Sharon Pollock | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Sharon Pollock

Sharon Pollock also has written 6 plays for children, several television and radio scripts, and award-winning dramas.

Pollock, Sharon

 Sharon Pollock, née Mary Sharon Chalmers, playwright, actor, director (b at Fredericton 19 Apr 1936). Sharon Pollock grew up in Québec's Eastern Townships and attended the University of New Brunswick before moving to Calgary in 1966. Her first effort, A Compulsory Option, won the 1971 Alberta Playwriting Competition. Subsequently, she taught playwriting at the University of Alberta, ran the Playwrights' Colony at the BANFF CENTRE 1977-80, and was playwright-in-residence at Calgary's Alberta Theatre Projects 1977-79 and at the NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE 1981-82. In 1984 she became the artistic director of THEATRE CALGARY. From 1988 to 1990 she was artistic director at THEATRE NEW BRUNSWICK.

Sharon Pollock also has written 6 plays for children, several television and radio scripts, and award-winning dramas. She received the 1980 "Nellie"ACTRA award for Best Radio Drama (Sweet Land of Liberty); the 1981 Golden Sheaf Award for the television film The Person's Case; and the 1982 Governor General's Award for Blood Relations, about Lizzie Borden, the acquitted axe murderer. In Theatre Calgary's 1981 production of the play, Pollock played the role of Miss Lizzie. Her next plays - Walsh (1974), The Komagata Maru Incident (1978) and One Tiger to a Hill (1981) - which have been produced in every major theatre centre in Canada, earned her a reputation as a playwright of conscience. Generations (1981), Blood Relations and Doc (1984, Governor General's Award) are less concerned with social issues and more with domestic conflict. Doc is loosely based on Pollock's own family background; like her other plays, it is brutally honest, and painfully telling. Her play Whiskey Six Cadenza, a prison drama, was shortlisted for (but did not win) the 1987 Governor General's Awards, and in January 1988 she was awarded the Canada-Australia Literary Prize.

In 1992 Sharon Pollock founded the Garry Theatre in Calgary, where she wrote and directed Saucy Jack (1993), which tells the story of Jack the Ripper from a woman's perspective, and Death in the Family (1993), where she performed a major role. In 1993 Fair Liberty's Call, which examines the history of the United Empire Loyalists in the Maritimes after the American War of Independence, premiered at the STRATFORD FESTIVAL. Three of Pollock's plays - Moving Pictures (1999), End Dream (2000), which she directed, and Angel's Trumpet (2001) - were premiered by the ensemble company Theatre Junction in Calgary. These works focus on women struggling to pursue their artistic talents and ambitions within male-dominated environments. In 2005 Pollock played the role of early filmmaker Nell SHIPMAN in Moving Pictures at the University of Alberta's Studio Theatre.

Sharon Pollock received an honorary doctor of letters degree in 1986 from the University of New Brunswick. In 1998 she was elected president of the Alberta Playwrights Network, and in 1999 she received the Harry and Martha Cohen Award for her contribution to Theatre Calgary. She was granted a doctor of laws degree from Queen's University that year, and in 2003 an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Calgary. She received an honorary doctor of letters degree in 2005 from the University of Alberta.

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