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Sunday March 28, 2010 in Books
In Making Theatre: A Life of Sharon Pollock, Sherrill Grace has written the story of Pollock’s life from her family roots in New Brunswick through her pioneering years as a Canadian playwright to the present as she continues to make theatre. It focuses attention on Pollock’s distinguished career as a playwright, director, actor and artistic director, and it places her story in the context of what is the flowering of Canadian theatre—the four decades from 1967 to the present. Grace also discusses each of Pollock’s major plays and many of their most interesting productions in Canada, as well as their productions in the United States, Japan and England. In her research for this volume, Grace interviewed theatre people across the globe and visited archives from coast to coast.
Sharon Pollock has won the Governor General’s Award for Drama twice (for Blood Relations and Doc), received several honorary doctorates, and won numerous other prizes and awards. She has also paved the way for the creation of new Canadian plays by championing the work of younger playwrights and mentoring their work across the country, but especially during her years at Banff.
While readers interested in Canadian theatre and in theatre history will find this biography of great value, those more interested in the personal story of a writer’s commitment to her craft and discipline will find Pollock’s story fascinating. While she has often called her family past a “ghost story,” over the course of her career she has had to cope with many challenges much more corporeal. As a woman in a male dominated field, as a mother of six children, as the survivor of an abusive marriage, she has managed to slay what Virginia Woolf once called the “angel in the house” to become one of Canada’s greatest living writers.
ISBN 13: 9780889225862 | ISBN 10: 889225869
7 W x 10 H x 1 D inches | 480 pages
$39.95 CAN / $39.95 US
Backlist | Non-Fiction | Bisac: BIO005000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“An absorbing biography that confronts the realities of writing lives with all of the detours, diversions and distractions. Sherrill Grace involves the reader in the process of discovering her subject and how life transforms itself to the stage. This is a work that reveals the complementary roles of an important playwright, actor, director and artistic director in the often uncertain world of the Canadian theatre. This is a biography that not only crosses Canada but disciplines.”
— Ira Nadel
“Rich in detail and nuanced understanding, Sherrill Grace’s Making Theatre establishes a new standard for theatrical biography. A profound meditation on the power of theatre, the art of storytelling and the cost of creativity, this expert study of a life lived publicly and communally succeeds in probing Pollock’s multi-layered psychological drama while holding up a mirror to our geography and history. Grace’s insightful exploration of the vanished artefact of theatrical performance and the traces of Pollock’s successive re-inventions of herself is unrivalled.”
— Patricia Demers
”Sherrill Grace’s Making Theatre: A Life of Sharon Pollock is a great read: beautifully crafted, detailed, and compelling. It is also a thoroughly researched and deeply empathetic account of the life and work of a feisty, opinionated, and deeply committed woman who is arguably Canada’s greatest playwright. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the movement that forever changed the face of Canadian theatre in the 1960s, 70s, and beyond. It is also the life story of a great woman whose will and determination have consistenty resisted the assimilation of her feminist, anti-racist politics into mainstream platitudes. The woman Grace so brilliantly showcases here is a strong, independent, and outspoken model for us all.”
— Ric Knowles
"The approach thoughtfully chosen and developed with particularly original pizzaz by Grace to tell the Pollock story is a skilful blending of multiple contexts and a weaving of a dazzling array of impeccably verified facts, accounts of personal events and issues beginning in Pollock’s early years, analyses of plays, rehearsals, and performances, discussions of political and ethical stakes embedded in moments of history, reminders of exciting developments across the anglophone theatre landscape in Canada, and probing queries into the meaning of concepts and practices such as dramaturgy, writing, theatricality, autobiography and biography."
—Louise H. Forsyth
Winner of the 2009 Ann Saddlemeyer Award
About the ContributorsSherrill Grace
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.