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Black, Malcolm

Director, actor, writer, teacher, born in Liverpool, England, in 1928, died March 2017. Malcolm Black made a substantive contribution to the development of theatre across Canada. He trained at the Old Vic School in London and immigrated to Canada in 1956.

From 1957, he was production manager at the Crest Theatre in Toronto. He was artistic director at Vancouver Playhouse (1964-67), Theatre New Brunswick (1978-84) and Theatre Plus (1985-89).

Malcolm Black also freelanced at theatres across the country including Rainbow Stage, Citadel Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, and the National Theatre School of Canada. He also directed in the US (including the world premiere of Beverley Simons' Crabdance at ACT in Seattle).

During his tenure as Artistic Director at Vancouver Playhouse, he directed and produced its first homegrown production in the mid-60s, and presented its first tour. He also commissioned George Ryga's The Ecstasy of Rita Joe for the Playhouse. During his tenure at Theatre New Brunswick, he established Canada's only bilingual touring Young Company. He also introduced Norm Foster to TNB. In his eighties, he continued to direct plays at the Toronto Fringe or Summerworks, and at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.

Black taught at CUNY in New York, the University of Washington in Seattle, and in the Theatre Department at York University, and has mentored many actors and playwrights.

In 2013, he was presented with the Silver Ticket Award at the 34th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, bestowed to an individual who has excelled in his or her career while also nurturing the development of Canadian theatre, and presented by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA).

An archival collection on this subject is available at the L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives at the University of Guelph, Ontario.

Source: Edward Mullaly, "Black, Malcolm," The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. Ed. Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989.

Last updated 2017-03-04