Playwright born Beverley Rosen in Flin Flon, Manitoba in 1938. She moved with her family to Edmonton Alberta in 1950 and studied music, but was inspired to pursue a career in writing by her high school teacher Walter Kaasa. As a student at McGill University, she became interested in innovative theatre, and chaired the Players Club Experimental Theatre. In 1958, she attended at the Banff Centre for the Arts on a writing scholarship that she won for a one-act play, Twisted Roots (1956). She produced her first full-length play, My Torah, My Tree at the Banff Centre in August, 1958.
She transferred to the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1959 with a BA, majoring in English and theatre. Simons also acted, starring as Joan of Arc in The Lark, by Jean Anouilh, produced by Vancouver Little Theatre.
She married Sidney Simons, a criminal defence lawyer, with whom she had three children (1961-65). Her travels with her husband in Europe and then in South East Asia inspired her interest in ritualistic theatre.
Beverley Simons' work is challenging and highly symbolic, and varied in both form and content. A recurring preoccupation is with the struggle to express a unique sense of self in an alienating world. In her best known play, Crabdance (premiered at A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) in Seattle in 1969; published by Talonbooks in 1972), the female protagonist engages in role-playing with three men who act out her father, her lover, and her son. Leela Means to Play (1978) most evidently reflects her interest in Asian symbolic style. She has also engaged with her Jewish background in My Torah, My Tree (1956) and The Elephant and the Jewish Question (1968).
Other plays include: Green Lawn Rest Home (1973), a bleak look at old age; Preparing (1974), a monologue which again anticipates death; and The Crusader (1978).
She has also written scripts for television and radio, a trilogy of novels, and short fiction.
Source: Rota Herzberg Lister. "Simons, Beverley Rosen," Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. Eds. Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989.
Last updated 2021-10-18