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Posted: Tuesday March 23, 2010
Marcus Youssef

Many of Marcus’s plays were written or created with friends and colleagues. They include Winners and Losers, Leftovers, Jabber, How Has My Love Affected You?, Ali and Ali and the aXes of Evil, Adrift, Peter Panties, and A Line in the Sand. These have been performed across North America, Australia, and Europe, and recently off-Broadway. Marcus’s plays are also translated into multiple languages and published by Talonbooks and Playwrights Canada Press. Major awards include Alcan Performing Arts, Chalmer’s Canadian Play, Arts Club Silver Commission, Seattle Times Footlight, Vancouver Critics’ Choice Innovation, and numerous local awards in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Well-known in Vancouver as a cultural advocate, Marcus is artistic director of Neworld Theatre, co-founder of Progress Lab 1422, and chair of the city of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council.

LATEST Marcus Youssef NEWS

January 2017 : “Winners and Losers” opens in Calgary tomorrow!

May 2016 : Talonbooks will be at Congress 2016 this weekend

January 2016 : No fewer than nine Talon plays on stage across Canada this spring!

January 2016 : Two Talon classics at Toronto’s Factory Theatre this spring!

October 2015 : Two GG Nominations for Talon this year!

September 2015 : Jabber is here!

June 2015 : Now Available! The Talonbooks Fall 2015 Catalogue

June 2015 : Talon’s Monthly E-Newsletter for June 2015

April 2015 : All the Winners and Losers in Edmonton

January 2015 : Announcement: New Books for Spring 2015!

January 2015 : Winners and Losers Is a Winner!

August 2013 : Volume Two of Modern Canadian Plays (5th Edition) Has Arrived!

May 2013 : 2013 Jessie Richardson Award Nominations for Talonbooks Playwrights


Rio-Tinto Alcan Award for Performing Arts

Floyd S. Chalmer’s Canadian Play Award

Arts Club Silver Commission

Seattle Times Footlight Award

Vancouver Sun Critics’ Choice Award for Innovation (three times)

Jessie Richardson Awards (numerous)

Masques Awards (Montreal)

Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Toronto)



Best New Text, Montreal English Language Theatre Awards, 2013

One of the top 30 Plays of 2013, Stageworthy


Winners and Losers

Finalist for the 2015 Governor General’s Awards (Drama)


A Line in the Sand

Winner of 3 MECCA Awards (2009-2010)
Winner of the 1997 Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award



“Smartly probes the lives of high schoolers struggling with peer expectations and identity problems. As they attempt to navigate the minefield that is the high school hallway, they are warned repeatedly that actions have consequences.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Not afraid to deal with difficult subject matter such as discrimination, domestic abuse, sexuality, and the danger of online sharing on social media.”
Charlebois Post Review


Winners and Losers

“As the gloves come off, the intensity increases. The guiding theory behind the game is that you can’t have two winners sitting next to each other; for there to be a winner, the men reason, there has to be a loser.”
Globe and Mail

Winners and Losers is a loser if you want a traditional, controlled theater experience that doesn’t make you squirm at its awkward, winding vamps and volleys. … [but] Winners and Losers is a winner once it starts to think big. … An ethical high ground is at stake. … the personal becomes intensely political. … victimhood rears its ugly head and the (finally) resonant competition has you leaning in by its pitch-perfect, heavy ending. … What gets in your head are the spot-on depictions, large and small, of people abusing candor and bending the rules in an inescapable race to come out on top.”
Washington Post

“A sure-fire winner … disturbingly entertaining”
Vancouver Observer

Winners & Losers provides pleasure and unease … Exploration of the psyches of two very different men teases viewers with insights into themselves … at the heart of the show is the central question of how to be an artist, a man, a father — how to be a person, really — when you are smart enough to recognize your extraordinary privilege but self-aware enough to still feel the pain of your history. … it isn’t always clear which parts are improvised and which are scripted. That tension gives the evening a terrific sense of immediacy and danger. … a funny, fierce, unsettling theatrical experience that refuses to let you go after you’ve left the theatre.”
Vancouver Sun

Winners and Losers looks a lot like open heart surgery. Metaphoric blood is spilled but, strangely, the experience for the audience is exhilarating. The possibility that friendship can survive or even be strengthened by such excruciating honesty is inspirational and opens up floodgates of introspection.”
Vancouver Courier

“Ground-breaking … truth-daring … a fascinating, disturbing, and original experience … It is easy to imagine a second act … If you see this play you will want to talk about it immediately. It’s a winner.”
BC Bookworld

“Invigorating, hilarious, infuriating, and it may very well have you examining your own friendships and [beliefs]”
Vancouver Presents

“The performances are raw and the lines between reality and stage are completely blurred. The show however, is definitely a Winner”
– Fun Fun Vancouver

“Simply amazing … the show I’d suggest to anyone to see to understand what’s going on in [experimental theatre in] Canada right now.”
– Andrew Templeton, playwright, on the NYC World Theatre Day blog



“ …a minor miracle not merely of adaptation but of historical translation too. Adrift highlights the way we suffer the same losses over and over again, raining revenge on revenge. Our struggle, in essence, never changes.”
Globe and Mail


Adventures of Ali & Ali and the aXes of Evil, The

The Adventures of Ali & Ali … is solid and polished … shockingly poignant, seriously funny, humbly powerful, intelligently goofy …”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer


A Line in the Sand

“Mesmerizing … compelling and ambiguous … Verdecchia and Youssef pull off the tricky task of crafting a complex interpersonal drama that is also a potent allegory. … A reference to the then-recent Oka crisis creates provocative parallels between the Israel/Palestine divide and the ongoing effects of North American colonization. … [In 2016] A Line in the Sand inarguably remains relevant. Given its content, it seems likely that Verdecchia and Youssef will celebrate the day when this play doesn’t need another revival.”
Toronto Star

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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.

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