MOORE, Mavor




Author Tags: Biography, Theatre

Born in Toronto on March 8,1919, (James) Mavor Moore was a distinguished playwright, actor, stage and television producer, critic, professor, journalist and a chairman of the Canada Council. He also served as the founding chairman of the British Columbia Arts Council (1996) and the Canadian Theatre Centre (1960). A truly national figure, he also served as the founding director of the Charlottetown Festival (1964). Mavor Moore moved to Victoria in the 1980s to become a research professor in fine arts and humanities at the University of Victoria. He died on December 18, 2006 in Victoria after a lengthy illness.

Moore wrote the words for more than 100 plays, musicals and operas including the operas Louis Riel (1967, composer Harry Somers) and Erewhon (2000), and the musicals Sunshine Town (1954), Johnny Belinda (1968, composer John Fenwick) and Anne of Green Gables. His two-act play, The Apology, is contained in Six Plays by Mavor Moore (Talonbooks, 1989). His widely reviewed memoirs appeared in 1994 as Reinventing Myself (Stoddart).

Frequently dubbed a cultural pioneer and a renaissance man, Moore was associated with Spring Thaw (1948-1957, 1961-1965, the National Theatre School, the Stratford Festival, Halifax's Neptune Theatre, the Charlottetown Festival, the Canadian Opera Company, the Vancouver Playhouse and the St. Lawrence Centre. He once worked with Robert Oppenheimer on a United Nations radio documentary on atomic energy and helped organize events for the 1967 Canadian centennial. In his senior years, he was an arts columnist for the Globe & Mail from the West Coast, having worked as one of CBC Television's first producers in 1950 and written for the Toronto Telegram as a theatre critic (1958-1960).

Mavor Moore was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1973. Among his other honours, he received three international Peabody Awards, the Queen's Medal, the 1986 Molson Prize, the Diplôme d'honeur, the John Drainie Award and at least six honorary degrees. He also had a brief stint in Canadian military intelligence during World War II. He was married for 26 years to Alexandra Browning; and he was previously married to Phyllis Grosskurth and Darwina Faessler.

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2006] "Biography" "Theatre"