• Search The Shaw Festival’s News Room

Long-Time Shaw Ensemble Member Mourned

Media Release #31

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, December 10, 2009….The Shaw Festival mourns the passing of renowned Canadian actress Goldie Semple. Ms. Semple died peacefully yesterday morning at her home after a courageous battle with cancer. She leaves behind her husband of 33 years, Lorne Kennedy, and their 14 year old daughter, Madeline.

Upon making the announcement, Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell noted: “The loss of Goldie is inestimable — for both the Shaw Festival and the Canadian theatre community of which she was such a celebrated and beloved member. We are determined, however, to celebrate this extraordinary actress and woman of the theatre who combined an unequalled grace, beauty and elegance with a deep passion and, so delightful when you got to know her, a surprisingly wicked sense of humour and ultimate pragmatism. We celebrate her as a great actress, mentor, teacher, company member, friend and supporter to so many of us.”

Ms. Semple was a member of The Shaw ensemble for seventeen seasons. Her love of theatre was evident on and off the stage. From her outrageous comedic turn in last season’s production of Brief Encounters to her deeply moving portrayal as Desirée in the 2008 production of A Little Night Music, her elegance in The Cassilis Engagement and fire and passion in The Magic Fire; her extraordinary range as an actor thrilled audiences time and again.  Among her many acting credits at The Shaw, she will also be remembered for her heartbreaking performance in the 2001 production of Picnic and her brilliance in Coward’s Easy Virtue.  Her early years at The Shaw included stellar performances in Eden End, Heartbreak House, Cavalcade, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Androcles and the Lion, Candida, The Vortex, Too True To Be Good, Camille, and In Good King Charles’s Golden Days

Her work behind the scenes as a teacher and mentor touched the lives of many aspiring drama students who took part in a special summer intensive course for Queen’s University, which she taught annually at The Shaw. She also taught at a number of other Canadian academic institutions as well as New York University in the United States.  An active member of each community she lived in, Ms. Semple was co-founder of the Stratford-based theatre company Foolscap and also compiled and performed programs of poetry and music for the Niagara Historical Museum.

A celebrated performer across the country, Ms. Semple has graced the stages of the Canadian Stage Company and Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, the Vancouver Playhouse, Alberta Theatre Projects, and the Manitoba Theatre Centre among others. She appeared for many years on stage at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in such leading roles as Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, Kate in Taming of the Shrew, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra and Constance in King John.

Details pertaining to a memorial service for Ms. Semple are yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.


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

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Co-ordinator
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224

Bookmark and Share

Comments are closed.