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Shaw Festival to celebrate the life of actor, director and playwright Neil Munro

Media Bulletin #7

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, July 24, 2009. . . The life and creative influence of Neil Munro, one of Canadian theatre’s most vital and compelling artists for more than 35 years, will be celebrated at The Shaw’s Festival Theatre on Monday, August 10 at 3:00 p.m. 

Neil Munro’s extensive career includes memorable successes as an actor, writer and director and a reputation in all three cases as an artist who was fierce, fearless, uncompromising yet deeply humane.

One of the first graduates of the National Theatre School, he quickly established himself as a performer of fiery intelligence, creating mesmerizing portraits as varied as Billy the Kid and Hamlet in theatres across the country including The Stratford Festival, The Citadel, Toronto Free, Theatre Calgary, Tarragon Theatre and the National Arts Centre where he was part of the resident acting company in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

His focus shifted to writing through the 80’s resulting in a slate of provocative edgy comic dramas including Extreme Close Up (nominated for a Chalmers Award), Crossing Over, Bob’s Kingdom (Dora Award) and the brilliantly controversial Hamlet’s Room – his deconstructed version of the play in which he had played the title role twice.

His arrival at the Shaw Festival in 1988 saw the establishment of a new Artistic home for Neil, where as Resident Director he became a vital part of the creative direction of the company under Christopher Newton continuing this role with Jackie Maxwell. As a director, his years at The Shaw spawned a series of iconoclastic, often brilliant, always fascinating productions include the entire canon of Granville Barker, St Joan, Rashomon, Man and Superman, Detective Story, Rosmersholm, The Circle and Summer and Smoke.

Mr. Munro died July 13, 2009 at the age of 62 at London Ontario’s University Hospital after a lengthy illness.  He leaves a rich and enduring impact on Canadian culture. The Shaw Festival hopes all of Neil’s friends, colleagues and fans will join us at this celebration on Monday.

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Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, or to download images from our image bank to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck
Public Relations Director
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222
odette@shawfest.com

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224
janand@shawfest.com

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