivals, by the major regional theatres, and by ‘alternate’ and independent companies; the contrast between First Nations, English- and French-Canadian traditions; and the rise of the current ‘Fringe’ phenomenon. Drama by representative playwrights will be considered alongside post-colonial theory and primary sources in Canadian theatre history to help students consider what a genuinely ‘Canadian’ theatre might look like. Above all, the course offers an opportunity to consider the complex relationship between theatre and national identity: who are ‘we,’ and how might our theatre express or even shape ‘us’?