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Wood, John

Director born in Montreal, Quebec in 1938, who has promoted works by Canadian playwrights, and excelled in productions of Shakespeare. John Wood graduated from Bishop's University in 1961 with a B.A. in History and English, then studied at the National Theatre School of Canada.

For the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Wood directed The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Michael Ondaatje for the 1975-76 season. He was Artistic Director of the Neptune Theatre from 1974-77 before taking over the English section of the National Arts Centre theatre (1977-84).

John Wood has directed at Theatre Calgary, Vancouver Playhouse, Festival Lennoxville, the Stratford Festival, and the National Theatre School of Canada.

Among the works he has helmed are Hamlet, The Oresteia, Godspell, Henry V, The Cherry Orchard, and the premiere of the mega-musical Napoleon. He has directed two plays by Sharon Pollock: Walsh at Stratford in 1974 and at the National Arts Centre in 1983; and One Tiger to a Hill in 1990.

His direction of Henry V for Stratford was accaimed by the critic for the New York Times, Mel Gussow (12 June 1989): "Mr. Wood has moved the play 500 years forward to the outbreak of World War I. That transplantation may seem eccentric, but it has been undertaken with exuberance and imagination by Mr. Wood and his cast, headed by Geraint Wyn Davies in the title role. Mr. Wood's historical point is provocative, tracing the supreme self-confidence of the English and their empire through the ages. By 1915, patriotism might still be confused with jingoism."

Of the Stratford production of Macbeth in 2004, Christopher Hoile wrote in Stage Door: "Unlike many directors at Stratford, Wood has challenged his actors not just to give their best to explore new areas of emotion. He has brought out qualities in Abbey and Peacock I never seen before. The result is a production that delves deeply into the text and without any gimmicks is riveting from first to last. Letís hope for more at Stratford from this challenging, insightful director" (stage-door.com/Theatre/2004).

John Wood has also directed films for television.

He currently lives in Perth, Ontario.

Profile by Gaetan Charlebois and Anne Nothof.

Last updated 2022-03-10